Dazaifu Tenmangu’s Onisube ritual stands as one of the grandest fire festivals in Japan. The ritual, commencing around 9 p.m., is a dynamic spectacle. Participants chant “Oni ja, Oni ja” (It’s a demon, it’s a demon) as they endeavor to flush out demons hidden within the Onisube Hall using billows of smoke and towering flames. The ritual reaches its peak when pine needles and straw stacked before the hall are set ablaze with sacred fire. Enormous fans then direct the smoke into the hall in a symbolic attempt to expel the demons. The event becomes a dramatic struggle, with one faction striving to oust the demons, while another faction furiously works to break the hall’s wooden walls, aiming to disperse the smoke and safeguard the demons inside. The charred remnants of these walls are subsequently cherished as protective charms against fire, with a tradition of taking them home to be reverently placed near house entrances for safety.
• 1/7 (Sun.)
• Dazaifu Tenmangu
• 4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka