This short video was shot 2 weeks ago on the small island of Iwaishima. It shows the beginning of the Kannmai matsuri, as 2 rowboats, accompanied by a flotilla of gaily decorated fishing boats, head out to see to meet 3 boats coming from Kyushu carrying priests.
The priests are from the village of Imi in Kyushu, and come here every 5 years fro the matsuri.
The priests boats land on a beach in a bay on the other side of the island and perform a ceremony. In 886 a delegation of villagers were travelling back to Imi from Kyoto and were hit by a bad storm. They took shelter on Iwaishima and in gratitude for the help they received from the people on Iwaishima they performed ceremonies for the local kami, Kojin. This was the start of the Kannmai Matsuri which now occurs every 5 years.
After the ceremony the boats form a convoy and head back to the harbor on the other side of the island. I counted more than 30 boats in total.