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! However, since the pandemic the line up has changed. Moreover, the Saitama City website isn’t updated with the annual information like it used to be, just general information. However, if the event is cancelled last minute they should post it to that page, which is linked below. Like all events, there is always a possibility of a last minute cancellation.

Spring 2024 Shishimai Information

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

Date: In 2024, the spring date is Sunday March 10th. It is always on the Sunday closest to March 15th.

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.

Access

The shrine is 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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