OUR GREAT SEPTENNIAL FESTIVAL
Onbashira is considered one of Japan's three most unique festivals. It has been held every seven years,at Suwa Taisha Shrine,for the past 1,200 years. During Onbashira,four huge logs,the largest measuring 16m long,1m wide,and weighing 10 tons,are cut in the mountains and brought by hand to the Shrine. The people guiding the logs sing kiyariuta as they go,and when they reach the Shrine,they plant the logs upright in the ground, one at each of the Shrine's four corners. It is believed that the place gets spiritually renewed by the raising of these natural pillars,as divinities are supposed to dwell in the trees. Kiotoshi,the sliding of the logs down the hill,and kawagoshi,their crossing over the river,are highlights of the festival.