At Nozawa-Onsen Hot Spring Town in Nagano Prefecture, a magnificent festival will be held in January. It is famous “Dosojin fire festival” as Japan’s Three Great Fire Festival. “Dosojin” is a god made of stone and wood placed at the entrance of a village or district or a street to prevent disasters. In addition to avoidance of bad luck, it is believed in all over Japan as god of descendant prosperity, traffic safety, especially in Nagano prefecture and Gumma prefecture.
“Dosojin fire festival” will be held on January 15th. There are also implications of “Donto-Yaki” (events that supply bills and amulets etc) held in various places. However, it is a strong festival for the villagers who has a desire for greater purification beyond that.
Men in the village ‘s climacteric year 40, 41, 42, and 25 years old make a huge shrine. The tree for making this shrine is cut out from the mountain by men of 25, 42 years old in the autumn of the previous year, and the assembly is done overnight from the day before the festival. Its size is as high as 10 meters and 8 meters in length. This shrine is brought to the venue of the festival, but the villagers will attack with the branches of the pine that set fire to light this building. The men of critical age protect the shrine from the attack and head for the venue. Afterwards, fireworks are given to the shrine grandly at the venue.
This festival is a venerable fire festival that is counted as one of Japan’s three great fire festivals and also designated as an important intangible folk cultural asset. This fire festival, which is held every year in cold weather, is a powerful full-scale festival where sparks are scattered and participants are dedicated to life.
Nozawaonsen-mura village located in the northern part of Nagano, has been developed as a hot spring and a place for skiing. It attracts coming travelers through the taste of the traditional hot-spring resort and a good old tradition. The Dosojin fire festival, which is an outstanding strange festival in Japan, is one of the attractions of this village. The violent interaction of the man and man who entrusted flame with “yakubarai” (exorcism of bad luck). It is a festival handed down in Nozawaonsen-mura village more than 300 years.
The passion of villagers on this festival is a considerable thing, many tourists flock from the inside and outside the country in January 15 (former Coming-of-Age Day) that is the date of the Dosojin fire festival held every year.
The Dosojin fire festival is performed for praying for healthy growth of children and peace of the village, good match of the villager, and “yakubarai”. It is designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of the country. The “Dosojin” is dedicated by the center of a village and the boundary of a village, prevent an accident and the invasion of the demon, and it has been worshiped as a village guardian and fertility deity.
The intense battle between the villager who is going to set fire and men who are in their climacteric year is set in the huge main shrine, which is several tens of meters height, 8 meters in width.
A figure of men patting each other in the branch of a torch and the pine with the fire is just like serious quarrel. In flying sparks, a desperate fight takes place in front of your eyes.
|Name:||Dosojin fire festival|
|Adresse:||Toyosato 9184 Shimotakaigun Nozawaonsenmura, Nagano 389-2502 Japan|
|Access:||JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Line “Iiyama-eki Station” (25 minutes by bus)|
|Tel:||(+81) 269-85-3155 (Nozawa Hot Spring Tourism Association)|