Ozu Onari Parade
A castle town spectacle of lords and vassals dating back to the 1600s
Destination Management Organization KITA-Management
Every November 2nd, in the city of Ozu, in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku, locals dressed in 17th-century costume gather at dawn near Ozu Hachiman Shrine. From there, they begin a 7-kilometer journey through the city and along the banks of the Hiji River.
The procession - featuring retainers, troops armed with spears and guns, and three sacred horses - accompanies three portable shrines carrying the spirits of Hachiman deities (the ancient Shinto gods of victory and success). As they pass through the castle town, soldiers march to the beat of taiko drums in a distinctive style that the parade has become famous for.
The Ozu Parade has been performed for over 300 years and has its roots in a ceremonial send-off for daimyo leaving the city to serve in the capital of Edo (present-day Tokyo). This alternate attendance system, which required lords to leave their own domains to live half their time in the capital, was mandatory during the 17th century. In Ozu leaving ceremonies of great pomp and circumstance took place before its lords boarded barges on the Hiji River.
Today this parade is kept alive by volunteers and local schoolchildren in the roles of its historical figures.
How to get there
10 minutes by car from JR Iyo-Ozu Station.