On 3rd January, two groups of half-naked men compete for a lucky 8kg ball at Hakozaki-gu Shrine. The wooden ball 28cm in diameter will be carried some 250m to the shrine in prayer for a rich harvest and a large fish catch. It is just fun to look at some 300 men wearing only loincloths chase a ball amid cries of "oisa, oisa!".
The men are divided into the Land Team, made up of people working on land, and the Sea Team comprised of fishermen. There will be a year of good harvest or a bumper catch, depending on which team wins and hands the ball over to the priest. The shrine is one of three major Hachiman shrines in Japan, and the festival dates back over 500 years.
Airport/Sta.Fukuoka Airport (about 3.1km) Google Transit
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