The 12th Koshogatsu / Dondoyaki Tour

TSUMARI DIARYPosted : January 30, 2019

We ran the 12th of "Koshogatsu / Torioi Dondoyaki Tour" on Sunday 13 and Saturday 14 January.
Since Sansho House opened in the summer 2006, this tour has been organised in co-operation with locals and volunteers from the winter of 2008 for twelve years. We welcomed 33 guests including thirteen children, some from abroad. Local people and volunteers (kohebi) arrived on the previous day and decolated the space with ornaments for new year for the arrival of the guests. Local women started to prepare special meal with local ingridients.

The first day was exceptionally beautiful weather and guests joined the series of activities including mochitsuki, playing in snow, making chinkoro, torioi (walking in the village) and tasting special meal.

"あわんどり へんどり てんじくまでたちあがれ ほーいほい"

For Torioi (chasing birds away), we divided guests into three groups to follow differents routes wishing good crops this year. This traditional ritual had been ceased due to the population but we managed to bring it back to the village as we welcome visitors and guests and organise this special tour for this time of year. Children shared all the sweets they were given from local families after dinner. Thanks to locals, participated children received so many sweets.

The guests joined "Dondo-yaki" in the following day. Volunteers helped local people to make "Sainokami (god)" using straws which was then decolated with new year ornaments and Japanese calligraphies brought by local people. Women and men of the year according to Chinese zodiac brought in Shimenawa (a Shinto straw festoon) of Shirakami Shrine to the venue where Japanese sake and small nibbles were served. The false god who always joined the ritual for the last 30 years turned 80-year-old and celebrated his last appearnace this winter before retiring.

It has been a while since we managed to visit every hosehold in the village as a part of Torioi and we feel grateful for the warm welcome by locals. There is always a room for improvement and we hope to continue to run this tour with gratitude to local council, local people, and volunteers from within and outside the region.

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