Understand the characteristics of the program to enjoy kagura even more!

  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img01
  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img02
  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img03
  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img01
  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img02
  • dive_hiroshima_feature_kagura-enmoku_img03

The rhythm and luxury of the costumes differ depending on the Kagura program, but each program captivates the audience with live music and powerful dances. The story is always easy to understand because basically virtue is rewarded and vice, punished .

Here are 18 programs performed at Hiroshima Kagura.

Ceremonial dance (Gishiki Mai)

Ceremonial dance (Gishiki Mai)
Shioharai (Shioharai)

Kagura was originally performed at the shrine in gratitude for the autumn harvest. The “ceremonial dance” is always performed to welcome the gods at the beginning of any stage performance, and this order is kept even in competitions.

This ritual dance can also be called “Kami mukae”, “Kami oroshi,” and “Shioharai,” and is a dance that purifies the place of Kagura to greet the gods. It has its origin in a myth in which Izanagi no Mikoto returned from the underworld (Yomi no Kuni) to performed a roar in the seawater of Awakigahara, at Tachibana no Komon. It is said that this performance spread through all Japan : east, west, north and south.



It is a story in which Shoki, who heard that Emperor Genso of Tang Dynasty was troubled by a devil how have brought an epidemic, exterminates it. Against the devil invisible to humans, Shoki makes a ring with thatches and captures it.  Then, he slashes it with a treasured sword. It's a dance of just two people, but it's majestic.



The Goddess of the Sun Amaterasu Omikami), who was angry and scared at the violence of her younger brother Susano no Mikoto, hid away in a cave called Iwato.

Then, the country became dark, and there were gods involved in evil deeds. To lure her back out of the cave, another Godddess called Ama no Uzume no Mikoto performed a dance in front of the cave. It worked and Amaterasu got out of the the cave Iwato. Then the world becomes bright again, and the gods danced with joy.

The myth of Amano Iwato is the first myth in Japan. There a six tones and a eight tones rythm, but it is the most sacred program, and it is a heartwarming and happy story that is rare in kagura stories.

Yahata / Hachiman


The main characters are the God of Hachiman nammed Hondawake no Mikoto (= Emperor Ojin), enshrined in Usa Hachimangu Shrine in Kyushu Buzen Province, and a devil called the “Dairokuten No Mao” who flew in from a foreign country he would confronts.
In this story, the God of Hachiman is defeating the devil and his servant, Kadomaru, with a mulberry bow (Jinzu's bow), and arrows.

It is kagura that celebrates the virtue of the god of Hachiman.



One day, pilgrims who visited Miho-jinja Shrine calls a courtier and ask about the auspices of Miho-jinja Shrine. The courtier answered that the God enrished here is Kotoshironushi no Mikoto, and that he was the son of Okuninushi no Mikoto. Then, he described his achievements.

Kotoshironushi no Mikoto saved his father's life so he could rule the country, and taught people the ways of fishing and commerce. After his father became Daikoku, he himself confined himself to Miho's shrine and became the God of Ebisu.

And even now, it is said that when the waves and wind are calm, he appear on the shore and fish. Then suddenly, the god of Ebisu appeared in front of the pilgrims.

The God of Ebisu always perform at festive seats such as the god of fishing and celebration ceremonies. The funny and ludicrous dance that symbolizes the characters of Ebisu is very popular.


[Featured column]
Famous as an auspicious kagura

Ebisu is a popular and heart-soothing program for its funny and humorous performance. Recently, it has been widely performed at inauguration ceremonies and weddings.



Minister of the Right Sugawara no Michizane was demoted to Chikushi Dazaifu due to the slander of the Minister of the Left Fujiwara no Tokihira.

However, Michizane thought that if the traitor was left as he was, the security of the nation would not be unsettled. So he became the god of thunder and tried to punish Tokihira. Tokihira, who had malicious motives, intercepts Michizane but is finally defeated.

