Nozawa Onsen 'Dosojin' (Fire Festival)
On January 15th each year, the village of Nozawa Onsen – home to Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort – plays host to one of Japan’s great fire festivals – the Nozawa Onsen Dosojin. This is one of Japan’s three big fire festival and worth seeing if you happen to be in Nagano Prefecture around this time of year. Participants of the festival are men of the ages 25 and 42, the so-called unlucky ages. The young men protect a wooden shrine from the fire that the 42 year-old bring to burn the shrine. They “fight” to either burn or protect the shrine.
Before and during the festival the participating men drink alcohol to help them withstand the cold and for a bit of good old Dutch courage. They sing songs and chant things like “bring the fire!”. You will get close to fire one way or another so don’t wear your Sunday’s best. Wear something that could withstand a possible flame and the coldness of January. Snow boots are definitely recommended. All-in-all it is a lively event, and a lot of fun to experience. It will make your Japanese adventure even more interesting.
What want to attend the festival on a guided tour? Our 1-Day Nozawa Fire Festival & Snow Monkeys Tour combine an afternoon visit to the nearby Jigokudani Monkey Park with an early dinner before heading to Nozawa for the festival. Please note, this is a family-friend tour and not a drinking tour designed for the comfort and enjoyment of guests of all ages. We’d love to have you join us!