Shirasaginomai – White Egret Dance
Twice a year at Asakusa’s famous Sensoji temple an old ceremony of dancers dressed as white egrets or herons take place, once in April and once in November. The ceremony is called Shirasaginomai (白鷺の舞) and was revived in 1968 using an old scroll as a basis that had been found in the temple, depicting a ceremonial dance in 1652. The dancers are instructed by the famous Yasaka shrine in Kyoto, and is joined by children from the temple kindergarten. There are three performances, one in the morning and two in the afternoons, and all of them start with a parade overseen by local monks and ends in the same way, followed by a large dashi (ceremonial wagon) where flute players and drummers accompany the dancers in the ceremony and parades. These photos are from the last performance of the day, the wind was strong and some of the dancers really looked like they were going to take off from the ground when their spread wings were picked up by the wind! More photos to come!