Monday, July 30, 2007

Kanebiki no taki matsuri

My last weekend in Japan ended with the long awaited "waterfall of fire" festival, right near my house!
The Kanebiki no Taki festival is based on a local legend in which a Buddhist deity sets a waterfall on fire with a flaming arrow to get rid of a nasty red oni demon.

Hundreds of tea lights glowing in plastic bottles lit the winding roads leading up to the falls- a simple yet beautiful presentation! However, Jannie and I stood out as the only people wearing yukatas (even Kumi didn't wear one!) as everyone else decided to wear sensible shoes and clothes to hike up those treacherous steps!!!

There were traditional miko dances and awesome taiko drum performances all on a precarious stage built above the slippery rocks and water.

It was the most amazingly intimate setting I have ever been in for a festival.... People were perched everywhere, on the mossy rocks, in trees, on lookout points and benches...

Rightfully so (yet unfortunately), they had recently stopped setting the 40-meter high waterfall on fire due to environmental and fire danger concerns so instead, there were dozens of flaming torches and candles that gave the entire place a beautiful glow.

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