- 1 min read

Tondo Festival

Anyone up for a bonfire?

Venue: Gokoku Shrine When: Mid Jan 2025

In mid-January, dramatic bonfire festivals are held at shrines all across Japan. The previous year's talismans, ceremonial arrows, and lucky charms are burnt and people pray for good fortune in the year to come. In Hiroshima, these festivals are known as "Tondo-matsuri" and the Gokoku Shrine in Hiroshima city holds an impressive one every year on January 15th.

You can hear the cheers of onlookers and the snap, crackle, pop of the bamboo as it is set alight, flames rising above the rooftops. In ritual fashion, everyone gathers in a circle around the fire to watch, snapping photos furiously, gobbling up grilled mochi, and praying for a fortuitous year ahead.

More info

Find out more about Gokoku Shrine.


Join the discussion

Kim 3 years ago
This looks like a must-visit for those in the area!
JJ Walsh 11 years ago
I love Tondo festivals and bonfires- you describe it as a "pop" sound but sometimes those Bamboo bursting in the flames is a real bang that makes you jump! I love a sip of sweet sake and roasted mochi (pounded rice) that you can also partake of at these things.