The spirit of dance

I spied these unusual dancers and musicians on a recent visit to Ise Grand Shrine in Ise, Mie Prefecture.  They are performing gagaku, a style of ceremonial court music and dance. This art is inherently religious and is only performed at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and at very select Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples across Japan.  A performance of gagaku is said to pacify the spirit of the resident kami (gods).  With Ise Grand Shrine being the holiest Shinto shrine in all Japan, it’s little wonder that it hosted such a special event.  But what a camera crush it created.