Wakayama Shachu is a professional traditional Japanese performing arts company.

The performances they give, mostly as outlined below, originate from the Edo Period and have since grown in sophistication, while still preserving a stylish elegance and passion. They are typically performed at shrines during seasonal festivals, but also at theatres, not only in Japan.

Wakayama Shachu is one of four companies designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan as a significant intangible folk cultural asset for Edo Sato-kagura.

They have released several recordings since the 1960s, some of which have won awards.

"Kagura" is performed in dedication to the enshrined gods to give thanks as well as to pray for wishes.

Sato-kagura (里神楽)

Sato-kagura is a theatrical performance, mostly without any dialogue. Many of the stories are based on Japanese myths.

Emphasis is placed on the stories and drama as well as the beautiful costumes and masks.


Daidai-kagura is another type of kagura performance for the enshrined gods.

This photo was taken at Kanda Shrine in Tokyo where Wakayama Schachu perform daidai-kagura every year in the middle of January.


Kotobuki-jishi is performed not only during New Year events, but also at other celebratory occasions such as weddings.

Shishi(獅子) is often translated as "lion" although it is an imaginary creature. It is supposed to bring you good luck and expel evil spirits. If the opportunity arises, let it bite your head, as this is said to give fortune and wisdom!


Wakayama's form of matsuri-bayashi is usually played as a suite of five pieces. It is performed (from right to left in the photo) with: a shinobue (bamboo flute), two shimedaiko, an odaiko, and an atarigane (small metal percussion).

Please see this page for the photos of the instruments

Matsuri-bayashi differs from region to region but is always one of the important activities at shrine festivals everywhere in Japan and, as such, its sounds are a source of affection and nostalgia for those who have memories of time spent at shrine festivals.

Please find the details of our (free!) performances at shrine festivals on this page.

(Due to Covid-19, performances may be cancelled without prior notice and festivals may be running at reduced capacity.)

We look forward to welcoming you then.

Should you require any further information, please contact us at the email address below.