Onbashira festival

Onbashira (in Japanese "honoured pillars") festival is organized every 6 years in the area of Suwa Lake in Japanese Nagano Prefecture. The festival has been going on for more than 1,200 years.

Onbashira festival
Onbashira festival

The Onabashira festival has two main parts. The first one is Yamadashi (in Japanese "coming out of the mountains"). It is held in April. The second part, held in May, is called Satobiki. At the very beginning of festival trees are cut. Everything is done according to an ancient Shinto ritual. Red and white Shinto symbols are painted on logs. Special ropes are attached too. During Yamadashi groups of men ride these logs down the hill towards the four shrines of Suwa Taisha. Everything is very dangerous. The whole act is known as "Ki-otoshi".

Onbashira festival
Onbashira festival

During Satobiki locals rise the brought logs and that way symbolically use them as foundations of shrine buildings. The festival ends with a ritual known as "Building of Hoden".