The Onbashira festival has been known as the most dangerous festival in Japan. It is held every six years to renew the Suwa Tashia, also known as Suwa Grand Shine, a pillar that they have honored for over 1200 years.

They chopped down logs and attached it with ropes, and decorated them in red and white color, the traditional colors of Shinto ceremonies. After the preparation is done, the course begins with the logs dropped from rough terrain, and down the steep slopes. Young men challenge themselves to ride on the logs to express bravery, known as Kiotoshi (tree falling).

This dangerous festival activity is unusual in Japan. In the 2010 festival, two men died after falling from a height of 10 metres.

Even though the terrifying moment occurred, the life-risking festival still continues with their strong belief towards the god of kami-sama. As the police should take action, Japan’s government security prefers to leave the Onbashira festival the way it is to keep its own cultural identity.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.