Shirasagi no Mai

Shirasagi no Mai (White Heron Dance) festival, founded by Asakusa Tourist Federation in November 1968 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Meiji period, was held in Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan on April 12, 2009.

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The white heron (shirasagi) dance is one thousand years old.  It is a religious rite to drive out the plague and purify the spirits on their passage to the next world.

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The white faces of the dancers signify innocence, purity and gentleness.  People love the beautiful snow-white figure of heron and crane (tsuru) as a symbol of peace. 

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According to religious belief pure white cranes inhabit the Isles of the Bless and their powerful wings are able to convey souls to the Western Paradise.


Dancers are consist of 3 warriors, 1 baton twirler, 1 feeder, 1 grand-umbrella holder, 8 white herons, 19 musicians and guardian children in traditional costumes of the Heian period (the 8th – 12th centuries).

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10 thoughts on “Shirasagi no Mai

  1. Sorry, live in Japan I don’t know of this festival.
    I went to see Sanja Matsuri once.
    I was overwhelmed with great festival.

    • This is a small festival that only lasted about 30 minutes. I think the Sanja Matsuri is one of the largest festivals in Japan so there probably was a lot of people – I hope to attend this festival this year.

  2. Pingback: Year In Review: Festivals « Konnichiwa

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