Events and Festivals in Kyushu


(13th-15th)The O-bon Lantern Festival, Nagasaki-shi.

(third weekend) Midsummer Waterfall Climb, Nanayama, Saga Ken (call 0955-58-2405)


(first weekend) Nagasaki Kunchi Festival, Nagasaki City. The biggest of the okunchi (autumn festivals in northern Kyushu), Nagasaki Kunchi features many different kinds of dances, including the city’s signature dragon dance!

(second Monday) Yufuin’s Ushizui Zekkyo Taikai in Oita-ken. Held on Health & Sports Day, this festival involves eating beef and a yelling competition. Call in advance. 0977-85- 4464

(until beg of November) Saga Balloon Festa, outside Saga City, Saga Prefecture. Be blown away by a plethora of massive, colorful hot air balloons just outside of Saga City. Expect to hear lots of international music and don’t forget to drop by the numerous food stalls too!


(2nd-4th) Karatsu Kunchi Festival, Karatsu, Saga Prefecture. A certain JET has been quoted as saying it’s the best festival he’s ever been to in Japan. Full of vibrant floats, this matsuri in Karatsu, Saga is one of the most popular in Kyushu.

(first weekend) The Saga International Balloon Festival, Saga

(fourth weekend) Ohara matsuri, featuring 20 000 dancers in kimono, Kagoshima-shi.

(until February) Nightly dances reenacting the birth of the Shinto Gods. Takachicho-machi, Miyazaki.


(24th-26th) Aso Christmas Balloon Festival, Aso-shi, Kumamoto-ken. (call 0967-32-1960)


(1st – 4th) Bull-fighting Festival, Oshima, Kumamoto-ken. (call 0997-86- 2911)


(second weekend) Kokonoe Symphony of Ice, Oita-ken (call 0973- 76-2111)

(third weekend) Fugu Festival, Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi. Cooking classes available. (Call 0832-23-8331)

Nagasaki Lantern Festival, for Chinese New Year, Nagasaki-shi.


(late March) The Kanoukaen, Nagasaki. The Kanoukaen, known in English as the Nagasaki Fire Festival, features 200 participants in samurai warrior costume strolling through the blooming cherry trees of Tachibana Park with flaming torches in their hands, at dusk.


(mid month) Hitoyoshi-shi Onsen Shochu Festival, Kumamoto-ken.

(fourth weekend) Firefly festival, Kobayashi-shi, Miyazaki-ken. (call 0984-22-8684)


(25th) Isahaya festival, Isahaya-shi, Nagasaki-ken. Features lanterns set afloat down the river