One of Japan’s three biggest odd festivals
“Suwa Taisha Shrine” with the precincts in the Lake Suwa area in the central part of Nagano prefecture is a shrine that is a true shrine that appeared in “Kojiki” (Records of Ancient Matters). Its origin is said to have been around 1500 to 2000 years ago. It is also famous as the total headquarters of “Suwa Shrine” in various parts of the country.
Speaking of “Suwa Taisha Shrine”, it is the existence of “Onbashira” that should not be forgotten. Suwa Taisha is divided into four, each of the precincts has four “Onbashira” (Pillar) built so as to surround the shrine, and in “Harumiya Shrine”, two of them can be seen closely.
Suwa Taisha Shrine is a highlight of the shrine itself, but various other entertainment is held there.
Among them, the biggest event will be held every seven years, and it will be “Onbashira Matsuri Festival” which is a festival where more than 200,000 people participate. “Onbashira Matsuri Festival” is a festival that cuts out huge fir trees with a weight of about 12 tons, a length of about 17 meters and a diameter of about 1 meter from the mountains and builds them in the precincts. This festival is counted as one of the three major strange festivals of Japan, and it is known as a festival with a history. It is said that its origin was before the Heian period. “Yama-Dashi” which draws huge trees of fir from the mountain to the village will take place in April and “Sato-Hiki” to build from the village to each of the shrines will be held in May. And in the end they will be built in the four corners of each of the four shrines.
“Onbashira Matsuri Festival” which was said to have already been done about 1200 years ago from now. the excitement will not decline yet, and it is said that 20 to 300 thousand Ujiko (Shrine Parishner) participate in the festival. That power and the hot feelings of the people of Suwa at the festival are put in Onbashira built in the precincts.
Introducing the access to the place where “Kiotoshi” (the main attraction of the festival) of “Onbashira Matsuri” of Suwa Shrine is performed. If you are heading from Tokyo, take the Chuo Main Line limited express train from Japan Railway Tokyo Station or Shinjuku Station. (Express fares are required separately in addition to regular tickets.) It is about a 15-minute walk from Shimosuwa Station to Shimosha Akimiya of Suwataisha (Suwa Grand Shrine). To reach the place where “Kiotoshi” is performed, drive about 10 minutes from Shimosuwa station to arrive.
“Onbashira Matsuri” is held on a six-year cycle, with the next event in 2022.
Charms and Highlights of Onbashira Matsuri (Onbashira Festival)
Bringing down the tree from the mountains
“Onbashira Festival” of the Suwataisha Shrine is held once in seven years.
It is the unique sacred rites that huge tree (Onbashira), which is cut and brought down from the mountain by Ujiko (shrine parishioners), pull to the precincts with muscle power, and “Yama-dashi” (bringing down the tree from the mountains) of Kamiyashiro being carried out in April is one of the main event.
The Japan’s three biggest strange festival
On the “Yama-dashi” last day, men go down the steep slope on the “Onbashira” (huge log) and cross the river naked to the waist, the sacred rites, which have became so famous now, is held continuously. Such “Onbashira Festival” is counted for “the Japan’s three biggest strange festival”.
To make a sacred tree
To put it plainly, the “Onbashira Festival” is the event that “cutting the huge fir tree and bring it down from the mountain and carry it with human power to the Suwataisha shrine, and put it up in the four corners of the precincts and make a sacred tree”.
Religious festivals held on fixed years
The official name is called “Shikinen Zoei Onbashira Matsuri” (religious festivals held on fixed years). “Shikinen Zoei” is to convert the main shrine of the Shinto shrine newly every constant time. It is performed every 20 years in “Ise Jingu Shrine”, and a record of the large-scale reconstruction remains In the Suwataisha shrine in the 16th century.
Originally it was the construction work
There are various opinions in the origin of Ombashira Festival, it may be easy to understand that it was originally the “construction work” to carry building material, then it changed in a shinto rituals before long.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Onbashira Matsuri (Onbashira Festival)|
|Adresse:||Suwagun Shimosuwamachi, Nagano 393-0024 Japan|
|Access:||JR Chuo-honsen Line “Shimosuwa-eki Station” (10 minutes by car)|
|Tel:||(+81) 266-58-1123 (Onbashira Festival Tourism Information Center)|
Paid seating is also available.
Please refer the official web page.