Kagura is characterized by purity and cleanliness. In austere and natural settings, ancient dances made as offerings to entertain the gods, often in setting in which no one other than the performers themselves are allowed to witness.
The grounds of a Shinto shrine can be a simple structure as in many village or in the neighborhood shrines of big cities. Many of the large ones are afftected by local style and even take on some stylistic elements from Buddhist temples. The two oldest and most revered are the shrine of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-no O-Mikami at Ise and the shrine of Susanoo no O-Mikoto at Izumo. The Shrine at Izumo is great complex of structures in natural wood. These buildings retain elements which are thought to reflect architectural types going back to times preceeding the introduction of Chinese culture in the 6th Century.
|The Izumo Shrine|
|The word, kagura, means "place of the gods" but it is written with characters which mean "music of the gods". Kagura, whether it is performed in the sacred prencints of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo or in some small village shrine, always signifies a musical performance intended as an offering and an entertainment to the ancient gods of Japan.|
|Kagura Performed at the Kasuga Shrine in Nara during the 1930s.|
|Kagura performed in the Kasuga Jinja during the 1960|
|Musicians at the Shinto Kamo-Matsuri, in Kyoto.|
The kagura music performed at the break of dawn, "Ake". Audio
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Last Updated 09.15.04