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.
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.
At Kushida shrine.
Tomyo at the historical temple Tochoji 【東長寺】
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)
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.
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.