Out-of-the-way, small town Okabe is world-famous for this unique fireworks, Ohryusei often nicknamed as "bamboo rocket festival" in English. The festival that entails this rocket-launching style fireworks is held in mid October every other year. The next fireworks will fall on October 20, 2012. You can see the one-hour-long video on 2008 event at Nagayamon area of Gyokuro-no-Sato. Just ask the clerk "Ryusei-no-bideo Onegaishimasu (Ryusei fireworks video, please)" then the clerk will gladly show you the vid. Not only the way the fireworks are launched but the firework appeal lies in how fantastically fireworks unfolds. Each firework groups have different ways to unfold and that's very amusing to see. Dairyusei dates back to even sengoku era during late 16th century. Rocket was developed in China during 10th century and used as a firearm. During Sengoku Period in 16th century it was used as a way to send warning signals. Ohryusei was originally a warning signal used by Imagawa Clan during 16th century and later it was developed as fireworks. Ohryusei fireworks are quite unique and only five places in Japan such as Kusanagi(Shizuoka), Maibara(Shiga) and Chichibu(Saitama) remain even today. The photos are taken on October 20, 2012.
**Next Ohryusei festival will be held in October 2014.
Koshin(Gengshen) is the 57th day of every sexagenery cycle. The tradition of keeping awake during the Koshin(Gengshen) day to prevent cadaver worms living inside the body from reporting the host's bad deeds to the Shangdi(Jade Emperor better known as EMMA DAIOU, Supreme deity governing heaven) was said to have come from Chinese Taoism beliefs introduced to Japan during 8th century. Koshin beliefs was later incorporated into Buddhism. Koshin day was also used as the meeting opportunity for farmers for deeper communication, and exchanging information. When the year of seven koshin days which is believed to have some famines, disasters, or revolutions, there is a special ceremony organized by the family in charge and rectangular pillers are set up. The photo is Koshin stone monument at Higashinoya erected in 1778 along the Yamanobe Trail.
Dairabou is one of the name variations of Daidarabocchi which appears in Japanese mythology accounting for how major landforms of Japan were created. According to the legend, the giant carried a quite a large amount of soil from what is now Lake Biwa or Kofu Basin to build Mount Fuji. While the giant was carrying the soils from Lake Biwa the giant made a brief stop at the moutaintop area of Dairabou and the depression at the summit is the footprint of his left foot made at the time. The giant is also attributed to the cause of Mount Tsukuba being divided into two peaks. The legend of the giant can be seen almost any parts of Japan.
On the same day I climbed Mount Takakusa, there was an autumn festival at Miwa Shrine where I started the hike. Autumn festival is held at the shrine on the third Saturday and Sunday in October. On that festival day the shrine has a lot of local visitors. There are some flea markets around the shrine and children perform the Shinto dance of Urayasu-no-Mai.
#To Learn more about Urayasu-no-Mai, see
Encyclopedia of Shinto: Miko and Their Dance(Urayasu-no-Mai)