There are so many bizarre festivals in Japan. One of these is the so-called Onbashira Festival which is held in the Suwa area of Nagano Prefecture every six years and often results in deaths or injuries. In order for people to experience the festival in a safe environment, the Tree-drop Experience Machine was made. It allows riders to experience the log-ride excitement with a group of friends.
The Onbashira Festival draws around 500,000 spectators into Lake Suwa which lasts from April 1 to June 15. This is considered to be one of the bases for demonstrating masculinity. It primarily consists of two segments – Yamadashi and Satobiki. Yamadashi literally means “coming out of the mountain” and is done in April. About 16 tree trunks with a 16-meter length are taken down from the forest and rested for a month. After which they are decorated with Shinto colors and dragged down the slopes by groups of men. On the other hand, Satobiki takes place in May. It is done by raising the new logs with the log bearers singing at the top of their voices.
The Tree-drop Experience Machine will allow visitors to experience log-riding at any time of the year. It allows three persons in the seating area in a long piece of carved wood. It is considered to be more stable than the actual log ridden down during the festival in order to provide safety to riders. But still, it has been made with lots of up and down movements to help riders feel the virtual reality of riding a log. Each ride costs 200 yen and is available every day, except for Tuesdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is located at the Onbashira Hall Yoisa in Suwa, Nagano.
This is probably the closest experience to log-riding done during the Onbashira Festival. Ride the slope and get into the spirit of the festival at any time of the year!
Onbashira Hall Yoisa’s Website *Japanese only