When we arrived at the shrine at 10:30 the Shioharae was in progress. This is usually the second dance of the night and purifies the dance area for the rest of the nights performances. It is a shinji, a ceremonial dance as opposed to a theatrical dance. There was a TV crew from Tokyo filming the visiting American "dancer" and I found the performance of the audience a little disconcerting.
Next up was Yumi Hachiman, a 2 man dance featuring the hero Hachiman, the patron kami of the shrine, defeating a demon.
It is a standard fighting dance where good triumphs over evil and featuring a spectacular smoke and firework entrance of the demon.
Our local kagura troupe are really good. They are all amateurs, but their performances are always tight and professional. The next dance was Kakko-Kirime. The first part involves Kakko, somewhat of a fool, who steals a sacred drum from a shrine and attempts, unsuccessfully to activate it. I like the dance because it allows the dancer to incorporate a lot of his own moves and sequences. In the second half of the dancer the kami Kirime descends and teaches kakko the correct way.
I left then, past midnight. There was to be 6 more hours of dancing, but I was feeling out of sorts and I needed to be fresh for the final part of the matsuri, a series of ceremonies tomorrow morning followed by the carrying of the mikoshi.....