Takachiho Kagura Performance

Takachiko (高千穂) is well-known as a town of Myths where traditional dance performance called "Kagura (神楽)" takes place for visitors almost every night at Kagura-den Hall (神楽殿) of Takachiho shrine (高千穂神社).

Amano Uzume

In the first palace of Takachiho shrine, Takachiho sumera-gami deities (高千穂皇神) are enshrined whereas in the second palace Jyusha daimyojin deities (十社大明神) are enshrined.

Takachiho sumera-gami deities are said to be a general term of so called deities of Himuka sandai and their spouse deities. "Himuka saidai (日向三代)" means three generations of deities settled in Himuka/日向 where Takachiho locates that include Ninigi (ニニギ : grandchild of Amaterasu and the first generation of Himuka and Konohana sakuyabime/木花之佐久夜毘売 is his wife), Hoori (ホオリ: second son of Ninigi- second generation whose spouse is Toyotamahime/トヨタマヒメ) and Ugayafukiaezu ( 鸕鶿草葺不合尊: son of Hoori and hence the third generation, who is also the father of the first Emperor, Jimmu. His spouse is Tamayoribime/タマヨリビメ who is a younger sister of Toyotamahime).

Jyusha daimyojin (= ten great shining deities) include the older brother of Emperor Jimmu, Mikenuno-mikoto (三毛入野命), his spouse (Unomehime/鵜目姫) and offsprings, who are Mikotaro (御子太郎), Jiro (二郎), Saburo (三郎), Unemi (畝見), Teruno (照野), Ohto (大戸), Reisha (霊社), and Asarabe (浅良部).

According to the shrine's narrative, the shrine launched its history when Mikenuno-mikoto built Himorogi (神籬) to enshrine Takachiho sumera-gami deities (they are his ancestors). During Emperor Suinin (垂仁天皇) 's era, the shrine building was made.

In Kaguraden hall, night kagura takes place almost every night. It costs 700 JPY, consisting of 4 famous stages that are based on Japan mythologies. Along with traditional instruments orchestra, following performances are provided. It is registered as List of Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties.

(1) Dance performance of Amano Tajikarao (手力雄の舞)
     Due to the conflict made between Amaterasu and her younger brother, Susanowo, Amaeterasu hid herself into  cave called "Amano Iwato". His dance depicts the scene where Amano Tajikarao tries to find where Amaterasu hid.

(2) Dance performance of Amano Uzume (鈿女の舞)
     Thanks to Amano Tajikarao's efforts on finding Amaterasu, it is clear where Amaterasu hides herself. Now Amano Uzume tries to draw Amaterasu's attention by dancing in a funny way that made numerous deities bursted into laughter.

(3) Totori dance performance (戸取の舞)
     Again, Amano Tajikarao appears with red mask. He tries to break the door and eventually take it away so that Amaterasu can get herself out from the cave.

Note that Amaterasu (shrine) revealed eventually

(4) Dance performance of Goshintai (御神体の舞)
      This is bit unusual. A couple of deities, Izanagi and Izanami make sake (Japanese wine), dedicate and enjoy drinking it cheerfully.

I will post photos taken during (4) in the following post. 

Have a wonderful weekend.

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