An old poster for the lion dance, aka shishimai, of Tajima in Saitama City

The “Shishimai” Lion Dance of Tajima began in the Edo period and is a designated cultural property of Saitama City since 1958. It is performed three times a year, with the first performance in spring.

Tajima Shishimai

The lion dance “Tajima no Shishimai” is said to have originated in the early Edo period when the 3rd Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, dedicated the dance to purify the road for a journey. It was believed the shishimai performance would ward off evil and exorcise demons. The performance is still carried out in present day. Three times in total; twice at Tajima Hikawa Shrine in Sakura Ward and once – in October – at Yotsuya Inari Shrine in Minami Ward.

Three lions, a large lion, a female lion, and a medium lion, all with chrysanthemum crests on their heads, perform a brave yet elegant dance to traditional music played on drums and flutes. In addition, the large lion jumps over a bow called “yumikake”. It is one of the highlights of this particular shishimai.

In addition to the shishimai there is usually other musical performances on the day. In the past, they also had karaoke competitions! But due to the pandemic, the line-up may very well be changed. The official Saitama City website has not released specific information for 2023 yet, but the event is currently scheduled to go ahead. Like all events, particularly during the pandemic, there is always a possibility of cancellation. So please do check with the official website, linked in the information section, before heading out the door!

Spring 2023 Shishimai Information

Event: The Lion Dance (Shishimai) of Tajima 田島の獅子舞

Date: In 2023, the spring date is Sunday March 12th.

Time: from 11 am

Venue: Tajima Hikawa Shrine 田島氷川社, 4 Chome-12-1 Tajima, Sakura Ward, Saitama, 338-0837. View on Google Maps.


Approximately 15 minutes on foot from the JR Saikyo Line “Naka-Urawa Station” or the JR Musashino Line “Nishi-Urawa Station”.

Official web page.

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