The festival has been around for over 1800 years, and is a traditional practice that has been established as intangible cultural property.
The morning of the festival the participants shout "Hattou, Yogozaruka" and start carrying the Mikoshi (sacred palanquin) from the Yabu Shrine all the way to the Itsuki Shrine. The route is 40 km and the mikoshi weighs around 150 kg, but to the spectators the mikoshi looks quite light, and almost as if the participants are running which is why the festival is called Ohashiri Matsuri, ohashiri meaning running.
Today the entire route is no longer ran, and mid-way the mikoshi is carried by car. The mikoshi which leaves from the Yabu Shrine goes to the Itsukishima Shrine in Mitani of Yabu and meets with the mikoshi from Itsuki Shrine. One night is then spent at the Yabu-cho building and the next morning will be spent getting to the Itsuki Shrine. The two mikoshi then spend time mingling until they finally return to their respective shrines.
In the present day it is celebrated as a spring festival, but the ritual was originally practiced in December on sheep day, and the return back was usually the following day. From a long time ago, it has been said that the shrine runs like a sheep, but returns like a monkey. In the lunar month due to the severe cold, it became difficult to cross the rivers and in 1877 it became the festival of Ikeyama no Benten (presently Itsukushima Shrine). In the past the path from Yabu Shrine to Itsuki Shrine used to include Mt. Miharaisan and is said to have been a very rigorous path.
840 Yabu Ichiba, Yabu City