Tonights the night in Nozawa – The Annual Dosojin Himatusri Fire Festival!
Some of the young men in the Village have been waiting their whole lives for tonight. Seeing their brothers, cousins and friends lay their bodies on the line in the name of honour and tradition. Now it is their turn to sacrifice and celebrate along with the whole village for the amazing Fire Festival.
During this festival, the 25 Year old and 42 Year old men from the village play a very important role. A traditional belief in Japan dictates that, for men, these years are unlucky ages. These men together with up to 100 other experienced villagers have been busy constructing the Shaden (shrine) from beech wood that reaches a height of 18 metres down at the ceremonial grounds towards the bottom of the Village . Later tonight the 42 Year olds will climb to the top of the Shrine and the 25 Year olds will protect it with all their might as the rest of the Village attack it with burning torches.
It is an age old pantomime that unfolds throughout the evening with plenty of layers and amazing to witness. Here is a link to more photos and details
Time Table for the Nozawa Fire Festival
19:00; Bring the fire to the fire festival arena located towards the bottom of town just follow the crowds
19:30; Towers representing the new births arrive
20:00; Fireworks and the Dosojin drummers
20:30; Kids and dignitaries start with the fire lighting
20:50; Adults attack the tower with burning sticks
22:00; The tower is set alight
Rules of the Dosojin Fire Festival
1. The lighting of the fire and challenging is restricted to local villagers only. No
one else is allowed to enter the roped off area.
2. Do not throw any objects. Respect people around you and don’t chant.
3. Only participating members are allowed to climb the shrine (42-year-old villagers)
4. No drinking in the arena except for participants in the festival. Take all rubbish when you leave.
5. Please take care of friends and have the name of your lodge or bus company on you somewhere, perhaps in a lift pass armband.
6. We do not take responsibility for any damage or injury. Take care of nylon clothing as it can easily burn. It’s probably best not to bring valuable items with you. Rug up as gets cold and is a long night.
7. This festival is a tradition that has been running since 1863. We ask you to please respect the local customs.
Have fun but please behave and take care.