Traditional Cultures in Hida Region

Doburoku Festival and the Lion Dance

No festival can go without a Lion Dance as entertainment. The Lion Dance, known as “Shishi-mai” in Japanese, can be seen in various parts of Japan. It is generally a dance done by one or two people, with the main dancer holding a wooden red and black lacquered lion’s head. The Lion Dances done at the Doburoku Festivals in and around Shirakawa Village vary slightly depending on the district. Some show traits of similar dances from the northerly districts of Kaga in Ishikawa Prefecture and Himi in Toyama Prefecture, and the Ise District of Mie Prefecture which is far to the south. One has four dancers and therefore eight legs, giving it the name “Centipede Lion”. There is also a unique variation of Shishi-mai in which a boy dexterously topples a lion with a sword.