Singing and Dancing under Kiriko lanterns!
Simple but mysterious Shirotori Haiden Odori!
When the sun goes down in the evening, a large lantern is hung in the hall of worship at a shrine. This simple dance Shirotori Haiden Odori is performed by singing, clapping, and making sounds with clogs. It is said to be the original version of Bon dance, which has been danced in Bon festival since the middle of Edo era (1603 – 1868). Since it still inherits this traditional dance, it was designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Gifu-ken in 2001. It was also selected as a Nationally Selected Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 2003. We will continuously introduce the attractiveness of Shirotori Haiden Odori which everyone, from children to adults, locals, and visitors from outside the prefecture can enjoy.
Follow the flow of the magnificent Hakusan Faith
Bon festival dance with singing, clapping and making sound with clogs
Shirotori-cho, Gujo-shi is a town that prospered with Hakusan-shinko (Hakusan Faith), Minobanba, and Hakusan Chugu Choryuji Temple as the center. Mt Hakusan was one of the three famous mountains along with Mt Fuji and Mt Tateyama. Shirotori-cho was crowded as a Minobanba, which is a base on the Tokai side of Hakusan Faith. Thousands and thousands of worshipers were coming and going up and down the mountain. Tempest received teaching from God in Hakusan to dance. It is also said to be the prototype of Bon Odori. Many local people in Shirotori gathered together at the shrine’s hall of worship when it came to Bon festival. Young people wore clogs to the hall of worship where a large lantern was hung to protect against evil spirits. They clapped their hands and danced with the sound of clogs. The sound of clogs trampling on the board floor would drive out evil spirits and evoke the god of the earth. There is no Shamisen, no flute, no drum. This Shirotori Haiden Odori dance inherits the simple dance that has been passed down from the middle of Edo era to future generations.
The origin of Bon dance! Originally came from Basho Odori
The prototype was a dance called Basho Odori, but the origin of the name is not clear. Basho Odori is performed at the worship hall in a shrine by dancing with clogs. The dance is graceful and prestigious with singing the names of the locals and other villages. Another characteristic is the slow tempo and simple movements making you dance without getting tired until dawn. Villages were competing with each other in dancing and singing. Strict steps and manners were decided at that time.
Same songs with Shirotori Odori dance without a musical instrument but only clapping and singing
Starting with the oldest Basho Odori among the 10 main songs, “Essassa” with a light and fast tempo, “Gensuke-san” a song during a dinner party, and “Shicchoi” which came from a temple’s name in Shirotori, with a fast-paced, “Yoisassa”, “Dokkoisa”, “Neko-no-ko”, “Yassaka”, “Sanosa” and “Yoitosorya” are all coming from Gujo Ikki, all of the above are the main songs during the festival. It is the only place that the old Hakusan folk songs are preserved and passed down to the next generation. In fact, according to a survey by Agency for Cultural Affairs, Shirotori Haiden Odori is deeply related to religious faith, labor, and party dances. About 10 types of dances which were all lost at their original places but still performing in this area, and are handed down as Haiden Odori during Bon festival. This dance is highly valued for its historical value.
Shirotori Haiden Odori of 4 shrines are passing f
from mid Edo era
till now without interruption
It is uncertain when Bon festival dance was started at the hall of worship. According to “Kyomonbo Ruki” (Nagataki Hakusan-jinja Shrine collection) stated that on July 9th, 1723, “Bon dance festival is suspended” which meant that a Bon dance was performed in this area until then. As it is the oldest document showing the existence of Shirotori Haiden Odori, the birthplace of Shirotori Haiden Odori is held every year on July 9th at Nagataki Hakusan-jinja Shrine. Even though dancing was prohibited, it was secretly passed down because many young local people deeply loved Bon Odori.
Haiden Odori was used to be a dance performed at various shrines but now is only performed at Nagataki Hakusan-jinja Shrine, Maedani Hakusan-jinja Shrine, Shiratori-jinja Shrine, and Nozoe Kibune-jinja Shrine. However, in recent years, local people wish to inherit Haiden Odori and this wish of fans from other prefectures have come true. Some shrines start performing Haiden Odori recently.
Simple and peaceful
The attractiveness is that you can enjoy traditional Bon Odori
Shirotori Haiden Odori Preservation Society Acting chairman, Mr Tatsuo Hachiya
In 1947, after World War II, Shirotori Odori Preservation Society was established, and Shirotori Haiden Odori Preservation Society was also started to preserve and hand down the old appearance of Haiden Odori Dance. We interviewed Mr Tatsuo Hachiya, acting chairman, and Mr Kinichi Soga, vice chairman, who loved Haiden Odori so much and entered the preservation society.
“Difference from Shirotori Odori dance, Haiden Odori is only singing, clapping, and the sound of clogs. Everyone dances in a circle under the pale reddish lanterns and the light shining in the shrine. It’s lively and fun. Unlike Shirotori Odori dance and other bon dances, there is no dance stage with music, only the members of the preservation society sing and dance together in a circle. The person who started to dance is not decided. Depending on the voice and the song, the reaction of dancers changes. So we are competing for a beautiful voice. The timing to start a song is difficult because it hasn’t been decided yet. If something goes wrong, the dancer may stare at you or you may get an ad-lib.
Shirotori Odori Dance is a place of entertainment, a place for men and women to interact, and a place for young people to have fun, which is inherited from the past. Thank you for coming from far away. Thank you for joining us. Some people moved to Shirotori because of the high level of freedom to add their own will into their songs, and the friendliness that everyone outside the prefecture, adults, children, men, and women can take the lead.” says Mr Hachiya. You may have a sacred and solemn image from the image of the word Haiden (Worship hall), but in reality, it is a very simple and peaceful old-styled Bon dance. “Until a while ago, we only danced at four shrines, such as Nagataki Hakusan-jinja Shrine and Shirotori-jinja Shrine, but the number of shrines performing Haiden Odori is gradually increasing. We will continue to inherit it. I hope everyone who participates will enjoy it from the bottom of their hearts.”
Shirotori Haiden Odori Dance Schedule
- 9th July Nagataki Hakusan-jinja Shrine
- 16th August Maedani Hakusan-jinja Shrine
- 17th August Shirotori-jinja Shrine
- 20th August Nozoe Kifune-jinja Shrine
- 26th September Shiratori-jinja
More and more shrines are holding Haiden Odori.
Please check the homepage of Shirotori Tourist Association for details.
Haiden Odori Dance Schedule