NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


今尾の左義長 Imao-no-sagicho Imao-no-sagicho

Jp En

Imao-no-sagicho, also called Dondo, is a festival for burning old amulets, 'kadomatsu' for the new year, and 'shime' ropes in order to pacify the god of fire and bring about good health and harvest.

The festival takes place on 11 February each year at Akiba Shrine and is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Prefecture. Several bamboo trunks with their branches and leaves intact, are tied together to make a large ring 2m in diameter, 6m high and weighing 2 tons. This becomes the sacred bamboo foundation for the burning.

On the day of the festival, young men with make-up on their faces and wearing 'juban' undershirts and 'tabi' socks, walk across the city to light the bamboo pyre. They then carry the burning pyre all over the city while dancing and chanting.

The burnt leftover bamboo pieces are worshiped as amulets that protect against fire and lightning, while ricecakes cooked with the leftover fire are said to be effective against any kind of illness.

The Imao-no-sagicho is a festival that allows visitors to take a peek at 400 years of tradition in Imao.

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Imao, Hirata-cho, Kaizu, Gifu Prefecture 503-0321

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