Ancient dance amid a sea of soft light
On the evening of September 25, Dazaifu Tenmangu's Autumn Festival draws to a close with candlelight and kagura, a beautiful dance of worship performed on a temporary stage set over the water of the Shinji-ike pond.
The sacred dance is performed by shrine maidens to the accompaniment of Japanese flutes,
chanting, and drums. The dancers wear exquisite costumes in the style of the Heian period
(794–1185). They offer their dance to Sugawara Michizane, who is enshrined at Dazaifu
The surface of the water sparkles with the reflection of flickering candles lit and placed around the pond and along its bridges in a ritual known as the Thousand Candles Ceremony. The lighting of the candles begins at 8 p.m. and the kagura commences shortly after.
8 p.m.–8:30 p.m.