Oni Matsuri – Experience Real Life Japanese Devil Festivity!



Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation


Can you believe, that there is actually a shrine that is associated with Oni in the Yamaguchi Prefecture? Oni is a Japanese devil or better known a troll in Japanese folklore. In this article, I`m going to share with you some interesting facts about the Oni Matsuri which takes place at the Kasuga Shrine in Hofu city, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Kasuga Shrine

There are around 1,000 Kasuga Shrinesin Japan, but the head shrine is located in Nara Prefecture and these shrines enshrine Kasuga-no-kami (Kasuga God). It is said that the Fujiwara clan who governed Japan in Heian period (794-1185) worshiped scared of spirits of God from Nara  Prefecture to this shrine in Hohu city in 1186.

One of the event – Misogi is famous at the shrine. Misogi is a Japanese Shinto practice of purification by washing body that takes place in January at the shrine annually. At this shrine, a heart-shaped cherry blossom tree is so famous that many travelers visit the to take photos of it, especially around March and April when the trees are blooming.Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Things to Do and See at Oni Matsuri

The Oni Matsuri is an annual autumn festival that takes place in the beginning of October. During the festival, boys participants will wear the “Oni” mask whilst wearing traditional clothes. They will circle the shrine and perform a rhythm on Japanese drums. Afterwards, they will visit the shrine and worship the gods to ask for peace throughout the nation and bumper the crops. – Niwa JinjiNiwa-Jinji translates into “Shinto ceremony” and takes place at the shrine on the eve of Oni Matsuri.

The history of this ceremony is quite long, over 300 years. In the beginning, a group of seven boys will perform the  “Dengaku-Odori” which is a traditional dance to thank the gods for a good harvest.  – ShishimaiThe “Shishimai” performance, is a Japanese lion dance. The legend says that if you are bitten by the Shishi you’ll find your happiness! There are other performances, such as the Mikoshi (Portable Shrine) parade and the Mochimaki event which is a Shinto event of scattering rice cakes for visitors. You can check the schedule below to help you with your planning and arrangements!Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Details and Access


Day 1 Eve of Festival

20:00 Niwa Jinji (Dengaku-Odori)

Day 2 Main Festival

10: 00 Main Ceremony

10:15 Karate and Japanese drums performance

12:30 Mochimaki

13:00 Mikoshi Parade


If you plan to go to the festival, head for JR Hofu Station which is the nearest station to Kasuga Shrine. From the station, you need to take a bus that goes to Amida temple and get off at Nogyo Daigaku Iriguchi bus stop. The Kasuga Shrine is 3 minutes away by walk.Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Other Places to Visit Around Hofu City

There are a lot of places to see and things to do in Hofu city! I recommend you to try these:

– Hofu Tenmangu ShrineHofu Tenmangu

Shrine is known as the oldest tenmangu (a scholar and politician of the Heian Period) shrine in Japan. It is one of the three major tenmangu shrines of Japan along with Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto. Over 400,000 people perform their worship there on a new year’s day. And it is especially popular with students preparing for exams because it enshrines the god of literature.

– Mt. OhiraMt.

Ohira is the highest mountain in Hofu city (631 m). It is a popular spot with an amazing city view. It overlooks not only the Seto Inland Sea but also Kyushu Peninsula at the top of the mountain, and there’s an observation deck. The “Tsutsuji Flower (Azaleas) Festival” takes place at the mountain in May when the 100,000 azaleas are blooming.Image courtesy of Yamaguchi Prefectural Tourism Federation

Closing Remarks

These days one of Japanese quick dishes – “Tamagokake gohan” is really popular at Hofu city. It is a breakfast dish where you put a raw egg on top of warm rice. I would say most Japanese have eaten it at least once in their lives. Although generally Tamagokake gohan is a simple dish, you can find various kinds of it within 13 restaurants located around Hofu Tenmangu Shrine. You should try tasting this popular dish during your travels around Hofu city!

If you need any guides to take you around the festival and show you even more things to do in the area, plese check below!

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel themselves a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or just want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should definitely try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Don`t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!



Japanese who loves writing, travel, nature and meeting new people. Have been looking for a pleasant place around world. Currently based in Malaysia.

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