Carrying the Gods While Wading Chest-Deep in the River! 2018 Ohaseri Festival, Yabu City, Hyogo Prefecture

Yabu City: A Place of Rich Natural Beauty


Yabu City is located in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture.

The city’s charm lies in its rich natural environment. Hyōnosen, the highest mountain in Hyogo Prefecture at an elevation of 1,510 meters, is the only place in western Japan where subarctic wetland plants can be found, making it a mountain of significant natural value. The majestic view from the summit is breathtaking.

The terraced fields of Bekku are situated at an altitude of 700 meters. The sight of rice planting in approximately 130 fields, with Hyōnosen as a backdrop, presents an image of traditional Japan that evokes a sense of nostalgia.

At Hachi Highland Resort, you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities throughout the year, including mountaineering, hiking, paragliding, and in winter, skiing and snowboarding.

Additionally, Nagusa Shrine, located halfway up Mt. Myōken, is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The shrine’s three-tiered pagoda features carvings of four monkeys named “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, and Think No Evil.” The “Think No Evil” carving is particularly worth seeing.

Quoted from the Yabu City Tourism Association Website

Let’s Go to the Ohaseri Festival!


Location: Yabu Shrine

Date: April 15-16, 2018 (Saturday-Sunday)

Access:

  • 5 minutes by bus from JR Yabu Station, get off at Yabu Shrine-mae, and walk for 1 minute
  • 10 minutes via Route 9 from Yabu IC on the Kita-Kinki Toyooka Expressway

http://www.yabu-jinja.jp/xoops/ (Yabu Shrine Website)


The Ohaseri Festival, affectionately known as “Ohaserisan,” is an annual event held at Yabu Shrine that dates back about 1,800 years and is registered as an intangible cultural asset.

The festival’s origin dates back to a time when Tajima was still Namiami. The gods of the five Tajima shrines asked Hikosashiri no Mikoto from Itsuki Shrine in Yabu Town to open up Seto in Toyooka City. After a rich land was created, the Yabu Daimyōjin, as a representative, went to pay respects to Hikosashiri no Mikoto, marking the beginning of this tradition.

Additionally, it is said to be associated with the legend that during her return from a military expedition to the three Korean kingdoms, Empress Jingū offered “kudzu leaf rice cakes” to Yabu Shrine, and part of them were offered to Itsuki Shrine.

Quoted from the Encyclopedia of Tajima

The Highlight is the “Kawatogyo”!


During this festival, participants carry a mikoshi (portable shrine) weighing about 150 kg and parade around, visiting Itsuki Shrine, which is located about 20 km from Yabu Shrine. They chant “Hat-to, Yokozaruka” as they make their way through the villages.

The highlight of this festival is the “Kawatogyo” (River Procession), where participants carry the mikoshi across the Ōya River. The scene of carrying the mikoshi through the river, with the participants wading chest-deep against the current, is described as heroic and daring. After crossing the river, the carriers are met with applause from many spectators in recognition of their effort.

The festival’s climax is the “Neriawase,” where the mikoshi from Yabu Shrine and Itsuki Shrine are fiercely rammed into each other before each group returns to its home shrine.

 

For detailed videos, click here.

 

A Traditional and Unique Festival in Yabu City – Don’t Miss It!


Carrying a 150 kg mikoshi while wading through a river is a rare sight. This festival has a long history and is quite unique. Be sure to visit and witness this heroic spectacle.

Featured image quoted from Japanism♪

(Edited by 千八乃)

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