JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


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Kobiyoshi Shrine in rural Ryuo holds the Yuge no Hi Matsuri fire festival on the evening of May 1. See small torches, tossing flares, lots of firecrackers, fireworks, two giant straw torches. 弓削の火祭り MAPFrom Omi-Hachiman Station No. 4 bus stop, board the bus for Okaya Minami and get off at Nishikawa Higashi-guchi bus stop. The ride is about 13 min. From the bus stop, the shrine is a 10-min. walk. You can also take a taxi from Omi-Hachiman Station. Taxi would be required on the way back to Omi-Hachiman since the buses will not be running after the festival is over.
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I took the bus from Omi-Hachiman Station and walked to the shrine. It's hard to find the shrine if you don't know where it is. I went before dark to make it easier to find. Yuge Fire Festival in Ryuo.
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Two giant torches made of straw were on display in front of the shrine.
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There is definitely something religious about these torches.
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Top of a giant torch.
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A touch of modernity and anime at Yuge Fire Festival in Ryuo. Can you tell what this is?
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Also this string hung up here?
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Path to Kobiyoshi Shrine.
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In front of the Haiden Hall were small torches.
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Small torches in front of the Haiden.
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Kobiyoshi Shrine's Honden main hall.
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Getting darker.
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Farm land next to the shrine. Notice the giant torches on the right.
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Behind Kobiyoshi Shrine is the Hino River. Nice place to sit and have a bento dinner.
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Torii and lantern-lined path to Kobiyoshi Shrine.
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Torii of Kobiyoshi Shrine and giant torches in the distance, Ryuo, Shiga Prefecture.
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Torii of Kobiyoshi Shrine and giant torches in the distance for Yuge Fire Festival.
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Giant torches stand ready.
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At 7:30 pm, the children's mikoshi and a large taiko drum left the shrine to parade around the neighborhood.
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Children's mikoshi. This was on May 1, 2010 and it was an unusually chilly evening.
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Glad to see them return because the fun wouldn't begin until they got back at around 8:50 pm. It was pretty cold that night.
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Children's mikoshi return to the shrine.
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Then at 9 pm, they first lit the small torches in front of the Haiden. And they threw numerous flares high into the air, sometimes landing on the crowd. (Women screaming.)
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They also popped numerous firecrackers. Almost like Chinese New Year's. So much that it was irritating.
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Watch out for them flares.
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Then they lit everything else.
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Yes, it's Doraemon as fireworks. This lasted briefly before it snuffed out. I heard that they have this every year for this Yuge Fire Festival.
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Shooting fireworks.
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Niagara Falls fireworks were lit up. Remember that string that was hung across the poles?
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Niagara Falls fireworks changed color.
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At the same time as Niagara Falls, they lit the two giant torches. It was hard to watch both the Niagara Falls and giant torches at the same time. But Niagara soon petered out.
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They were doused with kerosene so they burned up quickly.
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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They also had big sky fireworks. I couldn't believe how a little rural shrine could afford to display so much fireworks. And there weren't that many people watching either.
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It was great though. Highly recommend seeing this. Had to catch a taxi back to Omi-Hachiman which cost around 1600 yen.
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My YouTube video of the Yuge Fire Festival in 2010.
   
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