Chigo no Mai: Dancing in Worship of Mount Fuji

Guide to Japan Travel Culture

“Chigo no mai,” literally, “Dance of the Little Girls,” is a devotional event conducted annually on April 25 and July 28 as a part of festivals conducted at Kawaguchi Asama Shrine in the town of Fujikawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture. Young girls perform a series of dances: Gohei no mai (dance of the wands), Ōgi no mai (dance of the fans), Tsurugi no mai (dance of the swords), Happō no mai (eight-direction dance) and Miya-meguri (circuiting the shrine). These dances are performed with stylized elegance in front of a congregation of Fuji members—Fuji being groups of people who climb Mount Fuji as an act of worship. They are based on the tradition of kagura, the sacred dancing and music conducted at Shintō shrines.

Kawaguchi Asama Shrine was founded in the late ninth century with the aim of pacifying Mount Fuji (Fujisan) following an eruption. It is part of the World Heritage site “Fujisan—Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration” recognized by UNESCO in 2013.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with the Committee for Research on Kawaguchi no Chigo no Mai.)

Mount Fuji World Heritage shrine Yamanashi Fujikawaguchiko