After his death, the spirit of Michizane was enshrined by a god and worshiped as “Tenjin” and Tenman-gu Shrine was promoted throughout the country, such as Kitano Tenmangu Shrine and Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.



In the reign of Emperor Chuai, a large army attacked from a foreign country. At that time, there was a great demon called “Jinrin” that had wings and could fly freely in the sky. The emperor, together with his companion Takamaru, exterminated the emperor himself with the virtues of "Ama no Kagoyumi" (bow) and "Ama no Habaya" (arrows).

The mask of Jinrin is one of the largest Kagura masks. This mask is known for beeing one of the most frightful of kagura's masks because its large jaws. Also, depending on the kagura group, there are productions in which different type of appearances are made. And the Jinrin flying above the clouds is also a sight to behold, with movements that show freedom of flight.



Minamoto no Raiko was sick and in bed. His handmaid named Kocho comes to him and recommends a medicinal bath she got from a divnity. When Raiko drank the medicinal bath, he becomes even worse and he falls down.

In fact, it wasn't Kocho but a spider demon that lives on Mt. Katsuragi (katsuragizan) that tried to poison Raiko, who he grudged.
That night, disguised as Kocho, the spider demon attacked Raiko. However, despite being poisoned, Raiko shook his famous sword, a family heirloom called Hiza-maru, and manage to slice the demon before it quickly disappears. Sakata no Kintoki and Urabe no Suetake, of the Four Heavenly Kings, rushed to the commotion, and arrived at Mt. Katsuragi after following the bloodstains of the spider demon.

Once they found it, they fight fiercely and finally defeat the demon.

The demon spider's horrible mask and costumes are popular plays.


[Featured column]
~ A popular program also called “Tsuchigumo” ~

The highlight is the fast-paced dance that kills the Demon Spider.



It is a story in which Minamoto no Raiko takes the Four Heavenly Kings to defeat Shuten Doji, a demon living in Mt. Oeyama. The Four Heavenly Kings are Watanabe no Tsuna, Sakata no Kintoki, Usui no Sadamitsu, and Urabe no Suetake.

After being bestowed with sacred sake (good for human, poison for demons) by another divinity, Raiko and the Four Heavenly Kings join Shuten Doji's party at the summit of the Oeyama.
Shuten Doji is serving sake with his retainers, demons as well. Therefore, they let them drink sacred sake and, after a moment, they defeated the demons who lost their power due to the merits of the sacred sake.

There are many characters in this program, and the highlight is the scene where they raise their names, show their dances, and finally get confused and fight.


[Featured column]
~The fighting scene is powerful~

There are many characters that are impressive, and it is a popular program.



Wakaminuke no Mikoto, who ruled Takachiho in Hyuga Province, decided to go to Yamato Province, and first went by the Kumano, Kii Province.
Immediately after landing, he was attacked by a giant bear, but he dismissed the trouble and finally arrived at Yamato Province.
Once in Yamato, Nagasunehiko started a battle. However, Wakaminuke no Mikoto's life is saved and he defeat the enemies with the help of Kinshi.
After that, Mikoto appointed the land of Kashihara and the foot of the Unebi-volcano as the new capital of the province and changed his name to Emperor Jinmu, which marks the foundation of the country of Japan.

There is a record that this program was created by Yoritoshi Inoue in response to the request of the Kagura Troupe in Mibu, Chiyoda-cho, Hiroshima Prefecture, around Meiji 16, and it is known as an original program from the Hiroshima prefecture.

Yamato Takeru no Mikoto


(1) Yamato Takeru no Mikoto, who left to pacified the East, was on the way to the elder when two brothers demons of the country of Suruga attacked him. He was set on fire from all sides and was desperate for his life. However, he used the treasured sword, Kusanagi, which was bestowed by his aunt Yamato hime, and defeated them.

(2) In the reign of 12th Emperor Keiko, Yamato Oguna no Mikoto, the second prince, went down to Japan to conquer Takeru Kawakami, who had boasted power in Tsukushi Province and was against the Yamato Imperial Court.
Mikoto dressed up as a woman and approached the warrior, seeing the opportunity for a spree, and defeated the Takeshi.
Before dying, Takeshi said “I thought I was the greatest warrior in Japan, but you are stronger than me. Therefore, I will give you my name. You will be called “Yamato Takeru no Mikoto”.

