After a breathtaking hike on Mt.Kurama (both in an amazed and grueling way), we head into town in time to get a bite to eat before the festival . Gigantic pine torches are ignited as evening approaches, and men in white loincloths have yet another chance to prove their strength. With echoing manly grunts, the leader heaves a torch of megalith proportions and begins the parade that will last through the night.
The torches, more big than small, number in the hundreds.
Children shouldering smaller torches are followed by their enthusiastic parents.
Flaming bonfires and flying embers threaten to set the entire wooden village on fire, and yet every building remains intact, year after year.
Smoke fills my nostrils and my eyes burn, even though I’ve been trying to shield them with my hands.
The parade leads us to Yuki Shrine where families and tourists gather to worship.