Japan is famous for its colourful and enriching events and festivals.  Wherever you may be visiting in Japan with its array of both local (matsuri) and national festivals, you are sure to be close to a celebration or marked occasion of some sort.

This festival, held at Omiya-Shrine in Yamaga, is one of the three great summer fire festivals of Kumamoto, known as the Land of Fire.

The origins of this spectacular fire festival, held in mid-August each year, lie in an ancient legend telling of how the Emperor and his entourage, hindered by fog, were welcomed by local villagers bearing pine torches to illuminate their path.

On the second day of the festival, 1,000 women, dressed in cotton summer kimono and wearing lighted gold and silver lanterns on their heads, single and dance late into the night. Meanwhile, men reproduce the scene of the villagers welcoming the Emperor, donning traditional dress and parading with lighted pine torches.

The festival also includes many other attractions throughout the town, such as displays of decorative lanterns in the shape of shrines and castles at the opening of the festival, and dances by troupes of dancers dressed in matching kimono.

On the evening of the 15th there is a spectacular fireworks display, with around 4,000 fireworks launched from the Kikuchigawa River. Don’t miss the closing ceremony, which takes place at midnight on the 17th, when lanterns are offered to the gods at Omiya Shrine.

Dates

Mid-August

Dates and functions are subject to change without notice. Be sure to check the latest information in advance.
Address:

Yamaga,
Kumamoto,
Japan