Experience the Onbashira Festival in Shimosuwa Area

Experience the Onbashira Festival in Nagano, Japan

Nagano, Japan is home to one of the most exciting and unique festivals in the world - the Onbashira Festival. The festival takes place in the Shimosuwa area of Nagano, which is located at approximately 36.0567° N, 138.0550° E.

What is the Onbashira Festival?

The Onbashira Festival is a traditional Japanese festival that happens only once every six years. The festival is a celebration of the renewal of Suwa Taisha, one of the oldest and most important Shinto shrines in Japan. The festival dates back over 1,200 years and is steeped in history and tradition.

What happens during the festival?

The festival is split into two parts - the Yamadashi (mountain descent) and the Satobiki (village pulling). The Yamadashi involves teams of men riding giant logs down the mountain from the forests of Suwa. The logs are then transported to the Suwa Taisha shrine, where they are used to build new structures. The Satobiki involves teams of men pulling the logs through the streets of the Shimosuwa area, all while being cheered on by thousands of spectators.

When does the festival take place?

The Onbashira Festival takes place over a period of several months, with the main events happening in the spring and summer of the festival year. The festival is held once every six years, with the most recent festival taking place in 2016. The next festival is scheduled to take place in 2022.

How can I experience the Onbashira Festival?

If you want to experience the Onbashira Festival, it's important to plan ahead. The festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, so it's important to book your travel and accommodations well in advance. The festival is also incredibly popular with locals, so expect large crowds and lots of excitement.

During the festival, there are a variety of events and activities to enjoy, from traditional music and dance performances to delicious local food and drink. You can also watch the Yamadashi and Satobiki events, but be prepared for long hours and lots of walking.


The Onbashira Festival is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is not to be missed. Whether you're a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or just looking for a unique adventure, the festival is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.