"Tashiro-no Furyu" is a traditional event that takes place in Tashiro, Kurogi-machi in Yame City, located in the southern parts of Fukuoka Prefecture. The festival originated as a Furyu (a dance participated by many, wearing lavish attire and backed by sounds of flutes and Taiko drums) performed approximately 240 years ago during the Edo period when Hachiryu Shrine was rebuilt.
The procession consists of only men with their faces powdered white—and most dressed as women—entertaining viewers in a variety of roles. The reason to why only the men participate, is said to be due to Hachiryu Shrine's deity being a goddess.
The festival begins with the sound of Taiko drums, before the Mikoshi float and the Daimyo procession leaves the house known as the year's "Zamoto" (a rotating role) and heading to Hachiryu Shrine. The festival comes to an end when the procession arrives at the shrine and a Taiko drum dance is performed as an offering. The winter day in a mountainous village becomes filled with laughter.
In "Tashiro-no Furyu," men dress up in disguise and dance their way to Hachiryu Shrine. The procession of approximately 50 includes those in drag as well as others wearing comical makeup, and are a fun bunch just to even look at.
Please pay attention to the two clowns leading the parade as man and woman. Viewers cannot help but giggle, for this traditional dance and chanting passed down through generations actually comes with explicit sexual content!
The clowns sometimes share Sake with the viewers as well, poured from a Hyotan (a gourd: traditionally used for storing liquid) tied to his waist. Try getting a drink when the opportunity arrives.
During the costume parade, men exchange their Keyari (4m long spears with their tips decorated with fluffy balls) to the sounds of energetic calls by tossing them to each other in unison. The sight of them throwing the Keyari back and forth in perfect timing without knocking them over resembles a circus show. Don't miss this spectacle under winter skies.
The seriousness seen in the powerful dance of the Taiko drummers comes as quite a contrast to the cheerful atmosphere of the costume parade. The drummers strike their drums with powerful steps while swinging their ornamental headgear called "Shaguma".
Please witness this energetic Mai (dance) performed holding drum sticks with tassels attached on their ends. The intense energy level required for the vigorous performance—rotated among a few men—leaves the performers breathing heavily with their shoulders.
Yame City's website
Please watch out for the passing vehicles while viewing the festival
Access to Yame City
Hainuzuka Station, JR Kagoshima Main Line
In the area of Tashiro, Kurogi-machi, Yame City
Approximately 50 min by taxi from JR Hainuzuka Station
Address: 1269 Tashiro, Kurogi-machi, Yame City