Fire Festival Nozawa Onsen

by Mark on January 15, 2011

Nozawa Onsen fields of Dreams

Sounding like a broken record but it is snowing again in Nozawa Onsen
Was clear skies last night around midnight so was half thinking the forecast may be wrong
But sure enough quite heavy snow this morning in town
Official reports is 10cm should be at least that on the top

Forecasts are showing it is set to continue throughout today and then get heavy tonight which will add to the atmosphere of the Fire Festival.

It is a long night and pretty cold out there so anyone attending be sure to rug up and follow the rules laid down by the organisers. There will be some free Sake flowing but be warned it has a nasty kick.
It is an awesome night and something we are all very proud of here so we hope all the visitors will truly enjoy the spectacle from a safe distance.

Yesterday was an amazing day and was a nice change to see the sun and be able to get a good look around the mountain

Courses open:

All except the following
Uenotaira Half Pipe
Karasawa Wave Park

Lifts operating:
All lifts are open

Here is some more info on the Fire Festival
This 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 in the coming year.

For men in the Village the ages of twenty-five and forty-two year old are considered unlucky ages. They spend a few days to construct the shaden (shrine) from beech wood that reaches a height of 18 meters. Every year it takes 100 villagers to build the shrine.

The trees are cut down in October and brought down from the mountain, through the village, on January 13th with much cheer and the sake is flowing freely.

Along with the shaden there are an average of five tôrô (dedicatory lantern poles) erected every year. These poles are made by a family in the village to celebrate the birth of the first son. The tôrô are offered to the Gods in a prayer for health and good fortune.

The festival centers around the shaden, where the fourty-two year olds sit on top and the twenty-five year olds stand guard at the base. Torch bearing villagers of all ages attempt to break through the guards and light the shaden on fire. A dangerous and lively battle ensues. The defenders try to put out the fire by striking it with pine branches. The attack lasts for about one hour, after which the 42 year olds call an end to the ceremony and the shaden together with the tôrô are set on fire in an offering to the Gods.
It is an amazing spectacle and you feel like you are stepping back in time for a night that you will never forget

Nozawa Onsen Fire Festival

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