Experience gagaku, the music of the Japanese Imperial Court, in Yawatahama, Ehime. Visit Hachiman Jinja with a Shinto priest as your host, where you can listen to and play this traditional style that even Japanese rarely hear live.
this one-of-a-kind experience, you can actually play the instruments of Japanese court music, gagaku, as part of a musical Shinto offering at Hachiman Jinja. This shrine has over 1,300 years of history — in fact the city of Yawatahama's name is based on an alternative reading of the shrine's kanji "八幡." This ancient place of worship is one of the few places that you can hear gagaku played live, as most people only hear it recorded, even locals. The experience begins with meeting at the shrine's entrance with a Shinto priest, who will guide you on the proper way to enter: how to pass through the 'torii' gateway, and the 'temizu' process of purifying your hands with water. After entering in the proper manner, you'll change into the traditional attire for gagaku at the shrine. Then you'll practice 'sanpai' a short form of worship. Then begins the Gagaku experience proper. Your host will explain to you about the wind instruments of gagaku: sho (a mouth organ), hichiriki (an oboe), and ryuteki (a flute). You can try them one by one, and find out which is easiest for you to play. You'll have time to practice, and before you are done, should be ready to play a short piece for the ceremonial performance. Following your practice, you'll play the short piece in your ceremonial outfits, while staff record the experience for you to watch yourself later! Finally, you'll take some photos in your outfits, and fill in a short survey for the host if you have time. You're sure to treasure this amazing activity, almost impossible to have anywhere else. Book now for your once-in-a-lifetime Gagaku experience!