All About Japan

Furubira's Dazzling Demon Dance Fire Festival

| Festivals , Summer Festivals

Japan has no shortage of festivals for every season, from the weird and wacky to the absolutely magical. One such festival that would fall into the latter category is the Tengu no Hiwatari, which takes place annually in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.

The festival—held at the Ebisu Shrine in the town of Furubira—features a tengu, among others, running through a bonfire of towering flames. Tengu, if you’re not familiar, are creatures found in Japanese folklore, usually localized as “goblins” in English, and often depicted with a red face and distinctively long nose.

The towering flames involved at this fire walk in Hokkaido certainly make for a more impressive spectacle, which was captured and shared on Twitter by musician and photographer Katsu, who goes by @katuka2 online.

In the photos, Katsu captures the intense contrast between the dark shadows of the night against the bright blazing flames, as the masked fire walker emerges from the fire in a hellish scene.

“It’s more like ‘an amazing, crazy festival where a tengu leaps into a blazing inferno’ than a ‘fire walk'” Katsu says of the event.

After the tengu's walk came the shishi-mai (lion’s dance), which produced an even more magical display of flying sparks. Perhaps most impressive, though, is the fact that the ones running the lion costume through the flames were young boys.

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