Hanazono’s Sasara

Date: May 5th

Location: Hanazono Shrine

A traditional lion-dancing ceremony, accompanied by flutes and taiko drums, held at Hanazono Shrine on May 5th. This is an elegantly rustic and historically faithful performance acted out by boys between the ages of 8 and 13 as either the two-horned ‘parent’ lion or the one-horned ‘doe’ lion.

It is believed that the origins of this tradition come from offerings made by the father and son team of Minamoto no Yoriyoshi and Minamoto no Yoshiie as prayers for success in battle during the Zenkunen and Kousannen wars in the Heian period. The lion heads currently in use are said to have been made at the end of the Edo period.

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