New Year Event Dezome Kumagaya – One of the many New Year traditions in Japan. Dezome Shiki has been practised since the Edo period. It involves a ceremony of firefighters with an acrobatic show, put on to simultaneously entertain the audience and raise safety awareness. It is one of my personal favorite New Year traditions and one to experience at least once in your lifetime. The event is quite exhilarating, particularly the part where the firefighters perform almost acrobatic type balancing tricks on wooden ladders. For more on what dezome shiki is about: a first hand account of a visit.
Dezome Shiki Kumagaya
The Kumagaya Dezome Shiki is on the 6th of January annually regardless of what day of the week it is. However, the event was not held in 2022 or 2021 due to the pandemic. The Kumagaya Dezome Shiki is quite different in that it is still a procession, like in olden days, performing at six different locations in and around Takagi shrine.
First a blessing takes place in Takagi shrine, followed by acrobatics and performances in the precincts. From around 1.20 pm the main festivities are at Kumagaya City Hall. From there the procession of firefighters move down to Kumagaya station at around 1.50 pm, in front of Tiara 21. They move on to Hoshikawa Street around 2.15 pm and, finally, the procession moves to the square in front of Yagihashi bridge, around 2.45 pm.
A file with the detailed schedule (in Japanese) and map from Kumagaya City.
Iruma Dezome Shiki is also confirmed for 2023, also for the first time in three years. For more New Year events including more locations with dezome celebrations in Saitama please see the New Year event category.
Event: Kumagaya Dezome Shiki 熊谷市出初め式
Date: Friday January 6th 2023
Time: 12.30 to 3 pm
Venue: Kumagaya Station, Kumagaya City Hall and Takagi Shrine. Takagi Shrine, 〒360-0041 Saitama, Kumagaya, Miyacho, 2 Chome−９３. View on Google Maps.
Access Takashiro Shrine
The shrine is close to Kumagaya Station on the Takasaki and Joetsu bullet train line also. Kami Kumagaya on the Chichibu Railway line is also relatively close; it is about a 12 minute walk to the shrine from this station.