Taking place in the grounds of Nenbutsu Temple in Nara, this fiery performance has been an annual tradition for over 500 years.
Three ogres, armed with flaming torches, scare away evil spirits from the dark temple hall as the sounds of drums, trumpets and bells waken the spirits. The spirits are prevented from ruining the good timings of the new year if the ogres are successful.
There will be events from 1 p.m. — including the Demon Run (without lights) at 4 p.m. and the main torch-led Demon Run at 9 p.m. The costumes are an incredible sight and the dramatic displays are enough to scare any demons away. The ceremony is considered a national cultural event of historical importance and is an unforgettable sight.
How to get there
The closest station to the festival is Yamato-Futami Station on the JR Wakayama Line (around 2 hours from the main station in Nara and 1.5 hours from Wakayama). It is around a 35-minute walk to the temple, but there will be a shuttle service from the Ueno Park parking lot (around 20 minutes from the station).
Keep an eye on the last train (which is around 10 p.m.).