Gokayama is known as a treasure trove of folk music, and about 30 folk songs are said to have been handed down to this day. Among them, Kokiriko and Mugiya-bushi, which are nationally-designated important intangible cultural assets, are widely known.
It is said that the defeated warriors of the Heike Clan ran from the capital and finally fled Gokayama. During their hard work on the farm, they sang songs, wishing again for their glorious days in the capital. This gives these songs a certain melancholic melody and elegance. Local people have handed them down through singing and dancing for long periods. Gokayama’s folk songs and dances continue to live on in a timeless manner.
These folk songs and dances are performed by the Gokayama Folk Song Preservation Society each September in Nanto City at the Johana Mugiya Festival, Gokayama Mugiya Festival, and Kokiriko Festival.


It is said that the origins of Kokiriko is an ancient dance and music performed in an agricultural event around the time of Taika-no-Kaishin in 645 A.D. In Kokiriko, dancers play a percussion instrument called the “sasara”. The elegant and brisk dance has attracted many people.This percassion instrument is made of bamboo and is said to be original form of nankin Tama-sudare, which is a flexible bamboo screen used in street and stage performances.

●Kokiriko Festival: September 25 and 26 yearly

Preservation society: Ecchu Gokayama Kokiriko Hozon-kai


It is said that this song was called Mugiya-bushi because the Heike Clan warriors sang this song while reaping mugi (wheat) with hoes and hooks in their hands, instead of swords. Remnants of their glories can be seen in the graceful yet masculine dance performed by dancers wearing traditional family crest-bearing kimono and hakama pleated skirts with white cotton sashes and bamboo swords.

●Gokayama Mugiya Festival: September 23 and 24 yearly

Preservation society: Ecchu Gokayama Mugiya-bushi Hozon-kai


Preservation society: Ecchu Gokayama Minyo Hozon-kai
Toichinsa-bushi is humorous and merry songs based on ordinary people's lives.


Preservation society: Ecchu Gokayama Minyo Hozon-kai
Osayo-bushi is a song about the difficulties between men and women.

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