Just as its name implies, Akakura Onsen in Mogami, Yamagata Prefecture, is known for its onsen (hot springs). However, that isn't all it has to offer. This Saturday, the resort town will light up a towering bonfire near Akakura Yukemuri Hall to pray for safe homes and prosperous businesses. The fire is ignited by torches wielded by men wearing nothing but white loincloths.
The bonfire will be set ablaze at 7 p.m. Feel free to bring along any old new year decorations to toss into the fire. Concurrently, the town will also hold tori-oi (rituals to shoo away pesky birds), which also features torch-bearing men roaming down the streets at a brisk pace. (Yuki Yamauchi)