Oma is Having the Big Catch Prayer Festival and Holding the Tenpi Procession on Marine Day, July 16th!
The people of Oma are conducting their annual ritual to ensure safety on the seas and a good catch of tuna for everyone to enjoy. For more than 300 years, Oma Town has worshiped the Goddess, Mazu. Wouldn’t you like to see the way we do our procession? Oma is just 90 minutes away from Hakodate.
Time and Date: Monday, July 16 2018 (Marine Day)
11:30 AM: Procession begins in front of the shrine and heads throughout Oma Town
1:30 PM Return to shrine (mochi throwing event immediately afterward)
*Events may start 10-30 minutes early, so please try to arrive early if you would like to watch or participate.
*The procession will be cancelled if it rains.
●What is Tenpi?
Also known as Mazu (Maso in Japanese), Tenpi is a Maritime Sea Goddess worshiped in China, and various places in Southeast Asia. Oma is the only place in the Tohoku region of Japan to hold this special ritual; there are also similar festivals in other areas like Taiwan that even the heads of state attend and participate in.
●Marine Day’s Big Catch Prayer Festival and Tenpi Procession Course of Events
Starting in front of Inari Shrine, boats set off from Oma Port into the open sea at 9AM, while traditional festival music plays. A talisman purified by sake as an offering to the gods is lowered into the sea in a special ceremony, praying for a good yield of fish. After the talisman ceremony, the Tenpi Procession heads out from the front of the shrine at around 11:30.
The procession heads around the town, accompanied by guardian spirits in extravagant clothes, students from Oma performing dragon dances, and of course no such celebration would be complete without the sounds of firecrackers as well. The procession returns to the shrine at around 1PM.
After that is the mochi throwing event!
There are final prayers after the procession returns, ending the festival.