Stroll the night of Hakata city in Fukuoka!! Hakata Tomyo Watching 2015.


This time, I visited for “Hakata Tomyo Watching” that is the 21st in 2015. This was the first time for me to visit this event. The night of the city of Hakata was illuminated with warm light of Tomyo candles, it was a fantastic atmosphere. Let’s get started introducing!

What is “Tomyo-Watching” ?

When we are talking Fukuoka, we are talking Hakata (博多). Fukuoka is one of the biggest cities in Japan, and Hakata is the most popular name in Fukuoka for Japanese. (I think)

Tomyo-Watching is an event to decorate the historical area of Hakata city such as Shinto shrines and temples with the light of 30, 000 candles. Tomyo-Watching has a modern twist based on the event of “Sen-Tomyo (千灯明)”, which has been done a long time in Hakata. “Sen-Tomyo” is the tradition to pray for the safety of the family that has been carried out until today at shrines and temples in Hakata. However, the tradition of “Sen-Tomyo” started to be faded out with the times. Local Hakata residents have been trying to convey this traditional event to a modern time, and also have made good use of it for the city revitalization.

On this night, Hakata area such as tourist spots, shopping malls, parks and even streets will be illuminated by the hands of local people .s-PA170824

Tomyo Art of Wind God at Kushida Shrine 【櫛田神社】

Every spot has different features of Tomyo art. For example, there is a pair of wood carving of wind god (God bring wind and rain to this world) and thunder god (God that causes the thunder) in the hall of worship at Kushida shrine. And the wind god has been drawn on the ground in the precincts of Kushida shrine by the Tomyo candles in this year.

An example picture of the wind god (right) and the thunder god (left). s-ce82de1131d323d222efd4062fe0f10e_m

At Kushida shrine.Kushida shrine

The way to the worship hall is also illuminated by Tomyo.s-PA170812

The ground picture that viewed from the side. s-PA170804 s-PA170809

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The ground picture viewed from the above. Can you recognize the wind god?s-PA170807

Tomyo at the historical temple Tochoji 【東長寺】

Next is Tochoji (東長寺)-temple. Tochoji is the oldest temple of Kobo Daishi, Kukai (弘法大師-空海), who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan. It was constructed in 806.s-PA170822

It is said that the Kabuki mask of a repertoire of “Shibaraku: 暫” has been drawn at this Tochoji temple. But actually I did not understand well what kind of shape it was. (Kabuki is a traditional drama of Japan)

Electric decoration was not used for Tomyo. Only candles in paper cups and paper bags that wrapped with Japanese paper were used. The candle fire was waving in the wind, it spreads a beautiful sight.s-PA170827

Tomyo of “Mother of Ultra” ? at JR Hakata station

At JR Hakata station, I was able to see the picture of candles that called “Mother of Ultra”. It is a character of Japanese special-effect TV series “Ultra-man”. Well, I watched that TV program when I was a kid.Mather of Ultra s-PA170831

I visited three spots of Kushida Shrine, Tochoji temple and JR Hakata Station this time. There were at least 9 places that the ground picture can be seen like those three, and there were a lot more Tomyo spots that were illuminated by candles without ground picture drawn. How about taking a walk through a historical part of Hakata night next year?

Tomyo-Watching 2016 information
Event date & hours: October 22 (2016). 18:00 – 21:00. (It seems to be held every year on third Saturday in Oct. Pls check the home page of Tomyo-Watching.)

Admission fee: None.
Address: Hakata, Fukuoka.
Access: It depends on which Tomyo place you will visit. You can walk from JR Hakata Station to those Kushida shrine, Tochoji temple, and some others. Pls check the Tomyo map when you visit.

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