When: August 23 (evening), August 24 (all day)
Where: Oarai Isosaki Shrine, various locations around Oarai
The Oarai Hassaku Festival is based on a Shinto ritual that celebrates an ancient myth in which the Kashima god Takemikazuchi no Mikoto and the Katori god Futsunushi no Mikoto travelled north and pressed Omunachi no Mikoto, the god enshrined in Oarai Isosaki Shrine, to relinquish his land. During the ritual, people traditionally prayed for peace and a good harvest. Originally celebrated on August 1 of Japan’s old lunar calendar from Kashima Jingu Shrine all the way up to Oarai, it is currently celebrated by the priests and parishioners of Kashima Shrine and Shinmeirai Shrine in Ibaraki-machi.
Oarai Hassaku Festival has been celebrated since the 1700s, ceasing briefly from 1965 before being revived in 1998. The Shinto ritual is observed in Isosaki Shrine on August 25, with the festival being held on the closest weekend. A festival filled with the atmosphere of the final days of summer, it draws large crowds for within and outside Oarai and has a number of events and attractions, including food stands, floats, portable shrines, a dance parade with Iso folk dancing and samba, an exhibition of works by local artists, and much more.