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Fuji-san Gojinka Matsuri 2016 (Sacred Fire Festival)

Last year we visited the festival first time. We came back there again as it was unexpectedly interesting.

Fujisan Gojinka Matsuri takes place on the first Saturday of every August. It is a fire festival which is held at Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha and in the main road of the town. On the day of the festival, a sacred fire, made through Shinto ritual at the Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha, is lit on the Gojinka mikoshi (a portable shrine).

The festival has been becoming increasingly popular every year. In the early evening, people wearing Yukata (Japanese cotton kimono) started gathering and created a festival atmosphere throughout the town.

A mikoshi, which weighs between 800kg and 1ton, is carried by 60 – 100 people and parades through the city vigorously.

It is a tradition that people from the shopping street throw buckets of water on the mikoshi carriers.

After Mikoshis had gathered at the Sengen shrine, the main attraction of the festival started. Eight mikoshis with a sacred fire, including a women mikoshi, stepped into the Kanda river that spring water from Mount Fuji flows. Water is as cold as 13 degrees.

More than 60 carriers soaked themselves up to their waists. It was the best part of the festival that carriers went ahead against the stream while sparks were falling on mikoshis.

Also it was fun that spectators chanted “Wa-shoi, Wa-shoi” while watching the scene.

What makes it more interesting is that carriers splashed river water onto the spectator. Last year, we were sitting in the first row and got soaking wet. However, it was a great pleasure to feel purified by water and one could call it a real thrill of the festival.

Fuji-san Gojinka Matsuri 2016 (Sacred Fire Festival)
Addressaround Sengen Taisha (1-1, Miya-cho, Fujinomiya-city, Shizuoka)
Time :  Early August