Weekend in Nara

(Onusa, used to purify people, places, and objects, at Miwa Shrine in Nara.)

I just got back from a short trip to Nara over the weekend. It was such a relief to leave Tokyo behind and enter the countryside and mountains, to see the ancient shrines at Miwa and Tansan (Tōnomine), both places intimately tied to the performing arts and to Nō.

At Tansan Shrine, I saw a performance of Okina performed using a mask that hadn’t been used in performance for hundreds of years. The mask is slightly different and larger than standard Okina masks and labelled Matarajin, a god that in his craziness and his connections to performing arts has been compared to Dionysus.

Although I didn’t get a picture of the mask, I’ll be putting up pictures of Nara (and the evening I spent in Kyoto) on Sleeping Mountains, Photos as I sift through the huge number I took.