Font Size

HOME > No.20, Feb 2020 > Oni-doko: Enjoy the Traditional Toyohashi Oni Matsuri (Ogre Festival) with your Smartphone and Cutting-edge IT

Oni-doko: Enjoy the Traditional Toyohashi Oni Matsuri (Ogre Festival) with your Smartphone and Cutting-edge IT

By Ren Ohmura and Akihiro Mizutani
Ren Ohmura and Akihiro Mizutani

Since 2018, Dr. Ren Ohmura (Associate Professor at Toyohashi University of Technology’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering) and Dr. Akihiro Mizutani (Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering) have been working with undergraduate students, graduate students, and local companies to provide a new way to enjoy the Oni Matsuri (Ogre Festival). While the festival itself dates back over 1,000 years, the project uses the latest technology combined with smartphones.


The Toyohashi Oni Matsuri, a designated national Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, is a festival held every February to promote a good harvest and ward off evil. Particularly notable is a performance known as "Aka-oni to Tengu no Karakai" (Rivalry Between the Red Ogre and Long-nosed Goblin), where the shrine premises play host to a battle between the Tengu, a deity of war, and the mischievous Aka-oni, with the Tengu emerging victorious. Afterward, the Aka-oni and his accomplices make an apology and walk through the holy areas of town while dispersing white powder and traditional sweets known as tankiri-ame.


Bathing in the white powder thrown by the Aka-oni and eating the tankiri-ame sweets is said to ensure a healthy summer free of illness. The Tengu also makes a separate trip through the holy areas of town. Their long journeys continue from the evening late into the middle of the night, and no one knows when and where they will appear. Until now, the only way to enjoy the Toyohashi Oni Matsuri was by viewing it in person or watching partial broadcasts on local cable television.

To allow more people to enjoy the festival, the Oni-doko web app was developed. The Aka-oni, Tengu, and their accomplices carry a GPS device, and the app shows their location on a map in real-time. The app lets users see where the Aka-oni and Tengu are via their smartphone, allowing them to follow along or predict when the Aka-oni or Tengu will reach their area. This eliminates the need for long waits in the cold night, allowing small children and seniors to more easily see the Aka-oni and Tengu and safely participate in the festival.


The app also lets people outside of Toyohashi enjoy a simulation of the festival. Those living overseas and past residents of Toyohashi who have nostalgic memories of the festival can now participate in real-time in what is called the world’s strangest festival. On top of that, many organizers used the app when making preparations at the shrine and other venues on the day of the festival, helping ensure smooth festival operations. In February of 2019, approximately 4,800 people downloaded the Oni-doko app to enjoy the Toyohashi Oni Matsuri.


A crowdfunding campaign to fund the app’s development was launched in 2019. The goal of this campaign is to have many festival-goers provide a small amount of support each to enable the continued development of the app. As a thank-you gift, supporters are provided with beautiful merchandise affiliated with the festival and the Akumi Kanbe Shinmeisha Shrine. In 2020, additional gifts designed by students were added, such as traditional goshuin-cho booklets, goshuin-cho booklet cases, and ema plaques.

The Oni-doko app offers a fun new way to enjoy a festival rich in tradition, with the hope that anyone can now take part in the Toyohashi Oni Matsuri safely and with peace of mind.

鬼どこ: 国指定重要無形民俗文化財「豊橋鬼祭」をスマホと最新IT技術で楽しむ

By 大村 廉 and 水谷 晃啓






Share this story

Researcher Profile

Ren Omura
Name Ren Omura
Affiliation Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Title Associate Professor
Fields of Research Ubiquitous Computing/Wearable Computing/Distributed System/Operating System

Researcher Profile

Akihiro Mizutani
Name Akihiro Mizutani
Affiliation Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering
Title Associate Professor
Fields of Research Architectural Design / Architectural Planning/ Urban Design