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Ōzu's Kawabe Shime Kagura

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Ōzu's Kawabe Shime Kagura


Be mesmerized by this Shinto dance performance

KITA Management



From late March until mid-April shrines along Ehime Prefecture’s Kawabe valley, near the castle town of Ōzu, host a spiritual dance performance known as the Shime Kagura. It has been performed in the mountainous fringes of Ōzu for over two centuries. Tales of unrequited love and bewitching dragons are enacted to the percussive sounds of drums and flutes; it’s both a purification observance and a celebration of the coming of spring that has been designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage by Ehime Prefecture.


Originally related to the purification dances of Izumo-taisha, one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines, the Shime Kagura has gradually blended with local beliefs and customs, giving birth to a dance that expresses both suffering and compassion. A short version of the dance is performed to welcome guests staying at Ōzu Castle, one of the very few castles in Japan where it is possible to stay overnight.


How to get there


From Matsuyama Airport, take the Iyotetsu Bus or Airport Shuttle Bus to Matsuyama Station. From JR Matsuyama Station take the JR Limited Express Uwakai Line about 30 minutes to Uchiko Station. From there it is approximately 40 minutes by car to Kawabe valley.



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