Lion Dance of Ose

Ose Shishimai, or The Lion Dance of Ose, was on in 2023 in Yashio City for the first time in four years. It will be on this year again and hopefully annually hereafter. The festival is also known as “Doronko Shishimai”, or muddy lion, because it frequently rains on the days of this small, local religious festival! I have also added information for another lion dance in Yashio, “The rice wielding lion Dance” which is on later in July…

The Lion Dance of Ose / Ose Shishimai

The Lion Dance of Ose is a designated intangible folk cultural asset of Saitama Prefecture. It is the festival of Ose Hikawa Shrine. Ose Hikawa Shrine is located near Naka river on the border of Misato City, where there is also another Shishimai festival on the same days! The Ose Shishimai has been celebrated for about 350 years. It was initially inaugurated to pray for rain and protection for the farmers in the former rice producing area.

The lion dance is on the first Saturday and Sunday of July annually in Yashio City. This year, 2024, that is July 6th and 7th. They used to perform the dance eight times between 10 am and 9 pm. However, in 2024 as in 2023, there will be fewer dances and the festival is on from 10.30 am to 8 pm. The dances depict three lions climbing Mt Fuji! They dedicate the dances at two adjacent shrines – Ose Asama Shrine and Ose Hikawa Shrine.

The featured image is from an old prefectural festival website, which unfortunately no longer exists.

Information

Event: The Lion Dance of Ose aka Ose Shishimai 大瀬の獅子舞(県指定無形民俗文化財)

Dates: First Saturday and Sunday of July annually – the 6th and 7th in 2024.

Time: generally from 10 am to 9 pm, but in 2024 it will be on from 10 am to 8 pm.

Cost: free

Venue: Ose Hikawa Shrine and Asama Shrine (they are beside each other), 1501 Oze, Yashio, Saitama 340-0822. View on Google Maps.

Yashio City official website

Access Ose Hikawa Shrine

The closest station is Yashio Station on the Tsukuba Express line. It is about a 15 to 20 minute walk to the shrine from the station. There is no parking at this event.


Nichome’s Lion Dance

If you missed these performances, you have another chance on Sunday July 21st when Nichome’s lion dance is performed. The 2-chome Lion Dance, also featuring three lions, is a city-designated intangible folk cultural property. They often call it the “Rice Wielding Lion Dance”, because they say that when the lion bends down they look like they are wielding rice. In the 2-chome Lion Dance, three lions perform five different dances to prevent evil spirits from entering the area. They have repaired the lion’s head and horn for the first time in 16 years, and this year’s festival will be their unveiling. Started during the Edo period, the festival has been passed down from generation to generation.

Information

Event: Rice Wielding Lion Dance 「田の草取り獅子」

Date: Sunday July 21st 2024

Time: from around 9:30 a.m. to around 8 p.m.

Cost: a donation at the shrine

Venue: Nichome Hikawa Shrine, 196-1 Oaza 2-chome, Yashio City. View on Google Maps.

Official event page.

On the same day, there is a fish exploration event for kids in Nakagawa Yashio’s waterside ‘school’. It is about a 15 minute walk from the shrine. More information on the official site.

Access

Nichome Hikawa Shrine is about a 30 to 40 minute walk from Yashio station which is on the Tsukuba Express line. There is no official parking for this event.

Editor’s note: this post was temporarily removed from the site during the pandemic as the festival was cancelled for three years in a row. It was republished in June 2023. Last update July 2024.

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