Although the title of scene three in this year’s Miyako Odori is “Kiyomori Visits the Itsukushima Shrine,” this photo is not a picture of Kiyomori. In fact, the Heike warrior Tairo no Kiyomori does not even appear in the scene. This photograph shows the geisha Fukuha dancing as a shrine maiden (Miko in Japanese).
The reason Kiyomori’s name is in the title is that he visited the shrine many times and was one of its biggest benefactors. The scene features several geiko playing shrine maidens who are showing their appreciation for Kiyomori by dancing for him. These shrine maiden costumes are by far the most colorful of any in this year’s Miyako Odori. I didn’t know any of the geiko performing on March 31, but I decided to make a few photos anyway just because I liked these costumes so much. The geiko Satomi will be performing as one of the shrine maidens when I go to the dance again in a few days, but I’ll be attending as just another member of the audience then.