Perfect Weather for the Jigoku Festival

Noboribetsu’s biggest event, the Jigoku Matsuri (Hell Festival), is finished. Under blue skies and sunshine, taiko (Japanese drums) and a brass band played while others performed the traditional bear dance to welcome Enma, the Hell god, on his annual visit. The festival began on the main stage in Sengen Park, right in front of the Dai-ichi Takimotokan, and set the atmosphere for this momentous event.

Jigoku Festival Opening Ceremony
In the evening, the demon mikoshi (small portable shrines) paraded along the main street. The ornate Red and Blue demon mikoshi carried by local junior high school students. Even though the mikoshi are far too heavy for the youth, there were plenty of volunteers on hand to help.

Jigoku Festival Enma Float Far

Jigoku Festival Enma Float Close
Finally, the long-awaited floats featuring Enma appeared. The fierce figure was something to see, impressing spectators of all ages.

Jigoku Festival Demon Dance Group
Meanwhile, a large group of dancers waited near the front entrance of the Dai-ichi Takimotoan. They joined the Demon Dance on both days of the festival. Moving all the while with nimble steps to this traditional song, the dancers took 30 minutes to complete the entire parade route.

Each year Dai-ichi Takimotokan forms a demon dance team. Dressed in bright red yukata (cotton summer kimono), they along with the other dancers are a breath-taking sight. It’s easy to see why young and old alike love to celebrate Enma’s annual visit. Even Takimaru-kun joined the demon dance group!

Jigoku Festival Takimarukun
Good weather graced the second day of the festival and the Dai-ichi Takimotoan stage where a special taiko performance took place.

Jigoku Festival Drum Stage
Afterward, the demon mikoshi again wound through the streets until night fell. Colorful fireworks filled the night sky in a glorious farewell to Enma until he returns again next year!
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Dai-ichi Takimotokan, Noboribetsu-onsen, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, Japan 059-0595
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