Saitobaru Kofun Festival

Saitobaru Kofun Festival

The Saitobaru Kofun Festival is an annual fire festival held in Saito City, Miyazaki, Japan.

It is held next to the Saitobaru Burial Mounds, a cluster of over 300 tumuli, or kofun, that date back to a period between the 3rd and 7th centuries. Each tumulus has a mound, or funkyu, that contains a stone chamber and a coffin for burying the dead.

The festival consists of a torch parade from the Tsuma Shrine through the burial mounds, the lighting of a bonfire, and a traditional dance that tells the love story of Ninigi-no-Mikito and Konohana-sakuya Hime.

Ninigi-no-Mikito, the god of rice and grandson of the goddess, Amaterasu, met Knohana-sakuya Hime, the blossom princess and daughter of the mountain god, Ohoyamatsumi, on the beach of Cape Kasasa. They fell in love and were married soon after. But Konhana became pregnant in just one night and Ninigi accused her of cavorting with an earthly kami.

Konohana was furious and locked herself in a doorless hut and set it on fire, claiming the fire would not hurt her or their unborn child if she had indeed remained faithful. Konohana birthed three sons in the hut and emerged unscathed.