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If you like auctions and enjoy fresh fish, the perfect place to go is the Sakai Ouo Yoichi or Grand Evening Fish Market. It takes place on July 31 at Ohama Park, 4-cho and 5-cho, Ohama-Kitamachi, Sakai-ku, Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture near the Old Port. This area is easily accessed by taking the Sakai Station of the Nankai Line. Whether you are a native or a tourist, you’ll find this festival worth the trip and something you’ll never forget.
The Grand Evening Fish Market originated during the Kamakura Period (1192 to 1333) in Japan. The Kamakura period was characterized by the emergence of a powerful warrior class, and governed by the shogunate. Of high regard in the circles of power during this era were the virtues of bravery, duty and loyalty. Various sects of Buddhism including Zen and the Lota Sutra, made their presence felt. All of these important historical influences are still evident in this festival.
The Grand Evening Fish Market began as a religious event. It involved fishermen and sailors from across the country arriving at one of the country’s oldest shrines, Sumiyoshi Taisha shrine, to offer up gifts of fish. Sailors prayed for all their voyages to be safe, while fishermen asked for all their catches to be prosperous ones. Following the prayers and offerings, the fish was taken to Sakai to be auctioned off.
The Grand Evening Fish Market Today
As it did hundreds of years ago, the Grand Evening Fish Market takes place at the end of July. However, the event has grown through the centuries. No longer a festival limited to sailors and fishermen, the event attracts some 200,000 spectators to celebrate the area’s ancient fishing culture. At this event, the highlight is the auction of fresh fish and seafood. Anyone can bid, so don’t be afraid to jump into the action.
During the auction, you’ll find traditional merchants, with their hair in old-fashioned knots, standing and bidding side by side with hundreds of visitors from other countries. It’s a truly remarkable confluence of cultures. If you’re feeling bold and ambitious, get to the market early and be prepared to be assertive (and loud) enough to take part in the lively haggling and competitive selling all conducted in a traditional Japanese style.
Of course, the Grand Evening Fish Market is more than a fish and seafood auction. It has grown into an event organized to help various charities. Charities set up booths in Ohama Park to share their missions with the public. There are other stands and booths that offer information about the local area, sell local items and, of course, offer fabulous fish dishes. The Grand Evening Fish Market a wonderful way to discover some of the local companies and discover what the local craftspeople have to offer. The park also offers games of skill and chance, and several live performances on multiple stages.
Enjoy the Market-Festival
The Grand Evening Fish Festival is both a festival and a market. You can wander around the park during the afternoon, as the event kicks off around 1pm, looking at and purchasing unique crafts and discovering what organizations are in the area. In the evening, usually around 7pm, check out the auction and even consider trying your luck at bidding and really become part of an ancient celebration of the sea.
The Grand Evening Fish Market can be reached in a 10-minute walk from SAKAI Station Nankai Line.
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