HOW TO: FIRE FESTIVAL
The fire festival (Dosojin) is a tradition that has been carried out in Nozawa Onsen since 1863.
Men who live in the village of the considered unlucky ages, 25 and 42 must participate in the event. They fight each other with burning sticks to light and protect the shrine.
The Nozawa Onsen Dosojin is held on the 15th of January and is one of the most well known in Japan.
Many people flock to see it, it is a definitely something that you wont forget and a must see in Nozawa Onsen.
There is a lot of free sake that is given out at the event and the locals encourage spectators to drink with them. Japanese sake (nihonshu) is quite potent so please drink responsibly.
If attending the Dosojin please have respect for the local traditions. Although the sake drinking is shared, the event itself is only for the locals that are participating. Please respect this by keeping a distance while enjoying the view.
For more of an idea of what to expect, watch the movie below: