Sakaki Matsuri 榊祭り Nagano (Aug.)
Sakaki Matsuri has been passed down since the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573). It is a traditional fire matsuri of Mochizuki-juku, a rest station on the old Nakasendo Road. With fire and sakaki, a sacred evergreen tree, all that is unclean is exorcised and purified, and people pray for bumper crop harvests and good health. People run down the mountain holding burning pine torches, which sway in the dark night, and throw them in the Kakuma River. This creates an illusory spectacle. The sakaki mikoshi (portable shrine) are paraded around the town while being vigorously shaken and crashed into one another. This is a fantastic fire matsuri, known as a bizarre ritual of the Shinshu region.
Kyu-Nakasendo / Mochizukijuku and environs, Mochizuki, Saku City, Nagano
Approx. 30 min. by bus or taxi from Sakudaira stasion on the Hokuriku Shinkansen
Approx. 25 min. from the Saku interchange of the Joshin-etsu Expressway.
Approx. 15 min. fron the Saku-minami interchange of the Chubu Odan Expressway