Dongi is held as a part of a fire prevention ritual. After the prayers and sutra recitation finish, the highlight of the festival begins. Men wearing masks of a white fox and Tengu (long-nosed goblin)—said to be messengers of god—chase children around with Shumoku (wooden hammer) and Yatsude (Japanese aralia) leaf fan in their hands. Children who have been caught get their hands and faces smeared with crimson red paint known as Benigara, soaked into the Shumoku. The white fox, red and blue Tengu all dressed in solemn attire appear divine yet slightly scary at the same time—causing some children to blubber and run in fear. The festival takes place at Choshoji Temple and its surrounding areas. A chase between the white fox, Tengu and children who don’t want to get paint smeared on them takes place all over the town. Dongi is a very humorous and unique festival, in which the lucky ones to get their faces painted are said to remain healthy throughout the coming year. It is also a heart warming sight to see the parents holding up their young children, trying to get them painted. Kids run around, some laughing while others in fear, or crying, yet they all smile in the end, with their painted red faces.
The expressions on children’s faces are also something to see. Them dashing out of the Tengu’s way, romping around everywhere brings energy and smiles to the entire town. Tourists frantically chase them too, in order to get these scenes on camera. Pay attention to all the children’s different facial expressions!
Access to Toyokawa City
Aichi-Mito Station, JR Tokaido Main Line
17-1 Kitaura, Shimosawaki, Mitocho, Toyokawa City
15 min walk from Aichi-Mito Station