Events and Festivals in Fukuoka

August  八月  (Hachigatsu)

Western Japan Ohori Fireworks Display Fukuoka City. Kyushu’s largest display of fireworks in an urban setting takes place right in the middle of Fukuoka City.

Chikugo River Festival Kurume. The biggest display of fireworks in all of Kyushu, with 18,000 launched over the river.

Wasshoi Hyakuman Summer Festival, Kitakyushu. The city’s largest festival created to celebrate the formation of Kitakyushu City. The hyakuman odori (百万踊りis a dance that is performed every year.

Obon (お盆), nationwide, 13–15 August. A traditional Buddhist festival to honor one’s deceased ancestors. Most Japanese people return to their family homes, and businesses tend to close down during this time.

Kanmon Strait Fireworks Festival, Moji-ko. Fireworks are launched from both the Fukuoka and Yamaguchi sides of the Kanmon Straight illuminating the water as if the two sides were battling each other.

September  九月  (Kugatsu)

Hojoya Festival, Hakozaki Shrine. This festival began in 919 AD and is one of the three biggest festivals in Fukuoka. Events include a procession of mikoshi (神輿, portable shrine). A few days later, doves, carp and other animals are released into lakes, rivers, mountains and forests to celebrate living creatures.

Music City Tenjin, around Tenjin area in Fukuoka City. Music City Tenjin (MCT) is an annual event in autumn brining a series of street music performances and concerts in the area of Tenjin.  MCT is a project running since 2002 to promote local artists and to improve the musice scene of Tenjin.  Besides budding local artists, some well-known Japanese participants in the past include singer songwriter Irie Leo, music producer Kameda Seiji, and more.

Sunset Live, Itoshima. An annual outdoor music festival by the beautiful beaches of Itoshima (about an hour away from the city center of Fukuoka City), this popular event features over 60 artists.  You can also enjoy some delicious food and drinks while you party it up with your friends.  .

October  十月  (Jugatsu)

Banana Fair Mojiko Retro Experience banana overload.

Asian Pacific Festival around Fukuoka City Celebrate the diverse Asian cultures around the Pacific Ocean with dance performances and world foods.

Nakasu Festival, Fukuoka City. This event, which takes place in the heart of Fukuoka’s red-light district, has local women carrying a shrine through the neighborhood. Along the main road there are family-friendly events like taiko, dancing, calligraphy and even appearances from a Japanese Elvis impersonator. Later in the evening the event plays host to the more risqué “Miss Nakasu Pageant,” in which local hostess-club workers compete by dancing to earn the title.

November  十一月  (Juichigatsu)

Hakushu Festival (白秋), Yanagawa City. A lively event held to commemorate the anniversary of great poet Hakushu Kitahara’s death. In the festival’s water parade, participants riding 110 boats glide down the river launching fireworks while singing children’s and traditional songs.

Kyushu Basho (Sumo), Kokusai Center, Hakata. Don’t miss your chance to see sumo live in Fukuoka!

Shichi-go-san Festival, nationwide. This matsuri celebrates children who turn three, five and seven-years old this year. Events will be taking place all over the country.

Hakata Lantern Watching, Fukuoka City. The Kushida Shrine – near Canal City Hakata – is decorated with colored bags and candles. From the ground, it’s a beautifully lit walkway, but by climbing the stairs you can view the candle mosaic from above and appreciate the full view.

Hakata Light Up Walk, Fukuoka City. Not to be confused with the one-day event that is Hakata Lantern Watching, the Hakata Light Up Walk spans five days. Enjoy the unique atmosphere as Kushida Shrine, Jotenji Temple, Tochoji Temple, Myorakuji Temple, and Junshinji Temple are beautifully illuminated.

December  十二月  (Junigatsu)

Oshiroi Festival, Oyamazumi Shrine, Asakura. Newly harvested rice is ground into powder and made into white face paint, which is then smeared on the faces of worshippers to foretell whether they will have a bountiful or lean harvest.

Oharai Ceremony, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. Transfer your sins and impurities into a paper doll through prayer, then touch the head and body of the doll and blow on it 3 times to cleanse your spirit. The dolls are then collected and burnt in a sacred fire; breathing in the smoke is said to bring health and happiness for the coming year.

January  一月  (Ichigatsu)

Tamaseseri (玉せせり), Hakozaki Shrine, Fukuoka City. Several hundred men wearing loin cloths compete on piggyback in two teams, the “sea” team and the “land” team for possession of a wooden ball. If the sea team wins, a bountiful fishing catch is predicted for the year; if the land team wins a rich harvest is predicted.

Oniyo Festival Kurume, Daizenji Tamataregu (大善寺), Kurume City. The ‘Demon Night’ is one of Japan’s three major bonfire festivals. When a bell rings at 21:00 the fire is lit with a 13-meter (40 foot) long torch as men in traditional garb circle the grounds.

Usokae and Onisube Festival (うそかえ), Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, Dazaifu Station (starts at 19:00). Onisube (鬼すべ), the main event of the festival reaches its climax at around 21:00. About 300 people play different roles, such as devils (oni 鬼) and those who fight against devils (keigo 警固) in order to drive away the evil spirits, and bring happiness and good fortune.

Toka Ebisu (十日えびす) – Fukuoka, Hakata, Toka-Ebisu Shrine, JR Yoshizuka Station. The Shrine is thronged with numerous people every day during this period. A procession of female entertainers in colorful kimono (kachimairi 徒歩まいり) parade from the municipal gymnasium (shimin taiiku-kan 市民体育館) through the main streets to the shrine in the afternoon.

February  二月  (Nigatsu)

Click here for Events and Festivals in other parts of Kyushu

March  三月  (Sangatsu)

Doll Festival, Yanagawa (hinamatsuri, 雛祭り) or Girl’s Day. Yanagawa is known for going all out in celebration. Local residents and businesses put out elaborate doll displays made from Yanagawa’s unique local cloth and a boat parade winds through the city’s canals with girls in kimono.

Kyokusui no en, Dazaifu. In addition to seeing the plum blossoms (ume, 梅), you can also check out this festival where participants write waka (和歌) poems before drinking sake out of cups floating in the stream, all in ceremonial dress.

May  五月  (Gogatsu)

Hakata Dontaku, Fukuoka. One of the biggest events in Golden Week, with a parade through the streets downtown, dance, & performances of all kinds. Over 2 million visitors fill the city during this time.

Kawawatari Jinkosai (川渡り神幸祭), Tagawa, Fukuoka. This River Crossing Festival features 11 huge floats carried by groups of men paraded through Tagawa City and through the Hikosan River, where water fights between groups take place.

July  七月  (Shichigatsu)

Iizuka Yamakasa Festival, Iizuka. The main event of this festival is called the oiyama where four teams representing the four districts of the city race, each carrying a float that represent their district.

Wakamatsu Port Festival, Kitakyushu, late July. Events include a fire festival, kappa (water spirit) festival, Kukino-umi fireworks display, and musical performances. On the night of the last day, a parade of about 2,000 participants with torches climbs up 120m Mt. Takato.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, Fukuoka City. One of Fukuoka’s most famous events, the Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a 750-year-old tradition. During the week, elaborate 16-meter (17-yard) tall floats known as yama are displayed throughout the city. The floats feature dolls portraying scenes from history and legend. The climax of the festival is the oiyama, in which teams of men gather to race through the streets carrying the 1-ton floats over five kilometers (3.1 miles). The race begins at 4:59 a.m., when the first team leaves from Kushida Shrine. Special early trains run directly to the city for the event.