Autumn is the busiest season in Tomonoura port town as everyone anticipates the big Autumn Festival.
The autumn festival is an annual festival held at “Watasu Shrine”, a supplementary shrine to “Nunakuma Shrine”, from August 11th of the lunar calendar for three days (currently in the middle of September from Friday to Sunday).
Oowatatsumi no Mikoto, a god of Watasu Shrine, is a god of the sea that many pray to to wish for safe passage on sea voyages. Since Tomonoura has prospered as a port city since ancient times, many consider this sea god the most prominent in the town. The local’s energy and enthusiasm is saved up throughout the year for this very moment, causing the even to continue late into the night.
The former 7 towns in Tomo take turns to host the festival with a rotating schedule. On the first day, the sea-god is willed to the on-duty town. On the second day, the Otabijyo festival is held in the on-duty town, and on the last day, the Kangyo festival is held to return the sea-god to the shrine. Lanterns garnished with parachutes are attached to every house in the on-duty town, and a curtain is placed out front, adorened with pine ornaments and paintings to celebrate the festival.
At the end of Kangyo festival on the third day, a float called Chosai is carried around the area to bring the autumn festival to its climax. Drums and three decorative futons are placed on top of the Chosai and are nicknamed the futon drums. Each town is decorated differently and competes with each other each year for superior elegance and luxury.
“Sa, Yoitona, Chowsai ~! Chousai!”
During these three days, Tomonoura town is full of enthusiasm. Join in with the locals singing and celebrating the festival.
Autumn Festival (Watasu Shrine annual festival)
Place/ Watasu Shrine and on-duty town (Rotating schedule)
Address/ 1225 Ushiroji, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima (Nunakuma Shrine, Watasu Shrine)
Date/ Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Mid September