The festival was cancelled for the first time this year since 1962, except for instances of bad weather, due to the coronavirus pandemic. In general, the festival is held from May 3rd to May 4th, and consists of the aforementioned traditional “Matsubayashi” parade, which has a mix of modern and traditional parade elements. In total, more than 230 groups and 22,000 performers join this festival, and the teams with outstanding performances are praised. One of the unique features of this parade is that people dance while clapping two rice scooping spoons (Shamoji) along to the music of “Shamisen” (Japanese traditional guitar).
You can see the parade from the street, and there are more than 30 stages in the city center, so you can also buy a ticket and enjoy performances from a seat. At the climax of this festival, everybody, including observers and tourists, join the dance and play together.
“Hakata Dontaku Festival” is one of biggest festivals held in spring in Japan. I’m sure that you can feel the festivity from seeing and joining this event. Additionally, there are the other two biggest and popular festivals in Fukuoka, which are “Hakata Gion Yamakasa” and “Houzyouya.” For your next trip in Japan, please go a little further to the south to explore Fukuoka. You may feel like visiting there repeatedly.