Trip Ideas

Follow the Route of Shimosha’s Onbashira Parade

“If you want to see truly brave men, come to see the men of Shimosuwa fell trees and ride them down the mountains once every six years.”
Held every six years, the Onbashira Festival requires a variety of routes for the logs that are cut down and taken out of the mountains (known as “yamadashi”) before being paraded through town into Shimosha (known as “satobiki”). You will follow that same route with this course! If you have the time and energy, try using an e-bike to navigate the course.
(E-bikes can be rented at OIDEYA, but only a limited number are available. Contact them via phone at 0266-27-0001.)

total timeAbout 5.5 hours

  • 01

    Hagikura-ue Bus Stop

  • 02

    Yokitatesha, Hagikura no Oomagari (big bend), Kiotoshizaka Slope

  • 03


  • 04

    Suwa Taisha Shimosha Harumiya Shrine

  • 05

    Onbashira Museum YOISA

  • 06

    Great nearby restaurants

  • 07

    Suwa Taisha Shimosha Akimiya Shrine

  • 08

    Nearby Hot Spring Facilities


Hagikura-ue Bus Stop

From Shimosuwa Station, take the Shimosuwa Circuit Bus Azami bound for Hagikura/Machiyashiki (31-min. ride). If you have the time and energy, try starting from Tanakoba (the starting point for yamadashi), which can be reached by walking 35 minutes from Tokorozawa bus stop (the final stop on the bus).

徒歩 About 8 minutes
  • Yokitatesha

  • Hagikura no Omagari

  • Kiotoshizaka


Yokitatesha, Hagikura no Oomagari (big bend), Kiotoshizaka Slope

From Yokitatesha, the first checkpoint, on your right and proceed for 10 minutes. You will arrive at the formerly difficult portion of yamadashi known as Hagikura no Oomagari. Continue along the path for another 10 minutes to reach the most treacherous part of the yamadashi process, a 100-meter hill with a 35-degree decline known as Kiotoshizaka slope.

徒歩 About 15 minutes



Walk 15 minutes from Kiotoshizaka slope to arrive at the final point of yamadashi, Shimekake. Birch trees are placed around the Onbashira pillar so as to ward off evil spirits on the following day. A shimenawa (a holy rope of sorts) is stretched, and a period of rest until satobiki is announced. The yamadashi process is complete at the conclusion of this Shimekake Festival.

徒歩 About 20 minutes


Suwa Taisha Shimosha Harumiya Shrine

It is said that Harumiya was the first enshrinement location at Shimosha and many of the features are designated as important cultural properties of Japan. An ancient cedar tree is worshipped here as a sacred tree and every year on February 1st, the deity of the Akimiya shrine is welcomed here as part of the Senzasai, a ceremony for moving the deity to a new site. To reach Ukishima Shrine and the Manji no Sekibutsu stone Buddha, use the path through the shrine grounds.

Read more about Harumiya here.

Address :193 Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District

Phone :0266-27-8316

徒歩 About 3 minutes
  • Onbashira riding simulator at YOISA


Onbashira Museum YOISA

Located a 3-minute walk from Harumiya Shrine, visitors can experience all the charms and quirks of the Onbashira Festival through the movies and experiences available here. Take this chance to deepen your knowledge about the festival and re-examine the route you just took for an even greater understanding of local culture and traditions.

Address :166 Kinoshita, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District

Phone :0266-26-0413

徒歩 About 20 minutes
  • Una-juu (eel rice box) at Hayashiya

  • Delicious Kaisen-don (rice ball with sashimi) at the Sakae sushi

  • Drop by at Jukkendo-jaya for tea time.

  • Healthy lunch at Eric's Kitchen


Great nearby restaurants

Unagi (freshwater eel) is the best way to recover after a long day of walking! Hayashiya is a popular unagi restaurant in Shimosuwa. We recommend making a reservation to enjoy its delicious food.
Eric’s Kitchen, another great restaurant, is in a renovated, old private residence. The fun atmosphere of the restaurant combined with the quiet shopkeeper, excellent coffee, and fantastic ingredients makes for an enjoyable time.
Jukkendojaya sits nestled among a residential area, and guests can enjoy plenty of home cooking here.
Finally, for those who prefer sushi, make sure to drop by Sakae Sushi. Its sushi is out of this world at very reasonable prices!

徒歩 About 20 hours


Suwa Taisha Shimosha Akimiya Shrine

Akimiya is one of the four shrines of Suwa Taisha and enshrined here is an ancient Japanese yew tree. Some of Akimiya’s highlights are its kaguraden, a structure that is gabled on three sides and ornamented with a massive shimenawa (a holy rope of sorts), the nearly 800-year-old Neiri no Sugi cedar tree, Japan’s largest  bronze guardian dog statue komainu, and more! Many of these features have been designated as important cultural properties. Every year on August 1st, the deity returns from Harumiya shrine as part of Ofune Matsuri.

Read more about Akmiya here

徒歩 About 5 minutes
  • Sugeno Onsen

  • Sugeno Onsen

  • Yusen House Koyu


Nearby Hot Spring Facilities

Hop in a hot spring and wash away the fatigue from the day’s adventures at local public bathhouses! For just 240 JPY, guests can enter one of four bathhouses around Akimiya Shrine. Sugeno Hot Springs, a building with a retro feel and a history that spans centuries, is particularly recommended as a spot to relax.

Find more onsen facilities and footbaths in town here.