We were lucky to be around when Hamanaka’s Festival was on. It’s a little town festival to wish for a good year during the seedling period, so small that it will never be on any tour group itinery. We helped out with making the mochi, which was later on tossed to the crowd for good luck. I was expecting a gentle toss, not the machine gun throw of several hundred mochi being thrown at once!
My highlight for the day was the children sumo, where the wrestling is presented to the god or kami as part of the wish for a good year. The children’s age range from 3 to around 12 or 13, and it was obvious who the ongoing champions were as the weaker wrestler’s face dropped once they realise who their opponent was.