Onbashira Matsuri, Nagano

“The great tree of the deep mountains, it enters the village, and becomes a deity.” That’s the ritual prayer that was sung several months ago as a large tree was cut and toppled to the ground with a thunderous boom. Every 7 years a 200-year old fir tree, one that stands straight as if reaching up to the heavens, becomes the centerpiece for one of Japan’s oldest, grandest and most dangerous festivals: the Onbashira Festival.

“Humans can only hope to be this grand.”