Neighborhood Onbashiras

Though 2016’s Onbashira at the main Suwa Shrines has come to an end, local Onbashira celebrations will take place across the Suwa region up through November. Held at neighborhood shrines known as komiyathese events are generally more accessible to visitors than their more famous counterparts.  The various Komiya Onbashira events provide a great chance to mix with the locals, getting a feel for Suwa’s culture and the cohesiveness that defines the region and animates its renowned festival.

There are a couple ways to approach the Komiya Onbashira experience. One is to sign up for a “package.” The following info is provided by the Suwa Tourism Association.

Hatsushima Shrine (in Suwa)

June 25th and 26th (Saturday and Sunday)

These packages include accommodation at Kamisuwa-onsen. From their materials: “Experience Komiya Onbashira, getting up close with the pillar, pulling and riding along with the locals.”

Inquiries: Japan Tourist Board’s Matsumoto Office 0263-35-3315

Kurumayama Shrine (in Chino)

September 25th (Sunday)

Kurumayama’s Komiya Festival is held at its mountaintop shrine at an elevation of 1925 meters. With a 360 degree panoramic view, it is known as the “Great Sky Onbashira.” Come join in the fun!

Inquiries: Kurumayama Highland Tourist Association 0266-68-2626

Packages aren’t strictly necessary, and many neighborhoods are open to visitors dropping in for the festivities (at least to watch. But don’t be surprised if you get roped into helping pull!) The complete list of local Onbashiras throughout Suwa is too extensive for this page. If you contact us with the dates you’ll be in the area, we’ll let you know what Onbashira celebrations are scheduled during your stay.

The following shrines in the Minato area of Okaya are particularly open to visitors:

Osaka Chinju Shrine

October 9th and 10th (Minato, Okaya)

Funatama Shrine

October 9th and 10th (Minato, Okaya)

Both of these could be taken in as part of the Kamakura Road Walking Tour.  On the 9th they’ll be pulling the pillars down from the mountain…if you get to shrine and can’t find anyone, just ask around and someone will point you in the right direction!

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