“Hakata Gion Yamagasa” is a brave festival filled with enthusiasm in July at Hakata-ku ward, Fukuoka City. The men who have a lot of dauntlessness will bear Yamagasa (festival float), which weighs several tons, to drive the boulevard. It is a splendid summer festival in the Kitakyushu area, which throws the whole city into a state of feverish excitement with its deep breath and overwhelming force.
Hakata Gion Yamagasa is officially called “Kushida Shrine Gion Annual Festival” and is a festival representing Hakata area along with “Hakata Dontaku“. And it is a festival with a history of over 770 years. For the fifteen days when the hot feelings of the people of Hakata explode, the whole town is enveloped with enthusiasm and the full summer is announced to Hakata.
The highlight of Hakata Gion Yamagasa is Yamagasa-kaki which goes around the city carrying Yamagasa. Yamagasa made by Hakata doll’s craftsmen with fine details is gorgeous and luxurious and shows an outstanding presence. The state of men who can run with tremendous heavy items that are several tons is exactly the best. The shout with the soul further enhances the audience’s enthusiasm and develops the best drama that combines glamor and courage. Men in the form of a loincloth called Shimekomi with Happi bravely pulls on the Yamagasa. The energy of the men who clench their teeth in the form of a headband whirls in the town and the town of Hakata boils with a strange feeling of enthusiasm. The people sitting on the table of Yamagasa are called “Dai-agari”, the center of the festival taking command of the bearer and the highest honor of Hakata men. On the final day, which is the climax of the festival, a time trial will be held on how fast you can turn a given course.
The Hakata Gion Yamagasa is performed in an area called Hakatabu between the Mikasagawa river and the Nakagawa river in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka. It is classic festivals more than 700 years, and held every year from July 1 through July 15. In one of the Gion festival dedicated for Susanoo-no-mikoto enshrined in Kushida Shrine, and it is the name called “the Kushida Shrine Gion annual festival” formally.
There are various kinds of opinions of its origin. It is said that Shoichi kokushi Enni, who was the founder of the Tofuku-ji Temple, have gone around the Hakata city on a segakidana (rack for carrying the dead) while praying to drive plague off in 1241. It has been designated a significant intangible folk cultural asset of the country.
It is “Oi Yamagasa” (carring festival car) of 15th in the climax of Hakata gion yamagasa, it run at full speed by the distance of approximately 5 km. It’s competed for however beautifully was it moved and however heroically it be moved.
In an average year, it starts by the signal of the large drum early in the morning at 4:59, the men in fundoshi (loincloth) surge into the precincts of Kushida Shrine, and run through the city with a shout of “Osshoi! Oisa!”.
The 15 days of “Hakata Gion Yamagasa”, Hakata becomes hottest during the year. Why don’t you try sensing this heat once.
|Name:||Hakata Gion Yamagasa Summer Festival|
|Adresse:||Kamikawabatamachi 1 Fukuoka Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0026 Japan|
|Access:||JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line “Hakata-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)|
|Tel:||(+81) 92-291-2951 (Hakata Gion Yamagasa Development Association)|