This festival gets its name, Ohashiri ("to run") from the way the omikoshi(portable shrine), is carried; in a way that it looks as if it's galloping. Locals carry it from Yabu Shrine to Itsuki Shrine, yelling the unique call, "Hatto, Yogozaruka!".
Said to have started roughly 1,800 years ago, the Ohashiri Festival began as a thankyou to the god Hikosashiri-no-mikoto from the deity of Yabu Shrine, on behalf of the 5 shrines of the Tajima region, for parting the young waters of Toyo'oka City and creating a fertile land. The ritual is still performed to this day. This festival is said to also give good fortune for a safe home, warding off bad omens, sickness and disaster.
Enjoy the so called "strange" festival of Yabu City that has been recognized as an intangible folk-cultural assett of the city.
Locals carry the heavy 150kg omikoshi roughly 20km from Yabu Shrine to Itsuki Shrine.
On Saturday, from 12:30, the event known as Kawatogyobegins as the omikoshi is carried across the river Ooyagawa. The men must cross the entire river, fighting against the current in waters that come up to an average adults chest. Upon crossing the onlookers cheer in joy. See this highlight for yourself and join in on the applause.
The climax of this festival, known as Neriawase, is held in the Takinoya area. It is where the omikoshi of Yabu Shrine and that of Itsuki shrine crash into each other, send one another back on their return route. Enjoy the Neriawase, a perfect end to an exciting country festival.
Picture provided by Yabu City Tourism Association
Please be sure not to obstruct the path of the omikoshi when viewing and taking photographs.
Access to Yabu City
JR Yoka Station, Sanin Mainline
Address: 840 Yabu Ichiba, Yabu City, Hyogo Prefecture
About 15min ride from JR Yoka Station on the Zentan Bus. Get off at the stop Yabu Myojin and it is right there.