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World Intangible Cultural Heritage Hayachine Kagura  ( Hanamaki City ) 

Kagura, or “god-entertainment,” is a type of Shinto theatrical dance found throughout Japan. Kagura dancers are not professional performers; rather, they are local residents with other full time jobs, such as public employees, business owners, farmer...

Oni Kenbai  ( Demon's Sword Dance )  ( Kitakami City ) 

Oni Kenbai is a traditional dance in the Kitakami area of Iwate, which is very popular with foreign visitors and children for its dynamic samurai-like choreography, danced with swords in hands.
Local children keep this tradition alive, as the da...

Shishi-Odori  ( Deer Dance )  ( Throughout Iwate ) 

Shishi-odori, or deer dance, is performed in various parts of Iwate. There are various stories concerning the origin of the dance, such as: that it was to pray for a deer that was killed; that it imitated the movement of a wild deer; that it was a ri...

Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival ( Takizawa City; Morioka City ) 

Chagu Chagu Umakko is a festival held on the second Saturday of June, in which about 100 colorfully-clad horses parade from Onikoshi Sozen Shrine in Takizawa to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. June is a rainy season in Japan, but strangely, the day of Cha...

Fujiwara Festival ( Hiraizumi Town ) 

Every spring and fall, a festival is held to emulate the Golden Culture of Hiraizumi which flourished under the Oshu Fujiwara clan....

Gokusui no En  ( Winding Stream Festival )  ( Hiraizumi Town ) 

An elegant poetry contest from the Heian period  ( from about the 8th to the 12th century )  is reenacted in this festival at the Pure Land Garden of Motsuji, held on the 4th Sunday of May. Following the opening and announcement o...

Motsuji Ennen ( Hiraizumi Town ) 

Ennen no Mai, or “longevity dances,” are Buddhist ceremonial dances popularly performed during the Heian through Muromachi periods  ( from about the 8th to the 16th century ) . There are various programs such as the Old Woman Danc...

Chuson-ji Takigi Noh  ( Chuson-ji Outdoor Bonfire Noh )   ( Hiraizumi Town ) 

On August 14, there is an evening performance of noh and kyogen plays on the 160-year-old outdoor noh stage at Hakusan Shrine, Chuson-ji. According to German architect Bruno Taut, the stage “left the greatest impression [on him] among all the sights ...

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival ( Morioka City ) 

Morioka Sansa Odori Festival, held from August 1 through 4, is one of the Five Great Festivals of Tohoku. Over 10,000 taiko drummers and dancers parade through the city; Sansa is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest taiko drum festiv...

Hidaka Hibuse Festival ( Oshu City ) 

This is a 300-year-old festival, held on April 29, to pray for safety from fire hazards. The lord of the Mizusawa area had each of the six neighborhoods set up a fire brigade. In the festival, representatives from each of the fire brigades visit a lo...

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The Cultural Heritaege of Hiraizumi―Toward World Heritage Inscription

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