FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Take Part in Japan’s Festival of Fire and Snow, Hiburi Kamakura,

by Jack Guy

Feb 25, 2020

ID 167128276 © Alexgrid | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Asia

Each February, the former samurai neighborhood of Kakunodate comes alive with fire during the Hiburi Kamakura festival.


On Feb. 13 and 14 , thousands of participants descend on the town to take part in the historic purification ritual, which involves swinging burning sacks of charcoal on ropes.


Those who dare swing the flaming ball around their head make spectacular patterns in the night sky. It’s a traditional dance that marks the end of winter and the beginning spring, inviting good spirits to enter in the new season.


The town is found in Akita Prefecture, along the Kinokinai River, which sometimes freezes over. Along its banks you will find small Shinto shrines called kamakura, little igloos built by locals to make offerings to the spirits.


It’s an amazing spectacle that offers a window into Japanese culture and its traditional Shinto religion. Kakunodate is also one of the most famous examples of samurai architecture in the country, and you can visit some of the old buildings such as Ishiguro House. There is lots to see around town, including hundreds of cherry blossom trees, and it’s just three hours by train from Tokyo.



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