This past weekend marked the second annual Hirafu Matsuri. Though there was a bit of ominous weather in the morning, the skies cleared by the time the festival started.
For me, a major highlight of the day was seeing many local restaurants come out and offer their expert cooking skills for the rest of town. As much as I love typical Japanese matsuri fare, there’s something special about being able to have craft sandwiches, beef stew, or smoked salmon and a beer (or wine!) in sight of Mt. Yotei with the rest of the community.
Events included junior Yosakoi dancing and flag tiggy, but the real excitement came after the sun set. First, there was a candy toss, with heaps of people cramming together to catch treats tossed from the top of a tower (photo credit: Glen Claydon).
After that, with bonfire in full flame, a local Taiko drumming group performed. It was quite the long set, and really got the blood moving – good, because it’s already getting a bit chilly in the evenings!
The evening ended with a fireworks show, and a large number of people stood around chatting by the bonfire later into the evening. All-in-all, a well-done event with all the hoped-for flavors of Niseko. See you there next year!