Namahage Sedo Festival なまはげ柴灯まつり

Namahage Sedo Festival
Namahage Sedo Festival

Ringing in the New Year with demons for a good harvest

The Namahage Sedo Festival is a folk festival that welcomes demons for a good harvest. Held on New Year's Eve, the festival was designated a significant Intangible Folk Cultural Asset in 1978.

There are male and female demons, which you can differentiate by their colored masks (red and blue, respectively).

Don't Miss

  • The sight of Namahage demons dancing as they travel around the houses
  • The taste of the sticky sesame-flavored mochi rice cakes the demons hand out

How to Get There

This festival is held throughout the Oga Peninsula, northeast of Akita City.

To experience the Namahage Sedo Festival in Oga City, take the JR Oga Line train from Akita Station. It takes about one hour to reach Oga City.

Quick Facts

The current Namahage Sedo Festival was born in 1964 when the Namahage Festival combined with the Sedo Festival

The Namahage carry wooden knives said to cut off damaged skin caused by sitting idly by the fire for too long

Demons on your doorstep

Groups of youths dress up as namahage by donning masks and straw clothing. Carrying wooden knives and buckets, they dance along the streets, calling out warnings to naughty children and visiting houses.

When the namahage receive rice cakes and sake from the head of each family, they leave the house. On their way out, the demons promise that the inhabitants will be blessed with health and a good harvest in the following year.

Afterward, the namahage hand out sesame-flavored mochi for all to enjoy. Be sure to try some.

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