Fushimi Inari Sep. 15, 2016 UPDATE
A fire ritual with rising magnificent bonfires at Fushimi Inari Shrine
Hitaki-sai Fire Festival
Venue: Fushimi Inari Shrine
November 8th, 2016
Hitaki sai (fire festivals) is one of common sights in November in Kyoto. The festivals have originated in folk beliefs dating back to the Edo Period(1603-1868) and at the beginning of winter, fire festivals are held in shrines everywhere in Kyoto. In these festivals, bundles of prayer sticks with worshippers’ written wishes are set alight on a premise as a holy fire is believed to purge away people’s sins and to grant wishes. Among these festivals, Fushimi Inari Shrine’s Hitaki-sai Fire Festiva...morel is considered most overwhelming in the country. Surprisingly, about 100,000 prayer sticks are sent from worshippers in every region of Japan wishing for their good health and prosperity. The highlight is the ritual of throwing prayer sticks into holy bonfires with flame and smoke shooting up to the air. A huge blaze is absolutely stunning and worthwhile watching! A great number of spectators from all over Japan visit Fushimi Inari Shrine to attend this dynamic Hitaki sai on the festival day.
Popular in Kyoto
Must-visit shops and spots for all first time tourists to Kyoto.
Top shops and spots loved by our editors and highly recommended to be listed on your itinerary.
Well Worth a Visit
Less known but widely loved by both tourists and locals. Recommended if your schedule permits.
Good for Fans
Hideaway shops and spots of worthwhile destination. Recommended if you are keen on these genres.
Very popular among enthusiasts on these genres. Not always suitable if you are not particularly interested.
The purification ceremony before the fire festival
After the ceremony is held in the shrine's main hall, priests and priestesses gather at a clearing where three heaps have been laid out. Next, the priests perform the purification ceremony, set prayer sticks in the three bonfires and simultaneously light them. When Oharae no kotoba (Shinto purification prayers) are being addressed by all the priests and participants, the ritual venue become cloaked in an awesome atmosphere.
The ritual of tossing prayer sticks on to the fire
When the smoke clears and fires begin to rise up from the bonfires, the priests begin tossing, throwing and scattering prayer sticks onto the fires dynamically. The priests also undertake cleansing rituals in front of each fire, using sakaki leaves, salt and water. It takes more than one hour to burning out all the prayer sticks with people’s wishes.
Let's join !
See the beautiful performance of Kagura dancing
As the burning of the prayer sticks approaches to an end, priestesses perform a traditional Kagura dance intermittently. The sacred beauty of the dance by the priestesses carrying golden bells adds a different color to this dynamic festival. They continue to dance until the last prayer stick is thrown into the fire.
Hitaki-sai Fire Festival
|Address||68 Fukakusa, Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 612-0882|
|Directions||A short walk from JR Nara Line Inari Station
5-minute walk from Keihan Railway Fushimi Inari Station
|Event time||The first ritual at the mail hall starts at 1:00 pm.
The fire ritual starts from 2:00 pm. The throwing of prayer sticks introduced in this article can be seen doing this ritual.
The Jincho-mai dance dedicated to a God is performed in front of the main hall from 6:00 pm.
|Cancellations||It is a rain-or-shine event.|
|Notes||Please keep yourself warm during watching the festival as the venue is set outdoor and can be very cold.|
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
|Friendly for Overseas Visitors||
As the festival is magnificent to watch, foreign visitors can fully enjoy the festival without understanding Japanese.
|Languages spoken||Japanese only|