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【Hakata Oldtown】Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival Registered as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage!

At the 11th annual session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on November 30th, 2016, UNESCO officially registered 33 “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan” including Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival on its list of intangible cultural heritage.

UNESCO lists up folk properties, oral traditions and intangible cultural assets for the purpose of protection and preservation.

Following the registration of “Yamahoko, the float ceremony of the Kyoto Gion festival” and the “Hitachi Furyumono” event for the UNESCO listing in 2009, Japan proposed a more extensive list of 33 similar float festivals around Japan including government-registered significant intangible folk cultural assets as“Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan” for the listing. The proposal was received with approbation and has led to the official registration this time.

The proposed list includes five festivals from Kyushu; “Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival” of Fukuoka, “Tobata Gion Oyamagasa Festival” of Kitakyushu, “Hikiyama Float of Karatsu Kunchi” of Karatsu City, Saga, “Shinko Gyoji of Yatsushiro Myokensai Festival” of Yatsushiro City, Kumamoto, and “Hikiyama Event of Hita Gion” in Hita City, Oita.

The registration followed two of the most recent UNESCO registrations from Japan; “Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese” registered in 2013 and “Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese hand-made paper” registered in 2014.

In celebration of the registration, the festival float of Hakata Gion Yamakasa will be displayed at the first floor lobby of Fukuoka City Hall (until December 26th, 2016). Don’t miss out on it!

The registration of Hakata Gion Yamakasa means that the culture of Fukuoka has gained an international recognition. We should really be proud of it and have to hand down to our future generations the important cultural assets of Fukuoka!

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
Official Website of Hakata Gion Yamakasa 
Website of Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Government of Japan
Website of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

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