Houze Festival

Hojo is a ritual of mercy in which captured fish and birds are released into the mountains and streams in accordance with Shinto tradition. This release is an act called Hojoe. First held in August of Year 5 of the Tenmu Emperor (677 AD), in Year 4 of Yoro (720 AD) the Hoze Matsuri was developed into a unique rite of Hachiman shrines as Usa Hachiman Hōze.

Among the 24 wards of the city, 5 play taiko drums, 9 bring festival floats, 4 perform the lion dance, 5 play shinto music, and 1 carries the mikoshi (shinto shrine float), with 12 wards remaining to enjoy the festivities each year, performing the ritual arts of ancient tradition. The elegant and splendid Hōze Matsuri has been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of the city for its status as Wakasaji's largest autumn festival. It is carried on by the spirit of the townspeople as a proud annual tradition of the region.