Bongoya Rituals

Intangible Cultural Property designated by Nikaho City (designation on March 27, 2003)
Bon rituals is practiced all over Japan on August 15, of which Bongoya rituals is a particular kind. It is charactereized by the installation of straw-made Bon huts (Bongoya) equiped with summary altars to receive the spirits of ancestors. It is children here who make the Bon huts.
Every year on August 12 early in the morning, children from five local communities make five Bon huts on the Ohma coast. In the evening on that day, the children set up a big open fire near the huts and repeat the chant of “great great grandfathers, great great grandmothers, come here come here to the fire here.” Local residents also visit the huts to receive their ancestors. That is the welcome fire ceremony.
On August 15 in the evening, the huts are dismantled and put to fire. Children then chant “great great grandfathers, great great grandmothers, go home go home with this fire.” That is the farewell fire ceremony and the end of the Bongoya rituals.
The Bongoya Rituals here has become a rare kind of Bon rituals in Japan with temporary installations. It is also a precious tradition unique to the region, to receive ancestral spirits from the sea and send them back to the same.
Nikaho City Board of Education