Walking the Hakata Old Town Model Course "A Merchant's Town: Hakata's Traditional Culture Course"2018.05.18
In Hakata’s Old Town, there are many refined and beautiful traditional crafts giving shape to the history and traditions inherited from previous generations. As these are handed down one by one, they repeatedly encounter new methods and techniques, as well as materials, thereby continuing to evolve even now.
Be sure to use all five senses to feel the history and tradition which has been passed down in the traditional crafts that are the pride of Hakata.
Start from the monument marking the birthplace of Otojiro Kawakami, who was born into a merchant family in Hakata. Famous for a song called “Oppekeppe”, which satirized society by imitating the sound of a trumpet, he was active in student theater, promoting democratic rights in the early Meiji Era (1868-1911). As one of the founders of the New Wave theater, he also performed Japanese plays overseas. Along with his wife, Sada Yakko, he left behind many achievements in the history of Japanese theater.
Birthplace of Otojiro Kawakami
From the starting point at Otojiro Kawakami’s birthplace monument, the next place to visit is the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
This is the only art museum in the world to systematically collect and exhibit works of modern Asian art.
Distinct from other art museums, its originality attracts visitors. This museum houses and displays an extensive collection of about 2900 works of art from 23 countries and regions throughout Asia.
Please take time to enjoy the beauty that Hakata, as the gateway to Asia, is proud to show the world!
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
After taking in the “beauty of Asia” at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum、we head for the Nakasu Kawabata Shopping Arcade.
This arcade is the first merchant area that flourished in the Hakata district, and its history can be traced back to more than 130 years. With a total length of more than 400m, more than 130 stores, old and new, merge to form a lively commercial road filled with apparel shops, restaurants, and specialty stores ready to welcome Japanese and foreign visitors alike.
Kawabata Shopping Arcade
- Nakasu-Kawabata Area
Hakata’s oldest shopping street has about 130 shops lining a 400-meter long arcade. This is the standard Hakata walking course, featuring gift shops selling traditional Hakata ningyo dolls and other items, shops specialized in Yamakasa goods, stores that offer products from the Genkai-nada sea, and…
The next stop on our course is the the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum. The traditional crafts representing Hakata, such as Hakata-Ori woven textiles and Hakata-Ningyo ceramic dolls, are exhibited here.
Opened in the spring of 2011, this is a tourist attraction where visitors can learn about Fukuoka’s culture.
Visitors to the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum can also experience Fuku-Moji-Taiken, or “Designing Your Lucky Character”.
In this hands-on experience, enjoy writing Kanji, or Chinese characters, on a postcard. Design your own card with a fude-pen, a brush-pen hybrid that originated in Japan.
Based on handwriting psychology, the teacher will explain how to write “happy” messages such as, Fuku-wo-Yobikomu (Inviting Good Fortune) or Un-ga-Akeru (Luck Turns My Way).
Why not directly experience the refined traditions of Hakata?
“Designing Your Lucky Character With a Brush Pen Experience” Application
*Fees Charged & Reservations Required
Right next to the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum is Kushida Shrine.
Housing Hakata’s main Shinto deity, this shrine is familiar to the locals by its nickname, O-Kushida-San.
It’s also known as the shrine where Oi-Yamakasa takes place as the climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a festival famous all over Japan as a reminder of summer. In this event, decorated Yamakasa floats are pulled into the shrine grounds by local men.
The beauty and impact released by the decorated Yamakasa float won’t fail to fascinate!
The beautiful and brilliant main building of the shrine will also captivate you!
Once you’ve had your fill of Kushida Shrine, the next place to head for is Hakata Machiya Furusato-Kan, one of the famous tourist attractions representing Hakata. On the other side of Kushida Shrine, this facility pleasantly introduces the lifestyles and cultures of Hakata during Japan’s Meiji (1868-1911) and Taisho (1911-1926) Eras.
In the exhibition building (*admission fee required) visitors can watch a VR (virtual reality) film showing the full impact of Hakata Gion Yamakasa, the festival truly representing the culture of Hakata. You can also enjoy learning some of the local dialect, called Hakata-Ben, as well as looking at a miniature scene of Hakata’s “good old days”.
Besides Hakata-Ori weaving and Hakata-Ningyo dolls, demonstrating the traditional crafts of which Hakata is so proud, the souvenir shop is full of excellent sweets that are only sold in Kyushu or Hakata.
From their complete selection of chic Hakata souvenirs, why not search for the one you like best?
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
After coming into contact with the refined beauty of Hakata’s traditional crafts, you may look at the familiar scenery of Fukuoka with new eyes.
How about taking a slow stroll on the “Merchant’s Town: Hakata’s Traditional Culture Course”?