“Namahage” is a folk ritual performed throughout the Oga Peninsula and surrounding areas. Each New Year’s Eve fierce demons known as Namahage visit each house to frighten misbehaved children. Despite their scary appearance, the Namahage are gods bringing the local people warnings against laziness as well as blessings for the wellbeing of their families and rich harvests from the mountains and the sea for the coming year.
The Namahage Museum introduces visitors to both the traditional and natural history of the region. The exhibition includes a wide variety of 150 masks actually used in the rituals of each town and village along with a video presentation of Oga’s New Year’s Eve Namahage ritual.
Visitors can have their photo taken in a real Namahage costume. The gift shop offers unique gifts related to Namahage along with demonstrations from wood carvers making the Namahage masks. Live performances take place sporadically each week, so visitors might be lucky enough to get a scare themselves!
The nearby Ogashinzan Folklore Museum offers performances of Namahage every day. Both museums are worth a visit to enjoy the unique folk culture of Namahage, officially recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage!