Bugaku at Itsukushima Shrine

Traditional dance at one of Japan's most iconic sites

Michelle Montano   - 1 min read


Beginning in June 2019, the large torii gate of Itsukushima will be covered for renovations until sometime in 2020.

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Itsukushima Shrine is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Japan, and bugaku, one of a kind traditional Japanese music and dance, can add to its allure. Bugaku isn't common, even on Miyajima, so those who happen to be there on the day of a performance are lucky.

In this particular performance, an actor in traditional orange garb demonstrates the tale of the Ryo-o, the Dragon King. It is said that Ryo-o was so handsome that his enemies were distracted by his beauty. In order to be taken seriously, Ryo-o had to wear a fearsome dragon mask into battle.

This dance is accompanied by slow drums and high-pitched, almost discordant woodwind instruments.

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Find out more about Itsukushima Shrine.

Michelle Montano

Michelle Montano @michelle.montano

I'm an Asian studies and journalism student who has been studying abroad at Hiroshima Jogakuin University for a year. My hobbies include studying Japanese, reading and writing poetry and traveling Japan. I love cats, visual kei and any and all cartoons.