For more than 300 hundreds years locals have been gathering at dawn on November 2nd , in the vicinity of Hachiman Shrine. Dressed-up with ceremonial outfits, spearmen onagae御長柄, gunpowder squadrons teppodai 鉄砲隊and 3 sacred horses perform a 7km long parade along the castle town and the banks of the river, accommodating their walking cadence to the tempo of the taiko drums
Three portable shrines (hōren 鳳輦) imbued with the spirit of Hajiman deities are carried along the city, imploring for safety and wealth. The roots of this jubilee are to be found on the daimyos’ sendoff ceremony upon departure to the capital Edo, a biannual occurrence during the two centuries in which the alternate attendance (sankinkōtai 参勤交代) system was in place.
Nowadays, local elementary school kids and volunteers prepare all year round and happily perform this thanksgiving parade, bringing notes of colour and past splendor to Ozu’s old town.