The hyōshigi(拍子木?) is a simple Japanesemusical instrument, consisting of two pieces of hardwood or bamboo that are connected by a thin ornamental rope. Hyoshigi are used in traditional theaters in Japan to announce the beginning of a performance. The clappers are played together or on the floor to create a cracking sound. They are struck, slowly at first, then faster and faster.
It is also often used to signal the starting or the end of parts of festivals, especially in the directing of the omikoshi.