FESTIVALS

Hakatakko(generic term for people in Fukuoka)loves to have festivals. Many festivals and events are held throughout the year and attract a large crowd of visitors. Hakata Gion Yamakasa(July), a big summer event in Fukuoka where local folks carry a portable shrine while running through the streets, is especially worth seeing. There are many other lively events such as Dontaku Port Festival(May), which attracts approximately 2.1 million people every year.

Hakata Dontaku 
Port Festival

Hakata Dontaku 
Port Festival

Merchants of Hakata developed a festival called Dontaku from a traditional celebration ritual called Hakata Matsubayashi, the origin of which dates back 830 years. The word "Dontaku" comes from the Dutch word Zontag meaning holiday. Many local citizens join this festival on the 3rd and the 4th of May. The main feature is the brisk Dontaku parade which goes 1230 meters along Meiji Street stretching from Gofuku-machi to Tenjin. There are also about 30 stages set up around the city during the festival period, bringing the feel of festival to the whole city.

Event Date
Annually, May 3-4
Venue
Around the city
URL
http://www.dontaku.fukunet.or.jp/

Hakata Gion Yamakasa

Hakata Gion
Yamakasa

This festival is said to originate from the legend that the founder of Jotenji Temple scattered sacred water on the street to get rid of plague. Come the 1st of July, the town of Hakata becomes filled with a festive mood, with floats over 10 meters high exhibited at 14 spots around the town. The climax of the festival is around a minute before 5 o’clock on the 15th of July. Under the gaze of many people who have gathered in the middle of the night, at the sign of a drum, men carrying the Yamakasa float dash out with full speed into the streets of Hakata. This vigorous festival, designated as a national intangible folk heritage, is worth seeing at least once in your lifetime.

Event Date
Annually, July 1-15
Venue
Kushida Shrine, other
URL
http://www.hakatayamakasa.com/

Hojoya

Hojoya

Wearing Kimono, all Fukuoka locals must have been to the Hojoya Festival, one of three major festivals, at least once.
This autumn festival at the Hakozaki shrine in the Higashi ward is held every year from the 12th to 18th of September. The approach of the shrine stretching along 1 kilometer is packed with approximately 500 vendors and a steady stream of visitors. Hojoya is originally a shrine ritual to pay respect to everything alive and prohibit killing. Many people also visit the shrine on this occasion to give thanks to the rich harvest of autumn and pray for traffic safety and business success.

Event Date
Annually, September 12-18
Venue
Hakozaki Shrine
URL
http://www.hakozakigu.or.jp/index.html

Toka Ebisu Festival

Toka Ebisu Festival

This festival is held at Toka Ebisu Shrine, which is dedicated to Ebisu, the god of fishery. The festival runs from the 8th to the 11th of January and attracts many visitors to the shrine. The highlight of the festival is the "Kachi-mairi(walking visit)” of Geisha girls from around 3 o’clock on the 9th and many people gather at the site with their cameras trying to get a glimpse of the girls.

Event Date
Annually, January 8-11
Venue
Toka Ebisu Shrine
URL
http://www.tooka-ebisu.or.jp/

Tamaseseri Festival

Tamaseseri Festival

Hakozaki Shrine is one of the three major shrines of Hachiman god and designated as an important national property. Tamaseseri is a festive ritual of the New Year holidays, held every year at the shrine on January 3rd, where shrine parishioners compete to get a wooden ball to divine the year’s fortune. You can almost forget the shivering cold of winter at the energetic sight of men in Fundoshi(loincloth)competing for the ball. It is said that if the winner of the ball is from the seaside team, a good haul is foreseen for the year and if it is the land team, a good harvest.

Event Date
Annually, January 3
Venue
Tamatori Ebisu Shrine - Hakozaki Shrine
URL
http://www.hakozakigu.or.jp/index.html
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