Danjiri float donated to Tochigi town consecrated at local shrine

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hoshinomiya Ohayashi-kai’s danjiri float is seen in Mashiko, Tochigi Prefecture, on Nov. 3.

MASHIKO, Tochigi — Members of a local society consecrated a danjiri float as part of a ceremony at Hoshinomiya Shrine in Mashiko, Tochigi Prefecture, on Nov. 3.

In addition to “putting a soul” into the float, which was donated from the community council of Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, to the Hoshinomiya Ohayashi-kai local group, a ceremony to light lanterns was also held along the approach to the shrine.

Hoshinomiya Shrine was founded in 1225, according to Kota Yanagita, the shrine’s chief priest.

The lighting ceremony, which was held in anticipation of the upcoming 800th anniversary of the shrine’s founding, also marked the inauguration of Kento Kosha, a local residents’ volunteer group that came together to organize a festival to coincide with the anniversary in 2025.

The danjiri — festooned in lanterns for its unveiling — had been used by a group in the Yokochi district of Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, until 2019.

The Hoshinomiya Ohayashi-kai mainly comprises local students and their parents, and they had long wished to own a float of their own. The group applied to take possession of the danjiri after learning via the internet that the community council in Yokochi was looking for a new owner of the float.

The float measures about 5.5 meters long, 2 meters wide and 3 meters high. Its wheels are made of iron, which is a rarity in the region.

“It may not be brand-new, but our dream has come true,” said society president Isamu Kawasaki, 46. “We’re keen to look at the best options for using the float to help enliven the local community in the future.”

Junichi Suzuki, the 71-year old Kento Kosha leader, said, “The town is aging, but we want to use this opportunity to get young people interested in the shrine.”