The Dosojin Fire Festival is an annual event held in the traditional snow village of Nozawa Onsen on Jan 15th every year. The evening begins with several parades and ceremonies as everybody gathers in the village square. The local firemen wander around dishing out free nihonshuu (sake) to anybody who wants it ensuring that the audience and participants are well primed. Eventually all the 42 year olds in the village climb up onto of a huge wooden structure that is contructed days earlier. Then things begin to get a little crazy. The remaining villagers attempt to burn the structure down, along with the 42 year olds while the 25 year olds in the village gather at the base to protect their elders. With all the alcohol and fire flying around its quite amazing that more people are not injured!! The 42 year olds are finally let down off the wooden structure and its then completely burnt in a huge firey spectacle that is not to be missed.
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is truly a snow paradise - a huge resort, with a great variety of courses offering something for everyone. From long, wide open runs that are great for beginners and intermediates to steep powder runs that will leave the more experienced skiiers/boarders grinning ear to ear. The super long runs of Nozawa Onsen also mean that you spend alot more time cruising down the slopes than sitting on the lifts. The back & side country tree runs at Nozawa Onsen are second to none. There are natural halfpipes, gullies and tons of well spaces powder tree runs to explore. Nozawa Onsen itself is a really interesting Japanese snow village with many beautiful traditional buildings throughout the town. Nozawa also features 13 free onsens scattered throughout the village and many of the buildings that house these hot springs are hundreds of years old! The free onsens are well worth a visit after a day on the slopes. Its going to be a fun weekend up in Nozawa - cant wait!!