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Shirasagi no Mai Glimpse

The millenium-old dance of the white heron

Shirasagi no Mai, or the Dance of the White Heron, is a ritual that has its roots in the Gion Festival of Yasaka shrine in Kyoto over 1000 years ago, originally performed to drive out the plague. It is mentioned in a historic picture scroll owned by Senso-ji temple, called Keian Engi Emaki, dated 1651. This thousand year old dance came to extinction until its resurrection in November 1968, when Asakusa Tourist Federation revived the dance in an event to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tokyo as the nation's capital. The parade is composed of 3 warriors, one pole carrier, one bird feeder, one parasol carrier, 8 white herons, 19 musicians and guardian children. It is performed twice annually in Senso-ji Buddhist temple in Asakusa on the second Sunday of April and on the 3rd of November, at 11 AM and 2:30 PM.

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Find out more about Sensoji Temple.

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