The construction of Onomichi Port was started in 1740 thanks to the efforts of Kakuzaemon Hirayama and it was this port that became the keystone of Onomichi's development.
The Minato Festival (“minato” means “port”), sponsored by the Hirayama Shrine, includes a parade and many other enjoyable events. Always well attended, it is one of the biggest events of the year in Onomichi.
Sponsored every summer by the Sumiyoshi Shrine, the Onomichi Sumiyoshi Fireworks Festival features the fireworks of the Hamadonya Group, which was established during the late Edo Era (early 19th century.) There is a colorful parade of boats and the air over the Onomichi Channel is filled with thousands of fireworks. It's a fitting end to a fun-filled summer in Onomichi.
This festival is said to have its origins in an attempt to ward off the plague during the Edo Era (17th to 19th centuries). Dancing to the beat of music played on drums and bells, young men wearing comical masks or a lion costume run through the city streets, chasing the children there, and hitting them on the head or body with bamboo whisks.
The children thus “beaten” are then said to be safe from illness or disaster for the coming year. Even though they may be frightened, toddlers are held by their parents and subjected to a “thrashing”, all in good fun. Within Hiroshima Prefecture, this festival is unique and has been designated an Intangible Folklore Cultural Property.
During the first half of May, yearly spring festivals are held at every shrine throughout the city.
Considered an intangible cultural asset by Ehime prefecture, a lion dance called Tsugi-jishi is performed at some shrines in Toryu, Noma, Hashihama, Namikata, or Onishi areas In their acrobatic performances, three or four people make a human tower by standing on their shoulders, in a costume of a lion, Shishi.
It is said that the human tower represents people’s wish to approach the heaven where their ancestors live.
Imabari's annual festival known as Onmaku is held in early August.
Enthusiastic dancers and cheerful songs, which were composed in the image of the medieval navy, vibrate the city for two days.
Young and old, people let off all that extra energy as they try to forget about the oppressive heat.
The climax of this event is the breathtaking fireworks display, near the end of the festival-definitely a must must-see.
The festival is held on the 3rd Sunday of October in the Kamo shrine.
Boys ride horses dressed in the appropriate style with the Yuzen printed futon bed duvet placed on top of the saddle.
The sight of humans and horses is so heroic, in harmony with the rallying call of “Hoiyer! Hoiyer! ” Shrine parishioners from the area cheer them along the road praying for safety of the family and food crops.
3Day March is one of Japan's largest walking meeting held in early October every year.
Participants walk the Setouchi Shimanami-Kaido which connects Imabari and Onomichi in Hiroshima prefecture.
A great number of people come all over Japan to join this event.
There are several courses of various lengths to choose from.
Participants can appreciate the scenic beauty of the Setouchi Inland Sea islands, while they enjoy the pleasant autumn breeze.
There are many old shrines and temples in the city of Onomichi. The Shichifutsu Circuit is a tour of seven temples with a particularly long and august history, and those who take the tour are given a stamped red seal at each site. Those people who receive a red seal from all the temples will receive another seal that marks the completion of the circuit at the final temple, and they will be given a paper wall hanging as a present. Take a stroll to get a taste of the Onomichi ambience while taking a relaxed tour of the temples.
Noshima Island, the base of operations of the Murakami pirates active in the Seto Inland Sea about 500 years ago, is said to be a natural fortress. Surrounding the island is a strong tide that can reach a speed of up to 10 knots. Visitors can experience for themselves the powerful natural phenomena of the Seto Inland Sea by boarding a small boat for the close observation of this tide, as well as cruising around the greater Noshima Island area, the Funaore Seto, and the Hakata-Oshima Bridge.
The Kurushima Strait has one of the three most powerful tides in Japan. The cruise ship for viewing the tides indirectly takes visitors to where that tide and whirlpools occur, as well as directly underneath the Kurushima Strait Bridge. That is a series of three suspension bridges, the first of its kind in the world. The cruise also sails inside the shipyard at Hashihama in Imabari, Japan's foremost maritime city, for a close look at the large ships being built.