The Saiendo Shunie festival takes place in front of the Buddha image in the Saiendo Hall at Horyuji Temple in Nara. It is held from 1-3 February each year.
The final event held on the last day is called 'tsuinae' or 'onioi' and is the ogre-chasing ceremony. Two people dressed as Vaisravana and an ogre appear. Vaisravana holds a pikestaff and chases out the ogre, who holds a burning torch.
According to the 'Jiyô Nikki' ('Temple Records'), it is an event that began in 1261 and is the earliest ogre-chasing event of its kind in Nara Prefecture. It is believed that if a falling spark of fire hits a person, that person will be in sound health for that particular year. It is a festival attended by hundreds of people from the neighborhood.
Hakusan River includes the Nakatsumure and Okubata rivers. Its water is included among Japan's top 100 waters as well as top 100 village waters.
The ravine formed by these rivers features a rock called Hoge-Iwa, which legend has it was cut from the cliff by an ogre. There is also a limestone cave, something rare in Japan, called Ineseki, which is said to have been formed about 200,000 years ago. The cave took its present shape when the area was submerged following the erupting of Mt Aso 85,000 years ago.
Other natural features in the area are Ayukaeri no Taki, a V-shaped waterfall that descends through a continuous series of seven falls, as well as the 30m-high waterfall called Shikaotoshi no Taki. In summer, the appearance of thousands of fireflies makes a glorious view. The water is suitable for drinking. In the open space beside the ravine is a cenotaph bestowed by an Oita general for the attainment of the water.
Kijo Castle is a Korean-style fortress located on the 400m-high peak of Kijo. It is situated in what is today the Okayama Prefecture town of Sōja.
According to the 'History of Kijo', the castle is the origin of ogres, which appear in the legend of Momotaro. The castle is also believed to be the provenance of the same legend. There is a story that Ura, the prince of Baekje, came to Kibi and founded a country. Later he brewed up some mischief, and seized supplies as well as women and children to send to his country. As a result, people were terrified and named Kijo 'the castle of ogres'.
The fortress extends some 2.8km round on land of about 30 hectares. It is a perfect place for hiking, and from the peak, the whole country of Kibi can be seen.
There are several sites in the vicinity of Ki Jo Castle in Okayama Prefecture that are associated with the legend of Momotaro. Onino-sashiageiwa Rock is one of them.
In Kyuenji, located 3km away from Ki Jo Castle, are many granite rocks, each with a name. The most representative rock among them is Onino-sashiageiwa, which is 15m long, 5m wide and 5m thick. Usually visitors are astonished by its size. It is said that the name derives from the story that Ura, the legendary ogre, hoisted the rock up to make a shelter underneath. The crater in the rock was made when Ura lifted it. It is said that the name 'Kyuen' is derived from the shelter.
Yagui Shrine is located at Takatsuka, Okayama City, near the junction of the Chisui and Ashimori rivers. The four rocks of varying sizes in the shrine precincts are related to the folk tale of Momotaro, the Peach Boy.
According to the legend of the Kibitsu Shrine, these rocks are located at the point where two arrows struck each other and fell to the ground. The legend relates that one arrow was shot by Prince Kibitsuhiko, the model for Momotaro, and the other by Onra, the model for the ogre with whom Momotaro fought.
According to the legend of Demon Castle and the shrine's legend, these huge rocks were thrown here by Onra, while nearby bamboos grew from the site where Prince Kibitsuhiko's arrows fell.
Local people love these four granite rocks and the old legends relating to them.