• Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo

Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival

Sukagawa


A traditional fire festival carried on for 420 years where torch flames scorch the night sky

The traditional Taimatsu Akashi fire festival where 22 massive, ten-meter tall, three-ton torches blaze brightly in the night sky has been carried on for more than 420 years in the Sukagawa area. "Akashi" is the light of the torches offered to the gods. This is not a celebratory festival, but for the repose of souls so that the the large number of samurai and commoners who lost their lives in the war that occurred in this area 420 years ago can rest in peace. It is held each November on the second Saturday of the month.

  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo

Marching through the town to reach the peak of Mount Goro

The Taimatsu Akashi festival starts by carrying the 22 torches to the summit of Mount Goro. The three-ton torches are carried on a palanquin by groups of men from students to youngsters, and borne on the path with shouts from the group. The feverish parade proceeds with droplets of sweat from the carriers. When evening approaches, gods dwelling in the flames are delivered from Nikaido Shrine and residents carry small embers up to Mount Goro. At sunset, the torches and sacred flames are brought together for the final stage of the festival.

  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo
  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo

The climactic lighting of the fire flame for reposed souls to the heavens

The climax of the festival is the lighting of the torches. A lone man clambers up the one great torch out of the 22 torches, and the throng breaks out in shouts as the flames roar. The torches finally become massive columns of fire, scorching the night sky with scattering sparks. The appeal of the Taimatsu Akashi Festival is that although it is a feverish spectacle, it has a strangely calming effect on onlookers. Watching the brightly burning flames calls to mind the noble lives lost on this land. Watching one of the three largest fire festivals in Japan is sure to make you want to carry the palanquin the next time.

  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo
  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo
  • Taimatsu Akashi Fire Festival's photo

For reference

  • Address
    Kuriyasawa, Sukagawa-shi, Fukushima-ken
  • Telephone
    0248-88-9144 (Sukagawa Tourist Association)
  • Hours
    1:00 to 9:00 p.m. (great torch is lit around 6:30 p.m.)
  • Held
    Second Saturday in November
  • Recommended season
    Second Saturday in November
  • Website

Access

Fukushima Airport is a one hour flight from Itami Airport.
Fukushima Airport is a one hour 20 minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
Take the limousine bus from Fukushima Airport to Aizuwakamatsu (40 min)
  • and get off at Koriyama Station. At JR Koriyama Station, transfer to the Tohoku Main Line and get off at Sukagawa Station (10 min).
The walk from Sukagawa Station to Mount Goro takes 15 minutes.

Map

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