A man died after falling about 10 meters from a wooden pillar erected for a festival at Suwa Taisha grand shrine in Suwa, Nagano Prefecture, police said Friday.

At around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Yukihiro Kusakabe, a 41-year-old self-employed man from Suwa, fell from one of the huge fir trunks that he and other participants erected as vertical pillars for the Onbashira Festival, which is held once every six years. Kusakabe fell onto the roof of a piece of heavy machinery 10 meters below after climbing one of the pillars to clear away ropes used to erect it.

In the festival, which runs from April 2 to May 16 this year, Shinto parishioners work together to transport trees weighing about 10 tons from a nearby mountain and set them up as pillars. During the previous festival in 2010, two men also died after falling from such pillars.

According to a witness, Kusakabe was not wearing a safety rope, even though such security measures were adopted after the 2010 accident.

The police began inspecting the site Friday morning and are investigating the cause of the accident.