Odate City, Akita - Cultural Heritage Introduction

Discover Odate’s History

Odate Daimonji-Yaki

Mt. Hoōu (520.6m) overlooks central Odate City from the east and is a part of the everyday scenery for citizens. A park lies at the bottom of the mountain as well as a reservoir with walking trails. Numakubo Shrine sits between Mt. Hoōu and Mt. Akiba. Many festivals and events around Odate feature Mt. Hoōu in the background.

Odate Citizens & Mt. Hoōu

Odate Citizens & Mt. Hoōu

To pray for the continued health and prosperity of the citizenry, a plaque dedicated to the Healing Buddha was placed on the summit in 1916.

The first written record of Mt. Hoōu appears in a text from Gyrokurinji Temple. There are two theories as to the origin of the name. The first states that a former ruler named the mountain after one from his birthplace, while another suggests the mountain gained its name from a temple which once stood at its base.

Mt. Hoōu and Daily Life

The Odate Chamber of Commerce held the first large scale fireworks display in front of Mt. Hoōu in 1952. 1,800 fireworks were launched to much fanfare.

In 1968 the fireworks festival and Daimonji-Yaki festival were combined into a single event and in 1973 additional events such as marching bands, folk dances, and paper lanterns were added.

The Daimonji-Yaki serves to put the spirits of visiting ancestors at ease and pray for the health of locals. Since 1968, the Daimonji-Yaki has been held every year.

Ignition work was carried out mainly by residents of the Mouchi area at the foot, but in recent years volunteers have become widely involved, and over 100 people have climbed Mt. Fenghuang on the day.

The 大 character that is lit on the mountain every year is the largest in Japan. The horizontal stroke is 120m long, the vertical stroke 180m, and the shorter diagonal stroke 150m.

Dedicated citizens spend all year maintaining the area around the character and work with younger generations to ensure Japan’s largest 大 stays perfect.

Since 1963, the local hiking club has organized an event for members to climb the mountain on New Year’s day to watch the sun rise. Around 100 people climb every year to pray for the health and prosperity of their family.

Mt. Hoōu enjoys a place in many poems and songs. It has been listed as one of the best sights in the area on several lists and is included in the school songs of several local schools.