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Story Hojoya Festival: a grand autumn festival with a more than thousand years history in Hakata By JNTO on 01 September 2017

The Hojoya Festival


The Hojoya Festival


a glass toy chanpon


Hojoya Festival is one of the biggest autumn festivals in Kyushu, held for seven days from September 12th to 18th every year. Along the more than 1-km front approach from the “ootorii” gate to the “honden” (main hall) of Hakozaki-gu Shrine, over 500 street stalls are set up, creating quite a sight. The origin of this festival was based on a Shinto ritual at the shrine that goes back more than 1,000 years. It has been held in order to comfort the spirits of the all deceased and to express gratitude, as well as for business success and for safety of the family. The festival is one of the three major festivals in Fukuoka, along with the Hakata Dontaku Festival in spring and the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival in summer, and the event draws more than a million people annually.
This year falls on an odd-numbered year, which means that from 6 p.m. on September 12 and from 7 p.m. on September 14, a glorious procession of portable shrines, as if popping out of an illustrated handscroll of history, will be carried by 500 people in white gowns.
In addition to various kinds of standard street stalls like apple candy shops, grilled squid shops, goldfish scooping stands, and shooting galleries, there are also other stalls that have a retro atmosphere, such as a haunted house and a show tent – which are rare now to see in other places. There are also recommendable items at the street stalls: a glass toy “chanpon” that creates a cool breeze timbre when it blows and is hand-painted by shrine maidens; “shanichi-mochi” grilled rice cake; new ginger roots with green leaves; and others. The ginger roots are with green leaves because local people brought home ginger in that way as a seasonal specialty in previous times when the area was filled with ginger fields. Don’t miss this festival if you have a chance to visit Fukuoka in September.


The Hojoya Festival

1-22-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City (Hakozaki-gu Shrine)

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