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
Notice: The dates for this event are not yet confirmed. This page will be updated once the official date(s) are announced by the event organizers. Please check the official event site for the latest info.

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 9 months ago
Elena Lisina 9 months ago
Brave men!!! WOW! Traditions in Japan are amazing!
Elena Lisina 9 months 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.