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Story Intangible Cultural Heritage Hakata Gion Yamakasa By JNTO on 01 June 2017

Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival


Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival


Held annually in July in Hakata-ku, FukuokaCity, "Hakata Gion Yamakasa" is a Shinto ritual held at Kushida-jinja Shrine, the central shrine home of the local deities of Hakata. The festival has a 770-year history and is designated an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan and a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is uniquely observed in a very traditional manner that has also been passed down for generations. All participants are males and during the festival they are not allowed to have relations with women because they are regarded as servants of the gods, and not allowed to eat cucumbers because their shape resembles the crest of the deity of the Yamakasa Festival. Large and gorgeous ritual implements called "Kazariyama" are also displayed at various places, which create a very festive mood all over the city and are great spots for taking photos.
The festival reaches its peak on the final day, July 15, with a dynamic event named "Oi Yamakasa" held early in the morning. The whole area is divided into seven districts and each district has its own float carried by participants dressed in uniforms called "mizu-happi", and they compete with one another in a timed race from Kushida-jinja Shrine to the front of the Ishimura Manseido Main Store, the former town magistrate’s office, in Susaki-machi. At the Oi Yamakasa final event, "Ichiban Yama", the first group, appear at 4:59 a.m. at the precincts of Kushida-jinja Shrine shouting "oisa!", while the drums pound and clapping rise from the spectators. They sing the "Hakata Iwai Medeta" song, which only Ichiban Yama is allowed to sing, in unison with the audience. You are sure to be overwhelmed by the atmosphere and excitement that is created.


Hakata Gion Yamakasa

1-41 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City (Kushida-jinja Shine) and around Hakata
092-291-2951(Hakata Gion Yamakasa Promotion Association)
From July 1 to July 15, 2017

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