Demon Festival
Oni Matsuri

Feb. 10-11 (annual)

Akumi-Kambe Shinmeisha (shrine)

photo: courtesy of Toyohashi oni-matsuri

photo: courtesy of Toyohashi oni-matsuri

The Demon Festival has been carried on since around 940 in the Heian period (794-1192)
and was designated a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 1980.

masks of Tengu (L), Kuro-oni (C) & Aka-oni (R)
photo: courtesy of Toyohashi Onimatsuri

On the festival eve (Feb.10), it's started with Iwato-no-mai dance.
The heros and heroines of this day are boys and girls.

The main event of this festival is called "Aka-oni to Tengu no Karakai /
rivalry between Aka-oni (Red Demon) and Tengu (long-nosed goblin)".
(literal meaning of karakai is raillery, but it's totally rivalry)
The story performed by the red demon and Tengu has come from Japanese mythology.
A destructive god ( Susanoo-no-mikoto = red demon) appeared in Takamagahara (lit. "high heavenly plain", where gods live)
and destroyed the granaries.
A god of martial arts (Sarutahiko-no-mikoto = Tengu) fought to chasten and straighten him out.
Then all the gods felt happy and danced kagura.
People innovated dengaku performances, which soaked up this story, to a Shinto ritual festival,
and to pray for a rich harvest and prosperity.

Aka-oni walks zigzag (Zigzag walking symblizes lightning. Lightning is caused by Oni on a cloud by the Japanese folk tales)


During the climax of this festival,
Red Demon repeatedly provokes battle with Tengu, but is defeated.
He escapes from the shrine yard and runs around the town <photo>
scattering tankiri-ame (candies made from grain powders) and white grain powder over the visitors to drive out the evil.
Kuro-oni (Black Devil = Ame-no-koyame-no-mikoto of the mythology) fills the role of judge.
It is said that if you are showered with this powder or eat tankiri-ame, you will not get ill during the summer.
Lots of visitors are excited to get tankiri-ame and a powder shower.



Please confirm with each organiser before making your arrangements.

date time details
Feb. 10th

performed mainly
by children

8:30- *Ao-oni (blue demon) is lustrated.
10:00- *Iwato-no-mai (dance) by boys and girls. Ao-oni (blue demon) also join the dance.
*Scattering tankiri-ame candies by Blue Demon to drive out evil spirits

*Ao-oni (blue demon) visits specific houses in the town.<photo>
13:00- *Isuzu Kagura
15:00- *Shinto ritual called Hohei-sai
15:30- *Scattering tankiri-ame candies by members of Akumi-Kambe-Shinmeisha suppoters association
to drive out evil spirits
. <photo>
16:00- *Iwato-dance members and Ao-oni (blue demon) visits Dango-gu Shrine with Shinto priests.
18:00- *Ao-oni (blue demon) returns to the Akumi-Shinmeish Shrine.
*Festival Eve ceremony : Urayasu no mai (very popular kagura)
Feb. 11th 8:30- *O-Hinode kagura
*Ko-oni (demonlet) is lustrated.
10:00- *annual festival
*Urayasu no mai (kagura)
10:50- *Scattering tankiri-ame candies by members of Akumi-Kambe-Shinmeisha suppoters association
to drive out evil spirits
11:10- *Aka-oni (Red Demon), Tengu, Kuro-oni (Black Demon) and Shitenji are lustrated. <photo>
*Offerings are also lustrated.
11:50- *Demonlet comes in the main shrine
*Scattering tankiri-ame candies by Demonlet to drive out evil spirits

*Dengaku-narashi (in front of the Kessaiden building)
12:30- *Shinto ritual
*Urayasu-no-mai kagura dance, Isuzu-kagura,
13:10- *Scattering tankiri-ame candies by members of Akumi-Kambe-Shinmeisha suppoters association
to drive out evil spirits
13:20- *Omato no shinji (Shinto ritual to wing twelve arrows at the mark)
*Kuro-oni (black demon) comes to the shrine.
14:00- *"Rivalry between Aka-oni (red demon) and Tengu"/ "Aka-oni to Tengu no Karakai"
Around 15:15: Climax (Akaoni runs away with scattering tankiri-ame candies)
*Shitenji-dengaku, Pontenzara, etc.
15:40- *On-tamahiki no toshiuranai
16:00- *The enshrined god moved to Dango-gu Shrine temmporaly.
16:10- *Drumming performance in front of the main shrine.
17:30- *The enshrined god comes back home shrine.
19:00 *Demonlet comes back to the Akumi-Shinmeish Shrine.
22:00 *Red Demon and Tengu comes back to the Akumi-Shinmeish Shrine.


All the members of Aka-oni (red demon) group get together at Nakaseko-cho community center
and hold an openin ceremony.
Omiki means sake(rice wine) and biraki means to open. <photo >
procession of Aka-oni
(red demon) group
They carry offerings, tankiri-ame candies, Aka-oni costume and
shumoku with band music. <photo>
wearing costumes The costume of Red Demon weights more than 20kg..
Tengu also wears very heavy armor. <photo>
Keman The white rope decoration on the demon is called keman.


Akumi Kambe Shinmeisha (shrine)
TEL: 0532-52-5257

Get off at Toyohashi sta. on the Meitetsu Honsen line (48-52 min. 1080yen- from Nagoya)
or JR Nagoya Honsen line.
Take a tram bound for any direction.(150yen)
Get off at Toyohashi-Koen-mae sta..
Approx. 3-min. walk.