One of the three major fire festivals of Japan, the Sukagawa Taimatsu Akashi is a tradition with over 420 years of history. It is said to have originated when locals first mourned the lives of the many people who died during Masamune Date's (the military commander of current day Miyagi, Yamagata and Fukushima Prefectures) attack on the local Sukagawa Castle in 1589. On the day of the festival, a massive torch, with a length of 10 meters and a weight of 3 tons, is carried through the city by roughly 150 vigorous local youth, all the way to Mt. Goro. Then, while the sound of bold taiko drums echo through the night, nearly 30 massive torches are lit one by one, filling the Autumn night sky in soul-stirring flames, as witnesses of the beautiful and solemn sight are overwhelmed.
The massive torch used in the festival is 10 meters long and weighs 3 tons. Approx. 150 young and strong locals put their strength together to heave this giant load through the city for a most spectacular parade. If you are healthy and between the age of a high school student and 40 years of age, anyone can help carry the torch. If you would like to participate, contact the festival committee office before hand.
Besides the giant torch parade, there is also a small torch procession and a corner for making your own torches, that any one can join in freely.
The highlight of the festival starts around 6:30pm. Giant torches are lit one by one as the sound of drums echo through the still and darkening sky. The massive pillars of flames can reach up to 10m in height and burn so profoundly you are sure to lose your breath. With prayers for the souls that lost their lives during the warring age, and with gratitude in heart for their ancestors, the locals are dear to this local tradition, a great example of Japanese mentality that you must not miss.
Please be careful of burning ash around the torches.
Use of drones is prohibited.
The areas around the venue can become very crowded so please be sure to respect the no trespassing zones, traffic regulations and follow the directions of guards and guides.
Access to Sukagawa City
JR Tohoku Main Line, Sukagawa Station
Mt. Goro (Gorozan) (inside Midorigaoka Park)
Address: Area of Atagoyama, Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture
*There is a shuttle bus leaving the Sukagawa Station. There is a fee. 15min walk from the station.