Six representatives from among the people at climacteric ages receive the original flame from the Kono family at the Terayu. The flame is kindled by striking metal on flint, and then huge torches are fired up. The fire is brought to the festival site while people sing Dosojin songs. Battles start at around 8:30 in the evening, when people with the role of lighting the fire use the original flame to set the torches alight, and try to attack the pavilion. The role of extinguishing the fires is taken by the people at climacteric ages; those who are 42 years old defend the upper part of the pavilion, while 25 year-olds defend the lower part.
Dosojin Fire Festivalの最近の記事
The magnificent, tall shrine pavilion of Dosojin is about seven meters high, and from the upper section, the sacred trees protrude another ten or more meters. As for its width, the pavilion is eight square meters at its top beam, while the roof is equivalent to nearly forty tatami mats. Because construction of the shrine is dangerous work, participants have to refrain from drinking alcohol and complete the work in silence. The preparation work continues until late at night on the 14th, and is finished in the morning of the 15th.
In the autumn of the year before the festival, five sacred trees are logged from the Dosojin forests, which are jointly owned by villagers. On Januaryu 13th, two groups of people who are at climacteric ages of either 42 or 25 years old take three or more hours to lower two of the five trees down from the Hikage ski-field to the festival site. Families along the route offer sacred Sake, for which the master in charge of each tree shouts his thanks. Clapping their hands in celebration, villagers distribute sacred Sake to passers by.
Starting from the top and extending toward the bottom are hung, a sacred cloth and an umbrella-shaped cover, from which a cloth with the family's crest is hung. Behind the cloth, under the cover, hang a round lantern with bells, a white folding fan, and a hanging cloth decoration.
Next is hung a diamond-shaped lantern decorated with pictures, followed by split bamboo strips covered with paper flowers, which hang off the central pillar to form a bowl shape. Beneath this arrangement are numerous lanterns. At the bottom there are pieces of New Year's calligraphy written by local children and children of rerlatives. On January 11th, a big party called Toro-marume is held. On January 15th, the first lantern decorations are carried to the festival site by a crowd of people singing Dosojin songs and wooden Dosojin statues are made for praying that the first born son will grow up healthy and have a happy marriage. From the evening of January 14th until midday on the 15th, the Dosojin evening festival is held.
On the 15th, people visit and pray at the shrine pavilion at the Dosojin site.
Nozawa Onsen Kawaichiya ryokan
Five straight beech trees that are about 30 centimeters in diameter and about 18 meters tall are selected as sacred trees.
On the morning of the day when the sacred trees are logged, villagers pray to the mountain gods along the way for the safety of the proceedings. At the beech forests where the sacred trees are located, they hang sacred ropes and cloths, and set up a temporary altar.
The tools for logging the sacred trees and beams etc. are arranged on the altar, along with Sake, white rice, and other offerings.
Nozawa-gumi group members, preservation association members, and villagers at climacteric ages gather in front of the temporary altar to pray together and perform self-purification rites.
Nozawa Onsen Kawaichiya ryokan
Dosojin -sometimes called Dorokujin or Saenokami- are a folk deity believed to ward off danger near village borders and crossroads. Their stone statues are usually enshrined at village borders. These deities are also worshiipped for bringing fertility and children's growth, and fire festivals dedicated to them are held on January 15th. In particular, Nozawa onsen's Dosojin festival is famous for its spectacular size.
All villagers in Nozawa onsen love the "Dosojin" fire festival.
It is held on Jan 15th every year and we get a lot of inquiries for that. We usually are fully booked even before summer season, but we have got some changes for this year's and now we still have some vacancy during that period.
If you are interested in this festival, you should come Nozawa onsen to see it.
I am telling you, you all are gonna love it!
Here is a short introduction.
The "Dosojin" Fire Festival is one of the three most famous fire festivals in Japan. It is held on January 15th every year to pray for a plentiful harvest, health and good fortune for the coming year. The festival centers around the shaden (shrine), where the fourty-two years old male villagers sit on top and the twenty-five years old stand guard at the base. Torch bearing villagers of all ages attempt to break through the guards and set fire to the shaden. The entire festival can last up to four hours from beginning to end, but the main attraction is the ensuing battle between the guards and the torch bearing villagers.