Night Kagura at Takachiho Shrine

Night Kagura at Takachiho Shrine

Acting out “the place where gods dwell”.

Kagura is a form of ritual performing art, and the word derives from “”kamukura”” which means “”the place where gods dwell””. It is believed that the songs and dances performed at these places eventually came to be called Kagura. The origin of Kagura is said to be the “”Legend of Ama no Iwado”” mentioned in Japanese mythology.
According to the legend, Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, became so outraged by her brother, Susanooo-no-Mikoto for his violent deeds, that she hid herself in a cave. Because she was a sun goddess, the world was thrown into a state of total darkness, and all the other gods and goddesses gathered at Amano Yasugawara to think of ways to lure her out. They decided to hold a banquet in front of the cave. During the banquet, a skillful dancer, Ameno Uzumeno Mikoto, performed her dance, making the other gods roar with laughter. The joyous sounds peaked her interest, and Amaterasu wanted to see what the fun was. As she opened the door of the cave to take a peak, Tajikarao-no-mikoto flung the door open, and light was returned to the world.

Night of mythology

The cave where Amaterasu Omikami hid, is Amano Iwado in Takachiho, and it is now a famous place of worship known as Amano Iwado Shrine. “”The Night Kagura of Takachiho””, which is performed to give thanks for the harvest and to pray for a fertile season for the following year, is designated as an Important National Intangible Folk Cultural Property. From late November to mid February, a series of 33 scenes are performed at various Kagura venues.
In addition, Night Kagura is performed for tourists every night at the Kagura performing hall on the Takachiho Shrine premises. Out of 33 Kagura scenes, shortened versions of the 4 representative episodes are performed: Tajikarao’s dance depicting the opening of the cave door, Uzume’s dance, Todori’s dance, and the humorous dance of Izanagino-mikoto and Izanamino-mikoto depicting “”sake”” making. Even though the performance is meant for tourists, you can still enjoy the dances accompanied by drums and flutes. It is worthwhile to spend the night to experience the world of mythology.


Takachiho Shrine Kagura Performance Hall
Takachiho-cho, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture