HOME > Precinct Guide > 7-Shimohaiden / Maiden 下拝殿 / 舞殿 (Lower Worship Hall)

Precinct Guide

7-Shimohaiden / Maiden 下拝殿 / 舞殿 (Lower Worship Hall)

Many rituals are performed here throughout the year, and it is also here that dedicatory dances and music are performed.

This building is again lacquered in red and black, but instead of metalwork under the eaves, the ends of the wooden supports under the eaves are painted to represent metalwork. Above the entrance to the building proper you will see the carving of a waterfowl amongst irises. The whole building is also painted all over with flowers and leaves. This is to symbolize the presence of water to succour the plants, and by inference, the protection of the building from fire.

This building stands at a point of symbolic importance since it replaced a building (lost in the fire of 1191) where the famous dancer, Shizuka, performed her dedicatory dances in 1186. The story of Shizuka is a very poignant one.


The Story of the Lady Shizuka

Shizuka Gozen, the Lady Shizuka, was a famous 12th century court dancer, who features extensively in a number of plays, and the Tale of Heike and the Chronicle of Yoshitsune, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction in her life in some areas. The Lady Shizuka was the mistress of Yoshitsune, brother of the first Kamakura shogun, Yoritomo. After Yoshitsune disagreed with his brother after the end of the Genpei War and the establishment of the Kamakura shogunate, Yoshitsune fled Kyoto in 1185, leaving the Lady Shizuka at Yoshino, near Nara, which is famous for its cherry blossoms. She was captured by Hojo Tokimasa and forces loyal to Yoritomo and was forced to dance for the shogun at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu. She performed dances which she accompanied with songs telling of her longing for Yoshitsune, which angered the Shogun. The Shogun’s wife intervened, and saved the Lady Shizuka, stating that if the situation were reversed, she would have sung of her longing for her husband Yoritomo. Incidentally, Yoshitsune betrayed his half-brother, Yoritomo, and joined forces with retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa, was defeated in battle, and forced to commit suicide with his wife and daughter, in 1189.

← 6-Temizuya 手水舎 (The Water Purification Basin) ← The Map 8-Sakadaru 酒樽 (Sake Barrel) →


Copyright (C) The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu All Rights Reserved.