4 Japanese Fire Festivals to feel the heat of the flame

There is a procession of warriors, a surprise festival that jumps into flames, and a romantic night view.

As in many cultures, the Japanese believe that fire has sacred power. Various fire festivals were born out of a desire for purification by fire, reinforcement of spiritual power by fire and so on. Its history is old and goes back more than 1,000 years.

The characteristics of Japanese fire festivals are intensely dangerous, such as using huge torches, a large number of torches or jumping on the fire. There is also a fantastic cultural festival where you can experience the beauty of fire. Alone, with your friends, with family, with your partner, please try to experience various fire festivals and have a wonderful cultural exchange.

Hifuri Shinji Festival

©Aso City

Hifuri Shinji is a Shinto ritual which held at Aso Shrine. That has a history of about 2,300 years. To celebrate God's marriage, people greet the marriage of God by waving a torch in front of the gate.
When the torch is lit and shaken, several rings of flames appear in front of Shrine and a fantastic sight spreads. There is special Hifuri for tourists which you can participate in.
This shrine is also known as a power spot for marriage because it worships God's couple.
Recommended for those who want to experience the Fire Festival in a sacred atmosphere, or for those who want to share a special experience with their loved ones.

Details

Name Hifuri Shinji Festival
Location of the Event Aso Shrine, Aso-shi, Kumamoto
Period of the Event Middle of March
Access Approximately 2 hours' bus ride or rental car from Kumamoto Airport
TICKET
  • Tokyo
    (Haneda)
    To Kumamoto
    • Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Osaka
    (Itami)
    To Kumamoto
    • Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes

Kanoukaen Festival

Would you like to see a Samurai warrior processions, in fire festivals and even cherry blossoms?! Here is Kanoukaen in Unzen City, Nagasaki Prefecture.
Many believers were persecuted in Christian oppression during the Warring States, which was almost five hundred years ago. This festival is a reproduction of the history of a warlord who saved lives by helping people who suffered from oppression and suicide. 200 Samurai walk through the cherry blossom-filled Tachibana Park with a torch. It is as if seeing the illusion that the armor is clearly illuminated by the flame. You can feel the souls of the samurai scattered in their regret.
You can also participate in the samurai procession by pre-application. The samurai procession in the dark is also outstanding in the picture, you can take a picture that can only be taken here. If you like history and culture, you want to experience the world of samurai and battles, and of course, if you like photography, this festival is a must-see.

Details

Name Kanoukaen Festival
Location of the Event Tachibana Shrine, Chijiwa Beach and Fukuishi Park, Chijiwa-cho, Unzen-shi, Nagasaki
Period of the Event Middle of March
Access Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes by bus and Shimabara Railway from Nagasaki Airport
TICKET
  • Tokyo
    (Haneda)
    To Nagasaki
    • Approximately 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Osaka
    (Itami)
    To Nagasaki
    • Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes

Toba Fire Festival

There are many fire festivals in the world, but in Japan, there is a rather shocking festival of jumping into a burning fire. One of them is this Toba Fire Festival.
In the precincts of Toba Jinmeisha, a huge torch of five meters in height is installed, and a sacred tree called "Kamiki" and a rope supporting the sacred tree called "Twelve Ropes" are placed in it. The weather and the fertility of the year are occupied by the result of the competition, that men who have cleansed themselves jump into the burning torch, and take out the sacred tree and twelve ropes.
The highlight is the way the men jump into the flames and fight. It is said to be one of the most dangerous festivals in Japan because of the heat and intensity.
It is recommended for those who want to experience the excitement of the festival, and for those who want to touch the root meaning of the festival transmitted from ancient times. It will be an experience you will never forget.

Details

Name Toba Fire Festival
Location of the Event Toba Shinmeisha Temple, Nishio-shi, Aichi
Period of the Event Middle of February
Access Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes by Meitetsu Express, Meitetsu Main Line, and Meitetsu Gamagori Line from Chubu International Airport Centrair
TICKET
  • Tokyo
    (Haneda)
    To Nagoya
    (Chubu)
    • Approximately 1 hour

Hida Furukawa Kitsune Fire Festival

©Hida City

In Japan, foxes have been regarded as sacred as having spiritual power. The Hida Furukawa Fox Fire Festival is a fantastic festival that expresses the mysterious procession of foxes.
The legend is that the son of the Fox God and the local beautiful daughter got married. People who have seen the marriage ceremony are said to receive wishes such as grain riches, family security, and prosperous business. It attracts many tourists.
The highlight is the wedding ceremony procession and wedding ceremony illuminated by the light of the torch. A traditional wedding ceremony can be seen, and the venue will be united with dances, drums and furumai-zake (sake which is offered by hosts when celebrating New Year's or a wedding).
On this day, both locals and tourists wear fox make-up on their faces. You can also experience dressing kimonos, and you feel like you've lost your way into the world of old stories.
If you are interested in traditional Japanese events, like magic and fairy tales, or if you like costumes, this festival is also a great place to enjoy the festival.

Details

Name Hida Furukawa Kitsune Fire Festival
Location of the Event Hida-shi, Gifu
Period of the Event End of September
Access Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes by Meitetsu Airport Line and JR Takayama Main Line from Chubu International Airport Centrair
TICKET
  • Tokyo
    (Haneda)
    To Nagoya
    (Chubu)
    • Approximately 1 hour