Nozawa Onsen Dosojin Matsuri

Nozawa-Onsen-mura, Nagano


Babanohara, Nozawa-Onsen-mura, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano
Google MAP


January 15th


Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association

Related Web Site

Nozawa Onsen Tourism Association


Villagers attempt to set fire to the main building of the shrine, and the men of the unlucky ages, 25 and 42, protect the building from the villagers. They fight a fierce battle, but the villagers eventually burn the shrine. A magnificent and strange festival.

In Nozawa Onsen Village, Dosojin faith is believed to be a folk religion. “Dosojin” is a guardian angel that prevents the intrusion of evil spirits or disasters during the growth of children as well as ensuring the prosperity of their descendants. Generally, a stone monument or stone statue guardian angel is enshrined in the middle of the village.

Unusually, in Nozawa Onsen Village, every family has a wooden Dosojin and the old Dosojin may be burned during the Dosojin Festival, or exchanged with that of another family.

“Dondo-yaki,” the burning of the sacred Shinto straw and the New Year festoon made of sacred straw to pray for good health and a good harvest, is conducted in many places in Japan on the 15th of January. Dosojin festival is one of these. The grandeur and intensity of this festival, which is one of the three biggest fire festivals, bears no comparison with the usual “Dondo-yaki.” The huge main building of the shrine was built from a large beech tree cut from the mountain-side. It looks like a huge tower more than 10 m high and 8 m wide. Villagers attempt to set fire to it and the men fight a fierce battle to protect it, but the huge tower eventually bursts into flames.

The combatants strike each other with fire torches or pine branches. Their valor in battle among the flying sparks is exceptional, with the audience close up.

Map & 360 degree view