Oniyo, one of Japan’s famous strange festivals and the largest fire festival


Various religious events are held during the Japanese New Year.

The most popular of these, and the one with the largest number of participants, is the “Hatsumode” (first visit to a shrine).

Hatsumode: Japan’s National New Year’s Event Hatsumode is one of the world's largest religious events. A total of more than 90 million people visit temples and shrines from January 1 to 3 every year. 【...

The “Oniy (鬼夜)” described below is a ceremony to ward off evil spirits that has been practiced at a shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture for more than 1,600 years.

It is held on January 7, just as people have completed their “Hatsumode.


History and Origin of Oniyo

Oniyo is a Shinto ritual called “Onie (鬼会)” that takes place from New Year’s Eve to the seventh day of the New Year at the Tamataru Shrine of Daizenji Temple (大善寺玉垂宮) in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture.

The purpose of this ceremony is to pray for peace, a good harvest, safety in the home, and the extinguishment of calamities by guarding the sacred fire (Oni-hi) made from Hiuchi-ishi (flint).

“Oniyo” is held on the last day of the ritual.

It is said to have originated about 1,600 years ago, during the reign of Emperor Nintoku, when bandits who were tormenting the people were sought out by torchlight, struck down, and burned.

Features and Highlights of Oniyo

In the darkness of the night, hundreds of half-naked believers support six huge torches, which are said to be the biggest in Japan (about 1 meter in diameter, 13 meters in length, and 1.2 tons in weight) with “Kalimata” and walk around the shrine grounds to pray for protection from bad luck.

▽Please watch the video here.This is a news video of the festival.
There are plans to broadcast the day’s events live. For more information, please check the special official website on January 7, Japan time.

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