Otebi Shinji お手火神事 Hiroshima (July)
The Otebi Shinji ritual takes place the day before mikoshi (shrine float) are paraded through the streets. The route of the procession and the grounds of Nunakuma Shrine are purified by Otebi, the sacred fire of handheld torches. A flint is used to spark the fire, which is then transferred to three torches 4 meters in length and 200 kilograms in weight. The torches are carried by around 150 local residents, over whom water is thrown. They endure blazing heat as they climb up the stone steps to the front of the shrine. On the day of the ritual, the sound of taiko drums reverberates throughout the area, and solemn prayers are recited. Worshippers take the sacred fire to their homes as an amulet for good health and keeping evil at bay.
Tomo-cho, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima
From JR Fukuyama station, take the Tomotetsu bus Tomominato route or Tomonoura route, and get off at Tomonoura bus stop. Walk approx. 10 min.