Some 5,000 men burst through the gates of Nishinomiya Shrine in Hyogo Prefecture at 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning and raced 230 meters toward the shrine's main hall with the frontrunners attempting to capture the title of fuku-otoko (Lucky Man).
It was the first time the annual event was held since 2020 due to the coronavirus. In 2021 and 2022, participants walked instead of running.
The New Year ceremony, which has been held since the Edo period, is associated with Ebisu, a god of prosperous business. The first three participants to reach the main gates are considered Japan's luckiest men for the year.
The lucky runner who took first place was Ryota Uemoto, a 22-year-old baseball player from Kobe, and currently a fourth-year student at the Osaka University of Commerce.
Among the prizes Uemoto received were a barrel of sake and rice.© Japan Today