Seeing Iwami Kagura is such a unique experience. The intricate and expressive masks, the commanding voices of the gods, and the thunderous booming of the taiko combine into an experience that spirits you away to the land of myth.
The detailed costumes are surprisingly heavy, so dancing while wearing them must take quite a lot of physical strength. Pictures and videos don’t do it justice.
If you visit Shimane, you have to experience Iwami Kagura for yourself.
Sondey Olaseun (U.S.A)
“I had the chance to see Iwami Kagura twice in a small shrine in Yunotsu Onsen district. I was first surprised to find a show of such quality, with very skilled performers and amazing costumes, in such a small town, far away from big cities. I was also impressed how small the shrine was: performers are so close to the public that there is almost no space at all between the 8 headed dragon and you! I w a m i K a g u r a i s a w o n d e r f u l experience that I would recommend to anybody visiting Shimane.”
Kretz Fabien (France)
It is a miracle the silent rural region Iwami has such a passionate traditional performance. The scenes are so dramatic that customers feel as if they are participating. You will be surprised of the weight of costumes if trying on, so we can imagine how skilled the performers of the 8 headed dragon are and how hard to perform in a blazing hot summer. Many performers start practicing as a child, not for livelihood, just out of the love of traditional culture, which deeply moved me.
"I was amazed by the colorful costumes and energetic movements of the performers, as well as the spiritual music. This traditional entertainment will certainly please the Shinto gods and the people who go to watch the Kagura show. This area of Japan is very passionate about Kagura - little children love to watch and perform "Donchichi" (children's word for Iwami Kagura). If you have the chance, try and watch night Kagura at a shrine near your accommodation."
Nicola Jones (New Zealand)
“Watching kagura in a tiny shrine full of children and elderly people on a misty night is one of my favorite memories of Japan. It is not everyday you experience something magical. Kagura is storytelling done right.”
Craig Manning (U.S.A)
“I think it is so great that even in such a rural area, people are able to keep a traditional performing art flourishing. It’s really interesting to see how children are the most enthusiastic spectators of the performances, trying to get as close to the stage as possible! I also enjoy reading about the origins and meaning of the stories and I feel I’m able to enjoy the performances more as a result of that understanding.”
Kimberley Morgan (U.K.)
When enjoying an Iwami Kagura performance, I always find myself among the children in an attempt to try to get as close as possible to the stage. Iwami Kagura is a one of a kind of performance: it is not only a dance filled with generations and generations of history and tradition, but also one that keeps you hooked every time. I’ve had the chance to see Kagura three times—all at various shrines and settings during my first month in Hamada. If you don’t know where to start, just follow the sound of lively music and it will take you to an experience you’ll never forget.
Kagura is a must-see for all Japan fans! The art of Kagura blends beautiful music, dance, and dazzlingly intricate costumes to portray traditional Japanese legends. The stories are told with such passion and movement as to go beyond language, so Kagura is suitable for everyone, regardless of age or Japanese ability. Watching such an exciting performance with the beautiful scenery of Shimane as a backdrop, and within the s et t ing of a v ibrant fes t ival alongside the warm and welcoming locals, is an experience I will never forget.