- YABUSAME HORSEBACK ARCHERY
- Yabusame is a traditional Japanese horseback archery. Imi-betsugu Shrines is the only place in Oita Prefecture the ritual takes place. Every October 15th, a young archer on a running horse shoots three targets with arrows for a rich harvest and a good health. The sacred ritual starts around 4pm. You will be amazed how an archer controls his horse with his knees and shoots the targets.
- KEBESU FIRE FESTIVAL
- Kebesu Fire Festival takes place every year at Kushiku Shrine on October 14th.
How and why the festival started is left unknown nor the origin of the word “Kebesu” remains unclear.
The highlight of this mysterious festival is a battle over the holy bonfire. The “Kebesu” who wears a wooden grotesque mask try to put out the fire while “Toba” try to guard it. After “Kebesu” dashes into the fire, “Toba” who hold burning thatches in their hands chase after the spectators.
It is said that if the sparks fall on you, you will be blessed with good health throughout the year.
- SHUJO ONIE FESTIVAL
- Shujo-onie is a unique festival that celebrates Lunar New Year. Unlike most areas in Japan, Oni in Kunisaki are recognized as gods that bring good fortune. At the festival, monks play Oni by wearing special oni-masks and scare evil spirits away. Shujo-onie is held by two temples alternately: Iwato-ji Temple celebrates the ritual on odd-years and Jobutsu-ji Temple holds it on even-years.
- ONDAUE FESTIVAL
- Rice planting festival is a common agricultural ritual in Japan even though there are some differences to how to carry out. Morotasan Shrine’s rice planting festival is very comical. It is held on March 21 every year, the spring equinox. At the festival, local participants comically perform the series of tasks required to plant rice.