The lion dance precedes the mikoshi during Ako Hachiman Shrine’s Shinko Ceremony. In the past, the tradition was passed down among young men who worked at the salt farms. The lion dance involves a male and a female hanataka (also known as tengu), who wear masks with long noses, and a male and a female lion, each with two dancers inside. Accompanied only by the beat of a drum, they perform two different dances, the dochumai (a dance performed on their journey from the shrine and back) and the kaguramai (a sacred Shinto dance performed in front of the shrine). At the start of the dochumai, the dance that plays the larger role of the two, the lions are awakened by the beating of a drum and led by the brave hanataka, purifying the path of the mikoshi that follows them. In front of the lions and holding long spears, the hanataka bound left and right in a dance that involves unusual footwork, and they play an important role in the progression of the lion dance down its path. Ako Hachiman Shrine’s lion dance has a uniqueness which cannot be seen anywhere else in the Harima area, where the geijishi (a lion dance performed for entertainment) is the dominant form, and in Heisei 17 (2005), it was designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Hyogo Prefecture.