The festival starts from July 9
and goes for seven days. The climax of the festival is on July 15
, and this is also the last day of “Hakata Gion Yamakasa”. The program of the last day consists of two races. One is “Kushidairi,” which is a short course (the distance is 112 meters (367 feet)), and the other one is “Oiyamakasa,” which is a long course (the distance is about five kilometers (3.1 miles)). Seven teams compete for the fastest time in the short and long courses.
If you have a chance to visit Fukuoka during this term, of course I strongly recommend that you see the last day of the festival. However, it starts at 4:59 AM, so you might miss your chance to see it. Nonetheless, don’t worry, as during July 1
to July 15
, there are fourteen “Kazariyamakasa.” These decorative 13 meter (43 feet) high floats are not carried during the races, but are stationed around the town. These too are also very exciting to see, and you can compare the designs and decorations made by Japanese traditional artists which adorn the “Kazariyamakasa.”
Fukuoka is also especially known as a sacred place for Tonkotsu ramen (a famous type of ramen where pork bones form the base of its soup broth). So before or after seeing this very exciting festival, having the great taste of Tonkotsu ramen must be the perfect combo for visitors. For your next trip, please go a little further to the south part of Japan to explore another Japan that you still may not know.