Douzen Kagura on Okinoshima Island

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Photo | Shimane Prefecture Tourist Gallery

Douzen is the collective name of a group of islands in the southern portion of the Oki Island Archipelago of Shimane Prefecture. They include Nakanoshima, Nishinoshima and Chiburijima Islands.

Kagura is the general name given to ritualized Shinto-based theatrical performances that recount the myths and deeds surrounding the gods of the pantheon of this spiritual system. It can be performed anywhere, from large halls to small communities and even on the beach.

The secret to this flexibility comes from the expert use of space by the performers and their assistants. Black curtains and ropes are used to section off the staging area during indoor performances. They are quickly and repeatedly re-positioned to suit the scene that is being performed.

While the actors take center stage, the musicians and singer/narrator sit off to the side. In smaller venues, they are often enveloped by the audience, creating the illusion that the intense sounds are coming from the cosmos.

While variations of the Kagura are performed all over Japan, the Douzen version is said to be closest in spirit to the original. One of the most captivating moments of this ancient entertainment for the gods is the dance where the shrine maiden moves as if in a divine trance.

 

Access: Take the Super Yakumo Express train from JR Okayama Station to JR Sakaiminato Station. Walk to the Sakaiminato Ferry Terminal. Take the fast ferry or the regular ferry to Saigo Port in Okinoshima Town or Kurii Port in Chibu Village. Beppu Port in Nishinoshima Town and Hishiura Port in Ama Town can be reached from Saigo Port in Okinoshima Town.

 

About the Oki Islands

The Oki Islands chain is about 65 kilometers at its nearest point and 85 kilometers at its furthest from the Honshu mainland, off the coasts of Tottori and Shimane Prefectures. Officially part of Shimane Prefecture, the archipelago consists of Dogo, Nishinoshima, Nakanoshima and Chiburijima in order of island size and population.

In order to visit the outer Oki Islands, also referred to as Dozen, you have to come through Saigo Port on Dogo Island, where the administrative headquarters of the archipelago are located. There is access by air from the mainland via the local airport, which is also on Dogo.

Cancellation Policy

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