Togakushi 'Dondo-Yaki' Festival
Dondo-Yaki is an event usually held after the New Year’s Holidays. It is a traditional event commonly seen more in the countryside of Japan, where everyone in the neighborhood gathers to make a big bonfire to wish for happiness of the new year. For the event (戸隠どんど焼き祭り), a 3 meters high tower made of green bamboo is build and all new year decorations/ornaments are brought to the tower by the people from the neighborhood.
Then, the tower is lit on fire. The flames climb steadily up to the top of the 3 meter bamboo tower and creates an impressive scene for all those present to at the festival. After the bonfire, foods like rice cakes (mochi) and sake drinks are served to visitors, and a drum performance and fireworks are showcased as the last events of the festival.
Togakushi is home to some fantastic accommodation options including multiple ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) and ‘shukubo’ (temple lodgings) associated with the area’s famous Shinto shrines. If you would like to join the festival, it’s best to book your accommodation well in-advance. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Togakushi Area’ hotel page.
19:00 until late
Third Saturday of January
Approximately a 70-minute drive from the Jigokudani Monkey Park
There is a daily bus available, directly connecting Nagano station and Togakushi Chusya for about an hour. Take the bus bound for Togakushi Camp-Jyo (戸隠キャンプ場) , get off the bus at Togakushi Chusya (戸隠中社).