Seppetobe is a 400 year-old local rice-planting festival. Young men covered in mud drinking imo-shochu (distilled sake brewed from potatoes), sing the “seppetobe” songs huddled in the rice fields. They dance to “till the field”, and to “crush the pests”, praying for a massive harvest. “Seppetobe!” in Kagoshima’s local dialect means to “leap as high as you can”. The festival features other dances such as “Kama-odori”—danced by children in the morning, “Komuso-odori” and “Sasa-odori” followed by the parading of a large figure “Deodon” representing the area’s local deity. The festival bares a mystical touch even within its vibrant and exciting atmosphere.
Young men dressed in white, hopping in the mud in sacred fields—Seppetobe is surely an event rarely seen in other areas. They dance and sing to the calls of “seppetobe”, carrying 10m long bamboo rods from one side of the field to the other, while trying not to tip them over. Imo-shochu is passed around, and everybody drinks and celebrates during the festival. Another characteristic that is unique to Kagoshima where Imo-shochu is a famous local product.
After the sacred rituals, a large figure about 3m tall called Deodon leads the “Okudari” parade of mikoshi floats down to the sacred rice fields. Deodon quietly watches as the festival continues.
Joining the festival on the spot is not permitted
Participants must watch their shochu drinking.
Shooting with drones is prohibited, as of now.
Accessing Hioki city
Ijuin Station (JR Kagoshima Main Line)
5 min walk from Hioki bus stop on Izaku line, from Ijuin to Kaseda, Kagoshima Kotsu Bus
Address: 377-1 Hioki Hiyoshi-cho Hioki City, Kagoshima Pref.