TOUKASAN grand festival

Known as one of the three major festivals in Hiroshima, Toukasan is the summer festival
for the god of Touka Daimyojin at Enryuji Temple, Mikawa-cho, Hiroshima City.

The festival is also known as the Yukata Festival. Yukata is a kimono of lightweight cotton,
Iike a summer robe. People in Hiroshima are supposed to begin wearing their yukata from
this day on. During the three days of the festival, hundreds of street stalls with games
and snack foods appear along Chuo Dori Avenue, including popular goldfish scoop-ing, balloon
fishing, grilled cuttlefish and more. The festival site is jammed with children in yukata and
young couples indulging in kakigori, or flavored shaved ice.

Meanwhile, there is a parade of cheerful bon-dance dancers
preceding the coming of summertime. "Genroku Hanami Odori"
(colorful flower dance) used to be the bon-dance song, but
it has ceded its place to newer songs, including "Hiroshima Ondo"
(Hiroshima dance song).

Yakuyoke uchiwa, or fan to ward off evil, is sold as a Toukasan specialty at the festival.
Participants may be reminded of bygone days by the sight of little girls with these fans.

Today the Toukasan Festival is recognized as a seasonal event to let people know of the
arrival of summer. The attendance throughout the festival depends on the weather, but
averages as many as 450,000 every year.

The history of Toukasan dates back to when Nagaakira Asano arrived in Hiroshima from Kishu (now Wakayama Prefecture and part of Mie Prefecture) in 1619. He built Enryuji Temple at the present site. Thus, Toukasan Festival has been popular among citizens for over 390 years. The object of worship Toukasan is the guardian of Hokke-kyo Buddhism. Touka is one of the two pronunciations for the Japanese word, which is more commonly read inari. Inari means the deity of grain.