Sat, Apr
02

Suwa Onbashira Festival

Free

Japan’s (and possibly the world’s) most dangerous festival, the Onbashira Matsuri (also known as the “Log Riding Festival”) is back and you definitely don’t want to miss it—especially since it takes places only once every six years. Held in the Lake Suwa area of Nagano, this festival is split up in two parts: Yamadashi and Satobiki. The former traditionally takes place in April and features groups of young men risking their lives proving their bravery by riding giant tree logs down a hill—a ceremonial ritual called kyotoshi or “tree falling”.

onbashira festival
Photo by shibainu used under CC

The latter takes place in May and involves, again, a group of men who ride the log as it is raised and they sing from the top of the log to announce the successful raising. For a taste of what to expect, check out the video below: The festival started 1200 years ago, and every year claims the lives of several participants and spectators. Precise dates for 2022 have yet to be announced.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many events have been canceled. Always check official sites before heading to an event.

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