Festivals & Events
Sagimai Dance Performances 鷺舞
Elegant dances kept alive for centuries in the remote mountains of Shimane
Sagimai, often called the Heron Dance, originated at the famous Gion Festival in Kyoto . It disappeared from there for centuries, but in Tsuwano, the dance has been kept alive to the present day. Catch it every year on July 20, 24, and 27.
How to Get There
From Yamaguchi , Tsuwano is a train ride away. Take the Yamaguchi Line to Tsuwano, a little over an hour away.
The dance is performed at 11 different locations around the town, starting at the Yasaka Shrine below Taikodani Inari Shrine .
You can easily find a spot to enjoy the approach of the procession, watch the dance, and then tag along to the next location like many of the locals do.
Two dancers dressed in elaborate costumes mimic the movements pair of these graceful white birds to the sounds of accompanying flutes, drums, bells, and singers. During this time, two attendants with bright red hair dance and circle around them twirling batons. Two musicians with small hand drums also dance.
Fantastic costumes and pageantry
The wings of the two heron dancers are composed of 39 feathers made of wood, and with the long-necked headpieces appear quite dramatic. Everyone is dressed in period costume, including people carrying tall “umbrellas” topped with birds in their nests. The event is more spectacle rather than just a dull performance. Also, don't miss the recent addition to the festivities, a "Chick Dance" performed by scores of young local schoolgirls in procession.