Jion-ji (Jion Temple) in Sagae City and Yamadera in Yamagata City are two of the oldest and most important temples in Tohoku. Their influence is what in part brought the art of court dancing to Yamagata. The Hayashi Family originally moved from Tenno-ji (Tenno Temple) in Osaka to Yamagata in order to offer their dance in worship at Risshaku-ji after the Buddhist priest Jikaku Daishi founded it in 860. Later the family moved across the Murayama Basin to Jion-ji in Sagae City, and then finally settled in the Yachi area of Kahoku where they serve as the priests of Yachi Hachiman-gu (Yachi Hachiman Shrine).
Although there are still five or six areas performing court dances in Japan, Hayashi-ke Bugaku is special in that it moved far away from the capital at an early stage and was thus spared from the various changes in court dance style, still retaining the original elements and gestures of court dancing when it was first introduced to Japan. Many people are surprised when told that Hayshi-ke Bugaku is actually a descendant of Greek dances from thousands of years ago, making its way (and picking up various influences) through the Middle East, India, China and Korea along the Silk Road. If you take a good look at the instruments and costumes and listen closely to the music, you should be able to appreciate bugaku's non-Japanese roots.
Hayashi-ke Bugaku can be seen at Hachiman-gu Shrine during the Yachi Donga Matsuri (Yachi Donga Festival) in September or at Jion-ji in Sagae City during the Jion-ji Reisai (Jion-ji Festival) in May. If you have a large enough group you can also make an appointment to watch.
Shrine is 20 minutes by car from Sagae Station