Kawabe Shime Kagura has been performed in the mountainous fringes of Ozu for over two centuries. Tales of unrequited love and bewitching dragons are enacted every spring, over the tantalizing sounds of drums and flutes.
From late March till mid-April local shrines along the Kawabe valley host this itinerant performance, that serves both as a purification ritual and a celebration of the coming of spring. Originally related to the Izumo Shrine purification dances, it gradually blended with local beliefs and customs, giving birth to an enthralling adventure of suffering and compassion.
A shorter version of the dance welcomes guests of the Ozu Castle Stay, as an expression of local gratitude and moment of cultural immersion (the performance was designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage by Ehime Prefecture in 1970). Drums, swords, love and salvation await Ozu visitors, whether in the mountains or in the castle town.