The port town of Tomonoura is located close to the middle of the huge Seto Inland Sea. A 5-minute ferry ride from the eastern shore took me to a beautiful island called Sensui.
Refreshing for the mind and spirit, the scenery at Sensui is stunning. Looking closely, I saw something colorful happening down on the beach.
As I got closer, I saw that there were a lot of fishermen and a girl dressed in traditional clothing on boats. The Dance of Benten and Ryuguh is is a traditional ceremony to pray for a good catch.
For this article I will introduce the traditional fishing event that follows the ceremonial dance. Known as taiami in Japanese, it involves sea bream fishing with nets.
The method of using nets to catch sea bream was first conceived in 1632 here in Tomonoura. As it allowed for large-sale fishing out on the open sea, it was nothing short of ground-breaking compared to the regular way of small-scale fishing along the coastline. This event was created in 1923 as a way of showing tourists the tradition.
After the ceremony finished, the fishing boats departed from the beach! The tourists boarded their own sightseeing vessel, and followed the two draggers out to sea.
Even the girl that performed the dance joined in her own boat! Here’s a photo I took of the great scene.
After a short while we arrived at the fishing spot. The fishermen on the two boats threw out a large net and the boats moved away from each other in a wide arc keeping the net between them.
They soon started to pull in the net while shouting the Japanese equivalent of “heave-ho”. When they had completely pulled it in, the boat with the tourists joined them, and we started shuffling aboard the fishing boats.
Just look at all the fish they caught! This is the climax of the event.
The fishermen swiftly grabbed the fish and spiked them for a quick death. The fish were offered for sale and many tourists returned home satisfied with their bags full.
The event takes place every year in May as this is the time of year it is said you can catch the most sea bream. Please come and experience it for yourself!
For anyone that wishes to try out some delicious sea bream cuisine here in Tomonoura, have a look at this article:
Tomonoura – Sea Bream Fishing Event
Place: Tamonoura, Sensui Island, Tomocho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Period: In 2016 it was May 1st – May 22nd (Changes yearly)
Time: Monday to Saturday from 13:30, Sundays and public holidays from 10:30 and from 13:30 (The event lasts about 80 minutes)
Fees: Adults 2,800 yen. Children (elementary, junior high school) 1,400 yen. ※ Price includes ferry between Tomonoura and Sensui Island. Other options such as advance tickets and group tickets also available. Tickets are available at the Tomonoura Ferry Terminal, Fukuyama Station Tourist Information, and other places.
Access from Tomonoura:
Take the “Heisei Iroha-maru” ferry from Tomonoura Ferry Terminal (623-5 Tomochotomo, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture). It takes about 5-minutes to Sensui Island.
Tel: 084-926-2649 (Fukuyama Tourist Convention Association)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
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