Saitama City Dezome Shiki – Dezome / Dezome Shiki is one of the those truly unique-to-Japan events. It is a ceremony and festival of sorts for and by firefighters, celebrating the coming of the New Year. But it is also a way to heighten safety awareness. Firefighters put on an impressive show of acrobatic and rescue skills. The Omiya Dezome Shiki, or Saitama City Dezome Shiki as its called in recent years, is one of the largest in Saitama Prefecture.
Omiya / Saitama City Dezome Shiki
Dezome Shiki is held annually, usually on either the 1st or 2nd Saturday or Sunday of the month. The Omiya dezome shiki used to be held later than most, around mid January, but between around 2019 and 2022 they held it earlier. However, in 2024 it is on in the middle of the month again. In 2024, it will be on (all things equal) Sunday January 14th. Omiya Dezome Shiki is held in at the Omiya Fire Station, which is actually quite rare (in Saitama) – most dezome shiki are held in a public park, city hall or even a local mall.
Approximately 900 firefighters take part in the ceremony and subsequent demonstrations. They normally simulate a helicopter rescue for the public’s entertainment and it was initially scheduled for 2024. However, due to the crisis in Ishikawa, further to the earthquake, the helicopters are not available. Therefore, there will be no helicopter performance in 2024. There also may also be other changes to the schedule last minute. However, there should be dozens of fire fighting vehicles on display though. In addition, the police band are scheduled to perform after the demonstrations.
The highlight of most of dezome shiki, including Omiya Dezome Shiki, is the hashigo-nori ladder acrobatics, which take place at 11.20 am for about 20 minutes. The show ends with an impressive water jet demonstration at 11.50 am. During the period of the dezome shiki you can try a simulated earthquake of a seismic intensity 7, in one of the disaster prevention publicity vehicles on site on the day.
19 other dezome shiki in Saitama Prefecture in January 2023
Event: Saitama City Dezome Shiki さいたま市消防出初式
Date: Sunday January 14th 2024. Please do check with the official website, linked below, for any further updates. Quite a few of the dezome shiki were cancelled on the weekend of the 6th and 7th due to the brigades helping with earthquake relief.
Time: 10 am to noon
Venue: Omiya Fire Station 大宮消防署 訓練場, 1 Chome-893 Amanumacho, Omiya Ward, Saitama, 330-0834. View on Google Maps.
Access Omiya Fire Station
The nearest station is Omiya Station which is about a half hour walk away, but they have free shuttle buses from the number 4 bus stop on the east side for the morning of the dezome shiki.
Editor’s note: It was not open to the public in 2021 or 2022 due to the pandemic. However, they did have it in 2022 for invited guests only and streamlined it so you could watch it online. This year, 2023, it is back on site. Republished on January 2nd 2023. Last update December 28th 2023.