"Shirasagiza" Shadow play theater Traditional folk tales of the region.
Shadow Play Theater Shirasagiza is the only permanent shadow play theater in the country. Here are performed "modern shadow plays with a new feel", which recount legends and tales of Gero Onsen through delicate designs and soft color schemes.
First period performances2/20 to 6/12Second period performances7/16 to 11/27
performance times (approx. 35 minutes per performance)
From 10:30 / 14:15
The Gero Onsen "Legend of the White Heron" & and Shadow Picture Show
|Holidays||Wednesday (Open on public holidays) (Open at May 4,November 23)|
|Fee||300 yen (adults / children aged 3 and over)|
※ Performances may change / be canceled without prior notice
Founded in 1952, "Gekidan Kakashiza" was the first modern theater group in Japan specializing in shadow performances. Shadow pictures possess a mysterious quality and charm which inspire limitless imagination. The theater group has been developing unique ways to open up the world of shadow pictures ever since it was founded 60 years ago. They are active in many fields, including on TV, on stage and in print.
Once upon a time, there was a great rumbling from the earth, and with it the hot spring which bubbled up from Yugamine stopped. Now, not only were the people of Gero very proud of their hot spring, they actually depended on it, so when it stopped the villagers were sorely grieved, and fell to wailing. Some months later, the villagers got to thinking there was something strange about the white heron that came to the riverside every day, so they went to the spot where it would come to land. When they got there, they found nothing other than a hot spring bubbling forth. The villagers followed the white heron, and discovered that all along it had really been the Buddha of Healing, come to show them where they could find a new hot spring And so it came to be that ever since that time, the people of Gero worshiped the image of the Healing Buddha.
In the middle of the beautiful Nakayama Shichiri gorge lies the village of Seto, and to the north of this lies Koshi ga Ike Pond. About 500 years ago, there lived a mother and son who were well known for getting along very well. One day the mother fell ill, and despite everything her child Sakon tried, she would not get better. Then his mother said, "I want to drink some water from Lake Biwa," so Sakon journeyed to far Lake Biwa to get some for her. When Sakon at last returned home carrying water from the lake in a gourd, he learned that his mother was dead. Without thinking, he let the gourd fall to the ground. The performance tells the moving story of how the water that flowed out of the gourd became the beautiful Koshi ga Ike Pond.
"Hida Highway" had been an important waypoint for travelers since ancient times, and along it there was a post town called Joro. The sly old fox who lived in nearby Sairano was the top fox of the highway, and she had a special ability to transform herself into a pretty girl called Omitsu. She was always playing tricks on people on the highway, and before long became known as "Omitsu Fox of Sairano". One day, her cub was kidnapped by a huntsman. Upon hearing the news, Omitsu Fox's followers gathered from all around to discuss what they would do to save the cub. The performance deftly brings to life what the foxes did to rescue Omitsu Fox's cub..
One day during the Warring States period, the fires of war came to the houses and temples of the Hida Osaka region, which lay in the north of what is now Gero City. In a desperate bid to save the precious Nio images (wooden statues of guardian kings), which had already begun to burn, the villagers at once carried them to the river and, praying they would not be washed away, cast them into the water. Some days later, the villagers found the Nio images at the river's edge. Around the same time, Kotaro, an honest, hardworking young man, saw a vision of the Nio standing by his pillow. As instructed in his vision, Kotaro went to the river and, having been given the strength of a hundred men, carried the images up to the top of a hill. Kotaro understood the feelings of others and was always ready to help, precisely because he too was accustomed to the struggles of life. With the power received from the Nio, he went on to help many other villagers, and lived happily ever after. The performance depicts the life of the hero in detail.
One day in the village of Maze, a sake brewer was visited by a boy he had never seen before, who had come to buy some sake. The brewer, Jirobei, was struck by how much sake he was able to pour into the boy's small gourd, and when he asked the boy about it, the boy told him that he had been sent from the palace of the Dragon King. Jirobei went with the boy to the palace of the Dragon King, and was warmly received and very well treated. After three days and three nights, he was given a gift of a little box, which he was told must not on any account be opened. Jirobei returned home, and found that three years had passed while he had been away. Then one day, Jirobei's daughter Oko opened the box her father had brought back from the Dragon King's palace... In order to atone for her transgression, Oko became a nun and set out on a life-long pilgrimage to mourn her parents. The legend of the Dragon King's palace told in the village of Maze is recounted through beautiful shadow pictures.
Around 800 years ago, a fearsome baboon would attack the village of Soshino and eat the villagers' daughters. The villagers suffered terribly because of the baboon. Then one day, Yoshihira Minamoto, heir of Yoshitomo Minamoto and older brother of Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, passed through the village while he was recruiting soldiers. The villages beseeched him to slay the baboon. Hearing their plea, Yoshihira slew the monster, and when he continued on his way, he left the villagers his sword. The villagers named the sword "Soshinomaru", and cherished it thereafter. Around 200 years later, the governor of a neighboring village heard about the famous sword and went and took it from the shrine where it was kept. As soon as he did so a violent storm struck the region, as though nature itself were in outrage. The moment he returned the sword to its shrine, the storm subsided. The villagers remembered Yoshihira Minamoto, and gave thanks for the strong will with which he protected the village still. The exciting performance includes the Battle of Genpei..