A Bizarre Water Festival in Iwate
EN 100% Japan

In this episode, we feature a water festival, one of bizarre fire prevention festivals in Japan, held in Ichinoseki City, Iwate Prefecture. Its origin goes back to the Great Fire of Meireki 350 years ago. Because the fire was so catastrophic that it almost burned down the capital city, the shogunate issued the order of fire prevention nationwide. The Date family, ruling this region at that time, prayed for safety from fire, by encouraging people to be purified with clear water. In the water festival still continued today, 300 men who are likened to flames run through the town like the blazing fire. Roadside spectators continue to splash water toward the runners relentlessly. It is said that good luck is brought to a person who bathes in much water. The well-being of the family is also prayed for.

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