Toyota-City Asuke Festival (Asuke Hachimangu Shrine Festival)
Date : 10/07/2023, 10/08/2023
“Ossa! Ossa!”—A true Japanese festival
As the fall harvest nears its end, festive cries of celebration and excitement flood the small vintage town of Asuke in Toyota City. A harvest festival—Asuke Festival—is held for two days with ornate, age-old parade floats pulled by sheer human strength as men dance atop with folding fans, shouting “Ossa! Ossa!” the Asuke equivalent of "Hurray! Hurray!"
The floats are equipped with wheels, but can only move forward and backward, forcing the men at the bottom to muster all of their strength to move the nearly two-ton floats throughout the historic townscape of Asuke.
Another symbol of this festival is the rifle brigades humping and shooting off 200 or so hundreds-of-year-old matchlock guns in traditional fashion at various points throughout town. The guns are decorated with straw ornaments the riflemen work to create for weeks leading up to the festival. Firing in fluid order, these antique matchlock guns announce the festival throughout town in a jubilant spirit not only of that year but that residing in the guns from years gone by.
On the second night, the festival comes to its pinnacle with candle-lit lanterns adorning the floats and participants exploding with a thus-far unmatched energy as the festival comes to an end until the following year. The traditional Japanese drums, the flicker of the candles, the smiling faces—Asuke Festival is the ultimate portrayal of a traditional Japanese festival.