Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Japanese Firewalking Festival - Akibasan Gongen Hibuse Matsuri

Akibasan Gongen Hibuse Matsuri
Japanese Firewalking Festival

This video is from a year or two ago when I caught the tailend of a fire festival out near Odawara an hour or so to the southwest of Tokyo. Buddhist Priests dressed as Yamabushi - mountain hermits - walked over hot coals. Later, participants were allowed to do the same so I kicked off my shoes, waited in the freezing dirt till I got my chance to walk over by-then-not-so-hot coals. Walking over hot coals is known as Hi-watari-shiki.

The festival is called Akibasan Gongen Hibuse Matsuri and it's held in early-December at Ryokaku-in Temple near Odawara.

TIME: December 6 evening 6-8
PLACE: Ryokaku-in Temple, Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture - about an hour SW of Tokyo
GETTING THERE: Tokkaido Line to Odawara Stn then Hakone Tozan Railway to Hakone-Itabashi Station


This footage was taken slightly in slo-mo (hence the out-of-focus look) of a torch dance at the fire festival. It's accompanied by a rather catchy Buddhist chant.

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