Shiide Itsukushima Shrine is located in Kudoyamacho, Shiide, Wakayama prefecture. It was originally founded to enshrine a guardian deity of this area, but due to the late Meiji Period wave of shrine mergers all over Japan, it merged into the nearby Kamikosawa Itsukushima Shrine, leaving only the main altar building today. It’s just a 2 minute walk from Koyashita Station on the Nankai Line. Jizo Temple stands at the back of the shrine, housing the Jizo Shoryu (meaning Rising dragon) picture on its ceiling.
One of the features of this shrine is the Shinto ritual, Oni no Mai (Dance of the Devil), held on August 16th every year, and designated as one of the Intangible Cultural Properties of Wakayama. The purpose of Oni no Mai is to ward off natural disasters and bad luck and to pray for an abundant harvest and safety of the village people.The tradition has an oral history dating back as far as 670 years, and a written history of 350.
The cast of Oni no Mai consists of a devil, a drummer, a crowd pleaser, 2 flutists, and 7 local singers. The legend tells that the children who touch the stick held by the devil will grow up healthy, so the festival attracts crowds of excited spectators and their children.