The last festival of the green season has finally arrived for 2019 and it marks the official transition from Summer into Winter in Hokkaido.
The Konpira Matsuri is the festival held for Konpira-ji, a shrine just outside the town center of Kutchan. The festivities held at the shrine during the day include the creation of a large bonfire outside the entrance and the ceremonial walking over embers by monks as a way to purify themselves.
The bonfire is a symbol of rebirth for the people of Kutchan and marks the beginning of another Winter in one of the snowiest places on earth. Locals often gather around the bonfire to reflect and write wishes of prosperity and safety to burn in the flames as a way of communication with the gods of the shrine.
A look inside the Konpira Shrine in Kutchan, Hokkaido.
After the rituals and ceremonies are complete, the town of Kutchan will come alive with one of the biggest gatherings of street vendors of the festival calendar. Food, games and artisan stalls will line the streets for all to enjoy as one last hurrah before the region becomes covered in snow once again as the temperatures drop.
If you're in the area be sure to head to Kutchan for the festivities from October 9th - 11th and take part in the last matsuri of the year!
Check out all the festivals that happened this Summer on our blog!