Omihachiman Sagicho Fire Festival
This fiery celebration takes place in mid-March each year in and around Himure Hachimangu Shrine in the city of Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture.
In preparation for the festival, the thirteen neighborhoods that once surrounded the castle of the famed 16th century warlord Oda Nobunaga, construct elaborate floats from straw, bamboo and paper – competing for the best float prize. Once the winner is decided, they are all ceremoniously burned. While the floats go up in smoke with sparks flying, men with made up faces dance wildly in close proximity to the flames.