Kumamoto: Mythical Creature Dances for Shrine Festivalgoers

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Kida no Mai is performed in front of many spectators.

YATSUSHIRO, Kumamoto — The Kida no Mai, a traditional dance featuring the Kida mythical creature, was performed at a nearly 400-year-old festival of Yatsushiro Shrine in Yatsushiro on Nov. 23.

The Kida is a creature which has the head of a snake and the body of a turtle. The dance performance is based on a legend about the deity of Myoken, who is said to have crossed the ocean from China on the back of the creature and arrived at Yatsushiro about 1,300 years ago.

The dance is performed during the onobori procession during the Yatsushiro Myoken Festival, which is registered as UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.

At the Tosaki no Kawara riverside area near the shrine, many spectators watched and applauded the mythical dance as well as parades by intricately designed kasaboko floats, people wearing traditional garb and others.