Mt. Hayachine rises in the Kitakami highland of Iwate. The people believe the mountain is hallowed ground, and it has been a place of worship since antiquity. Two villages in the heart of mountain, Take and Otsugunai, have taken over the tradition of “Hayachine-Kagura.” It is unknown when this tradition began, but its history stretches back more than 500 years, with ties to the Lion’s head of the Bunroku Era. Buddhist monks who trained on the mountain inherited the Hayachine-Kagura and adapted the dance into a form of prayer. Today, people dedicate the Kagura to the god of the mountain at the end of year, and the ceremony is held annually at the Hayachine-Shrine on December 17th.
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