Misato three lions dance

Misato City – Early July is the time of year for three lion dances; a traditional, cultural dance to the rhythm of drums as a dedication to a shrine. Unlike the shishimai you see at new year, the lions do not perform with two people in the same costume, but rather individually. Moreover, they don’t have red lacquered faces and green body. Each year, the three lions dance in this post is on the first Sunday of July and the preceding Friday and Saturday in Misato City. Misato City is located on the borders of both Chiba Prefecture (Matsudo city) and Tokyo (Katsushika City). It is only 20 kilometers from downtown Tokyo.

Three lions dance Misato

The three lion dance of Misato is a traditional event in which three (shishimai) lions perform a traditional dance. In Misato City the three lions have black lacquered faces with white beards, as per the featured photo at the top of the post (from 2013). They perform the dance at the Togasaki Katori Shrine in the city annually in early July. Moreover, they’ve been performing the dance at the shrine since 1582. Does that not just blow your mind? It really blows mine. How special that we can see a performance that has been performed since the Tensho period. The performance is designated as a intangible folklore cultural asset of Misato City. The ‘lions’ perform to pray for the long life of the villagers, eradication of bad diseases and a good harvest.

Information

Event: The three lions (shishimai) dance of Misato 三匹の獅子舞

Date: from Friday July 5th to Sunday July 7th 2024.

Time: from 8 am to 8.30 pm.

Cost: there is no admission fee, but it is customary when visiting a shrine (or temple) to put some yenny in the prayer box.

Venue: Togasaki Katori Shrine, 2-38-1 Togasaki, Misato, Saitama 〒341-0044. View on Google Maps.

Official website.

Access

Take a bus of Keisei Bus bound for Matsudo Station from the south exit of Yashio Station on
the Tsukuba Express Line. The bus stop is ‘JINJYA Mae’.

Another three lions dance performed annually in early July.

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