Nishio-City Toba Fire Festival
Date : 02/11/2024
1,200 years of continuous culture at one of Japan's unusual festivals
The Toba Fire Festival is said to have started around 1,200 years ago at Toba Shimmeisha Shrine.
Two giant 5-meter-tall "Suzumi" torches made of bamboo and thatch are set up and lit within the grounds of the shrine. Men called "Kami Otoko" (literally "God Men") and priests dressed in clothing made from old shrine banners are divided into two teams which jump into the flames, competing to bring out sacred trees and twelve ropes which are then brought before the altar as an offering. The condition of the fire and victory/loss between the two teams are used to divine the year's weather and how plentiful the harvest will be.