Let a Lion Bite Your Head (for Good Luck)

Good Luck Lions

If you could use a little more good luck, let a lion help you. Lions protect many shrines and temples in Japan. The dance of the lion dispels evil and calls in good luck. For an extra dose of good luck put your head in the lion's mouth and let it bite you.

The Lion Dancing and Biting

This is the lion dance, shishi-mai, at Kameido Tenjin shrine in Tokyo during the plum blossom festival in March, the ume matsuri. The stage is set with blossoms in the moonlight and a band of drums and flute play for the lion performer. At the end of the dance the lion comes to the edge of the stage, ready to bite people.

To get a lucky bite just stand in line (this is Japan!) and then offer the lion your head when it is your turn - no hats please. The lion will take your head in his mouth and bite you for that special good luck. If your kids are with you, offer them up to the lion for a quick bite to help make them smart and strong.

More about Shishi Lions and their Dance

When, where and how the lions dance depends on local traditions. Check the region that you are visiting for a local event. There are supposed to be thousands of lion dances performed in Japan throughout the year.

Read about the different kind of of shishi lions here

More about Kameido Tenjin in an older post

by David

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