Fukuoka is full of festivals and events all year round. Moving sights await visitors any time of the year, with streets full of greenery, gloriously blooming flowers, festivals upholding inherited traditions, and newly begun music festivals and sports events. Whether it’s your first time or you are coming back for another visit, you’ll want to check out Fukuoka’s extensive sightseeing calendar.
Spring in Fukuoka
Spring features of Fukuoka are cherry blossoms and the Hakata Dontaku Port Festival. There are many cherry blossom viewing spots in the city from late March to early April. The viewing spots are crowded with people who enjoy hanami（flower viewing）, enjoying sake and meals under the full blooming cherry blossom trees, and who appreciate the trees at night! Especially recommended spots are Maizuru Park and Nishi Park. And Noko Island where you can travel by ferry in about 20 minutes from the urban area. You will see a unique and splendid Japanese view of cherry and rape blossoms against the ocean. Furthermore, various kinds of events are held at the festival sites in the city. In the Dontaku parade, people dressed in elaborate costumes promenading through the street clapping rice scoops is worth seeing. The parade culminates with a dance performed by all the people at the festival including viewers. The festival attracts over 2 million visitors from across Japan, making it a very popular event in Fukuoka.
Summer in Fukuoka
Fukuoka boasts the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, the symbolic festival of the city. From July 1st to midnight of the 14th, you can see beautifully decorated Yamakasa floats which are over 10 meters high, exhibited all around the city. Oiyama is the climax of the festival where men wearing traditional costumes dash around the town with festival floats which weigh over 1 ton carried on their shoulders. Once you see this spirit-rousing sight, you will never forget.
There are also fireworks displays held at many places in summer. A lot of people visit these events in traditional Japanese dress.
Another popular summer feature is beer gardens. Drinking cold beer on the roof of a building is wonderful. You can also enjoy sea bathing and marine sports on the beaches in Fukuoka.
Autumn in Fukuoka
Autumn in Fukuoka brings Hojoe, a festival held at Hakozaki Shrine.
Asian Month, held from September to November, and Hakata Akihaku are also autumn features of Fukuoka. The former is an event where you can meet and get the feel of Asia. The latter is a series of events including festivals with an authentic Japanese atmosphere held at shrines and temples in the Hakata area.
If you are more into nature, Nokonoshima island in Hakata Bay is a great place where you can enjoy cosmos blossoms. And also the Japanese gardens Yusentei and Rakusui-en are recommended as they provide a beautiful sight of red and yellow autumn leaves.
The Grand Sumo Kyushu Tournament is held in Fukuoka for 15 days from mid-November. It is a great chance to see Sumo, the traditional sport of Japan.
Come visit Fukuoka in autumn and enjoy the beautiful scenery and festivals.
Winter in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a part of the southern island of Japan and you may think it is a warm place. Actually, the cold breeze from the Japan Sea makes it snow sometimes.
The city of Fukuoka is illuminated with Christmas decorations and filled with a lively atmosphere from late-November to Christmas day.
New year’s visit to the shrine（1st – 3rd of January）that people make their wishes for the new year, attracts many worshippers to the shines, including Kushida Shrine, Sumiyoshi Shrine and Hakozaki Shrine. Visit there in the New Year. The New Year opening sale and bargains are held from January 2nd at the shopping facilities and areas in the city such as Tenjin and Hakata Station. A discount is applied to all sorts of items, mostly outfits, making it a great opportunity for shopping at low prices at this time of the year.
Moreover, two festivals are held in January at Toka Ebisu Shrine and in February at Kushida Shrine. At Toka Ebisu festival you can pray for business success, and at the Setsubun festival, Tochoji Temple invites happiness and tells us when spring has come. Both are unique Japanese festivals and will give you a lot of fun!