Those two stories from “Yamato Takeru no Mikoto” are sourced from the Kojiki (1) <Eastern Expedition> and (2) <Kumasei Conquest >.



Ibaraki Doji, a subordinate demon of Shuten Doji, the demon's leader who lives on Mt. Oeyama, disguises itself as an old woman and haunts the area around Rashomon Gate and Modoribashi Bridge in Kyoto in the Heian era, and causes disaster to people.
Therefore, Minamoto no Raiko ordered Watanabe no Tsuna, one of his retainers from the “Four Heavenly Kings,” to subjugate Ibaraki Doji.
However, Ibaraki Doji used witchcraft skillfully and summoned Shuten Doji, the demon's leader. The life of Watanabe no Tsuna is in danger. But at this moment Sakata no Kintoki, another retailer from the Four Heavenly Kings" appeared after Tsuna received the divine virtue of Iwashimizu Hachiman Shrine.
When the two men cut off Ibaraki Doji's left arm, the two demons fled back to Mt. Oeyama.

Actually, this program is also a part of the first part of the program called “Oeyama” and the story then continues with “Rashomon” and “Oeyama.”

Takiyasha Hime


Takiyasha Hime's father, Taira no Masakado, was killed by Fujiwara no Hidesato and Taira no Sadamori. In search of revenge, she prayed to Kifune-jinja Shrine to clear her father's regret. Then, she was given a mysterious witchcraft, transformed into a demon, gathered her followers, and immediately became a noisy person in the world.

Therefore, the warrior Ōya no Tarō Mitsukuni borrowed the power of Abe no Seimei under the imperial order, and defeated the princess.

The mask of the princess in this program is one of the most horrible forms among the demon masks. It is also a sad story in which the grudge of a princess is imbued.



When the Chinju-fu Shogun Taira no Koremochi goes to Mt. Togakushi with his servants to kill a demon, he meets beautiful women holding an momiji-gari (autumn leaf hunting) picnic. When Koremochi tries to pass by, the women skillfully recommend drinking, and Koremochi gets drunk.
In his dream, Great Bodhisattva Hachiman appears and bestows him a divine sword.
Women who have revealed their true nature become demons and attack Koremochi, but he wakes up and quickly defeats the demons with the divine sword.



A buddhist monk asks for accommodation in a house in Adachihara Kurozuka, where evil fox (demon) lives, during his pilgrim, with his servants. However, the mistress of the house is an evil fox (demon).

The footmen were eaten, but the monk ran away from life. Eventually, on the orders of the Imperial Court, Miura no Suke and Kazusa no Suke, who were masters of archery, defeated the evil fox (evil woman).

Orochi & Yamata no Orochi


A representative kagura program that is the most known.

Susano-o no Mikoto, who was driven from heaven due to misdeeds, meets an elderly couple and their daughter, Kushiinada-hime, in Izumo Province, who were grieving over the disaster of Yamata no Orochi in Izumo Province.

When asked the reason, they say that a large snake called “Yamata no Orochi (the giant snake)” lives in Kawakami, and the eight daughters of the elderly couple are eaten one by one every year. And this year was the turn of the last one of them : Kushiinada-hime. Therefore, Susano-o no Mikoto think about a strategy to save her.

First, they got the snake drunk with poisonous sake. Then, he killed him at this moment. From its tail came out a treasured sword, Amanomurakumo no Tsurugi. Susano-o no Mikoto presented it to his sister, the Goddess of the Sun Amaterasu Omikami.

A powerful performance in which up to 8 large snakes appear.


[Featured column]
For beginners!
~ Representative kagura programs that everyone knows ~

Audience shoul pay attention to the powerful confrontation between a giant snake and Susano-o no Mikoto !

Related articles

Share this article