A festival held on 3 January every year to pray for an abundant harvest, said to have begun in the Heian period (794-1185) when the district was selected to contribute to the thanksgiving offering of Emperor Seiwa.
Men of the unlucky age of 42, dressed in red costumes, with daikon carved to resemble a phallus hung from their waists, walk through the neighborhood, thrusting their pelvises to the rhythmical accompaniment of taiko drums.
When the procession reaches the grounds of Niike Hachiman-sha Shrine, ash from burnt straw is swept up vigorously with bamboo brooms, as the ash is thought to ward against ill fortune if it touches the head.
When: Fri. 3 Jan. (from 13:00)
Where: Niike Hachiman-sha Shrine (熱池八幡社) in Nishio City (西尾市), Niike-chō Jinden 103 (熱池町神田103) and surrounds
Access: By public transport: From Nishio Sta. (西尾駅, GN10) on the Meitetsu Nishio Line (名鉄西尾線), take the Meitetsu Tōbu Kōtsū Bus (名鉄東部交通バス) bound for Isshiki (一色) to Niike (熱池) Bus Stop, from which the venue is a 5-minute walk; or a 12-minute walk southwest from Fukuchi Sta. (福地駅, GN11). By car: A 40-minute drive from the Okazaki IC (岡崎IC) on the Tōmei Expressway (東名高速道路). Parking available for 300 cars.
Photo courtesy of Nishio City Tourism Association