Hanamaki Souminsai

A Shinto purification festival to bring in the new year

By Malcome Larcens    - 1 min read
Venue: Koshio Shrine When: Early Jan 2021

The Hanamaki Souminsai is held every year on January 2nd at the Koshio shrine on Mount Koshio.

It's a purification festival for the new year, it starts by making mochi (rice cake) and getting blessings from the local Shinto priest. After that, the participants walk up the mountain holding a torch and a blessing in their mouth to give them more determination.

Hanamaki Souminsai in video

The event finishes with the participants fighting over a pouch, a good luck bag. The fight can last over an hour and is extremely fierce, many participants end up badly bruised up. The winner is said to have a prosperous year.

Getting there

Koshio Shrine is located just a few minutes from Shin-Hanamaki Station. Also accessible by the Kamaishi line from Hanamaki Station.

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Malcome Larcens

Malcome Larcens @malcome.larcens

I grew up in Quebec, Canada and studied electronics in college, never worked in that field. Moved to Vancouver in the early 80's where I found my real passion, cooking. I ran my own restaurant for 14 years after that worked as a financial advisor for 4 years, I really enjoyed that too but we had to move to Japan for family reasons. After moving to Japan I started teaching English and French. I enjoy teaching too but most of all I enjoy challenges, moving here was challenging but really interesting. Another challenge that I had been thinking about for about 20 years was renovating a house, so for the last 2 years that is what I have been doing. I bought a 25 year old house and am bringing it to modern standards in terms of comfort and earthquake strength. In my time off I like cycling, hiking and snowboarding in winter. Of course I still enjoy cooking. Hope you like my articles.

Join the discussion

Kim B a month ago
Elena Lisina a month ago
Brave men!!! WOW! Traditions in Japan are amazing!
Elena Lisina a month ago
Great! I prefer warm time of a year for travelling as I live in a cold place. We have snow and temperatures below zero half a year! Some people dive in ice holes on the holiday of Christening even if it's -20C! :)
Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu 4 years ago
Wow! Don't they feel cold at all?
Victoria Vlisides 4 years ago
Wow!!!! This would be amazing to watch in person!!
Malcome Larcens Author 4 years ago
I was fully dressed and felt cold. This year wasn't cold compared to other years that I've watched it. This year there was a participant from France, he looked over 60 years old, he came specifically for that. I can't imagine taking part in it myself.