大山夏山開き前夜祭

Daisen Natsuyamabiraki Zenyasai

EVE OF MT. DAISEN
SUMMER CLIMB FESTIVAL

San’in Good Thing Diary

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EVE OF MT. DAISEN SUMMER CLIMB FESTIVAL

Procession of 1,800 torchbearers celebrating
summer climbing season on Mt. Daisen

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Procession of 1,800 torchbearers on the
1.5-kilometer-long stone-paved approach to Mt. Daisen lights up the night

Mt. Daisen, at 1,729 meters tall the highest peak in the Chugoku region, celebrates a Summer Climb Festival on the first weekend of June each year. The highlight of the eve of the festival, on Saturday, is a procession of torchbearers from Okumiya, or “rear shrine,” of Ogamiyama Shrine. They proceed down a 1.5-kilometer-long stone-paved path to Bakuroza parking lot. This year the San’in Good Thing Expedition sent Captain Uchiyama and second-generation Captain Gohei Kiuchito take part in the event.

At 6:45 p.m., a service is held to pray for a safe climbing season and thriving business. Sacred sake is served to the participants assembled at the starting point at Ogamiyama Shrine Okumiya, bearing their flaming torches.

At 7:30 p.m., the long-awaited procession gets underway. Officials with paper lanterns raised high lead the way, followed by priests from the shrine, performers dressed as tengu creatures and sohei monk warriors, members of the public, and finally a unit of firefighters.

General participants range from local families who show up every year to tourists from outside Tottori Prefecture and even outside Japan. Anyone who purchases a torch is welcome to join the procession.

This year, unfortunately it rained on and off. Still, the flames of 1,800 torches illuminated the night on Mt. Daisen and flowed like a mystical glowing river.

70th anniversary of the festival, Japan Heritage recognition, and Daisen Temple 1,300th anniversary promotion campaign—a monumental and memorable festival eve

Mt. Daisen was the first in Japan to stage a summer climbing season festival. The event started soon after the Second World War, in 1947. This year marks a milestone: the 70th anniversary.

In April this year, Daisen Town, Yonago City, Houki Town, and Kofu Town were collectively designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as a Japan Heritage for “Daisen Gyuba-ichi: Japan’s Largest Cow and Horse Market Born of Jizo Monk Worship.”

And two years from now, 2018 sees the 1,300th anniversary of the founding of Daisen Temple, formerly a complex encompassing Ogamiyama Shrine. A promotion campaign is underway to create a buzz about the upcoming celebrations.

With these three auspicious events taking place at once, this year’s Summer Climbing Season Festival was even more spectacular than usual. The main venue at the end of the procession entertained a lively crowd. There was a full program of promotional visuals of the stunning Mt. Daisen projected on a large screen, a mini concert by musicians, and taiko drumming by performers dressed as monk warriors.

Other attractions, including a Daisen local cuisine fair and flea market, were thronged not only with participants in the torch procession but also with innumerable other visitors who came just to enjoy the shows and stalls.

Moments of joy are always fleeting. The Festival eve celebrations came to a close at 9 p.m., marking the start of another climbing season at Mt. Daisen.

{ Access }

  • ●Ogamiyama Shrine Okumiya: 20 minutes by car from JR San’in Main Line Hoki-Daisen Station

  • ●Daisen, Daisen-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori

San’in Good Thing Diary

List

EVE OF MT. DAISEN SUMMER CLIMB FESTIVAL