Fire Ritual at Aso Shrine in Kumamoto Pref. Allows Outside Participants for 1st Time in 5 Years

The Yomiuri Shimbun

People drew fiery rings in the darkness, swinging burning bundles of rice straw during a ritual held at Aso Shrine in Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Thursday evening. Hifuri Shinji, or fire waving ritual, is derived from a legend that people lit torches to welcome the bride of Kunitatsu-no-Kami, a god enshrined there. It is one of the local rituals designated as a national intangible important folk-cultural property. Locals and tourists were allowed to wave torches for the first time in five years after a restriction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.