snake festival

The Snake Festival of Ohiroto is a religious festival on annually in January. The New Year period in January goes on for much of January. You can find hundreds of New Year events, especially between January 1st and January 15th. This Snake Festival is on January 10th annually, regardless of the day of the week.

Snake Festival

The festival is on at Ohiroto Katori Shrine in Misato City. It was started during the Kanbun era in the early Edo Period (1661 – 1673) as the Obisha festival. In recent years they fondly call it the “Jamatsuri”, the Ja for snake and matsuri means festival. It is a designated intangible cultural property of Saitama Prefecture.

There are different elements to the festival. It starts at 6 am with prayers to the snake at the shrine for the parishioners of the shrine to have a good harvest. At around 11 am children carry a snake, made from rice straw, around the shrine three times. They do this to ward off evil spirits and keep them safe. The snakes are then burnt in the shrine grounds. They say that exposure to the smoke will prevent you from catching a cold. They burn them around 2 pm.

Information

Event: The Snake Festival of Ohiroto 大広戸の蛇祭り

Date: January 10th annually

Time: as outlined in the main text the festival is broken up into parts, starting around 6 am, 11 am and 2 pm.

Cost: free to view, but it is customary to give a donation to the shrine – just in the prayer box, as little or as much as you want.

Venue: Ohiroto Katori Shrine, 3-14-5 Misato, Saitama, 〒341-0024. View on Google Maps.

Access

The Ohiroto Katori Shrine is a five minute walk, toward route 29, from Musashino Line’s Misato Station.

Another cultural New Year event coming up in Misato City: Dezome.

The information was up to date and accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publishing. Please do check with the official website for any last minute changes or cancellations. The official website does not have this particular event in their English language web pages, but the city is generally very good for providing information in English.

Editor’s note: this post was temporarily removed from the website during the pandemic as it was cancelled at least twice. I republished in on January 3rd 2024. 20161210. R20201210

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