The Legend of the Nine Kanabo (Demon Clubs)

Hokkaido winters are a perfect time to share stories, and while the snow swirls outside our onsen, we thought we would tell the Legend of the Nine Demon Clubs.

In Sengen Park, just across from Dai-ichi Takimotokan, eight colourful demon clubs stand in a circle. The park, famous as the site of our Noboribetsu Onsen Yu Festival and some festivities during the annual Hell Festival, is also home to a geyser. Every three hours or so, the geyser sends water eight meters into the air. In between those times, steam rolls out as the geyser prepares for its next show.

In the park, you can find a sign that describes each of the nine clubs. Each one possesses a unique power, similar to the nine springs that can be found in Noboribetsu Onsen. According to information provided by the Noboribetsu International Tourism and Convention Association, the significance of each club is described using a system called Kyusei Kigaku or the Nine Star Ki Method.

The red and blue rods or clubs represent the red and blue demons that appear every summer in Jigokudani at the Oni Hanabi. Even though they are demons, they are good gods who protect the hot water that feeds our baths. The blue and red bars also represent good health and prosperity, respectively.

The black club represents business prosperity, while the brown one stands for academic achievement. Green symbolizes luck with money, and purple indicates fame. Yellow means love, and white represents family happiness.

However, many people point out that there are only eight demon clubs in Sengen Park. Where is the ninth club? And why, many people ask, do the eight clubs stand in a circle oriented toward Dai-ichi Takimotokan and the lower level?

The so-called ninth club, the Ookanabo, the large golden demon club that rises from the lower level of Dai-ichi Takimotokan’s Main building nearly to the second floor. (It is, unfortunately, not the real “ninth” gold club. The real gold club is buried and left in the park.) The gold club is the most powerful of all and represents the power and persistence to fulfill your dreams and ambitions.

The Ookanabo plays every day. From 7:00 to 15:00, it chimes once an hour, and in the evening from 20:00 to 23:00 it chimes every thirty minutes. As it plays, Momotaro and his accompanying animals as well as the demons appear. Their message for us all is to get along well and be kind to each other.

Please come visit us in Noboribetsu Onsen and see the Nine Demon Clubs for yourself and enjoy the Ookanabo, too!