Onisube has been deemed an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset by Fukuoka Prefecture, and is also one of the Three Major Fire Festivals in Japan. Said to have been started by the great-grandchild of Sugawara Michizane, Sugawara Sukemasa, in 986AD, the ritual is also supposedly a means of negating bad luck and preventing fires.
On January 7 of every year, a devil (the symbol of disasters) is driven into a structure on the Temangu Shrine ground called the Onisubedo and then smoked out, figuratively destroying it. Many spectators gather at the the massive burning blaze every year to pray for the year’s happiness.
The highlight of Onisube comes at the end with the Hiwatashi (lighting of the blaze). A fierce battle ensues between the “subete” (who send smoke into the Onisubedo) and the “onikego” (who retaliate from inside the structure by pounding on the walls). Experience the vivid calls of “Oni ja, oni ja!” emanating from about 300 men and the sound of the walls being beaten!
Lighting of the purification fire takes place at around 9pm, signaling the start of the climax.
|Address||818-0195 Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, 4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka|
|Access||By train – About a 5 minute walk from Nishitetsu “Dazaifu” Station on the Dazaifu Line
By car – About a 15 minute drive from the Dazaifu Interchange off the Kyushu Longitudinal Expressway
|Genre||Festival (Festivals and Events) Traditional Event (Festivals and Events)|
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