This blog is for family and friends, to share my feelings and photos with and for myself, to support my fading memory and improve my Japanese. I intend to do some writing in kanji, but am not getting very far without a Japanese computer. So for the moment I say "konnichi wa". Aisatsu dake - just saying hello.

Friday, 31 January 2014

鷹栖観音の火祭り Takasu Kannon Fire Festival

On January 4th , after seeing the macaques and an aquarium in Beppu we went to a small town in Oita prefecture to see this festival. It was a cold evening and while waiting around I decided to buy a good winter coat that week. (I did). However, once the action was on, fires burned left right and center and I was happy with my old one. 

Men in loincloth (it seems to be the traditional dress code at winter festivals) carried burning torches across a river which must have been freezing cold. 

A huge bonfire was lit on the river bank and further up near the shrine the bamboo torches were beat in a way that they produced as many sparkles as possible, an exhilarating kind of fireworks that had me running for shelter a few times. I managed to squeeze a few shots though and even succeeded to safe that old jacket. 

The fire is meant to destroy evil, represented by this mask of a red demon, called ‘oni’.
An exciting fire festival, very different from the one at Atago in  December, worth the long wait and my cold hands and feet.

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