Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Restaurants
Shopping
Jobs
Friends
News
-
Essentials
-
Sightseeing
-
Accommodation
-
Transportation
-
Restaurants
-
Shopping
-
Budget Travel
-
Questions

Willer Express - Inexpensive Highway Bus Reservations in English

Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kyushu - Fukuoka
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival 
# 7   of 8 most visited
sights in Fukuoka

jump to:   access  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  links

Report from the 2011 Festival

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa (_R}) is one of the most interesting festivals in Japan. It is held every year during the first half of July and climaxes with a spectacular time trial race in the early morning hours of July 15. In the race, seven neighborhoods of Fukuoka's Hakata district compete in pushing beautifully decorated festival floats along a five kilometer long course through the city.

The festival features two different types of floats:

The larger kazariyama floats stand over ten meters tall and weight over two tons. In the past they used to be raced through the streets, however, with the introduction of power lines in the Meiji Period, this became problematic, and today they only serve as decorative floats. 14 of them stand spread out across the city from July 1 to 14, including two at Hakata Station and Canal City Hakata.

A kazariyama float stands in a shopping arcade

For the race, smaller sized kakiyama floats, about five meters tall and one ton heavy, are used today. There are seven of them, one for each of the neighborhoods participating in the race. The floats do not have wheels and are dragged through the streets, while water is spread in front of the float in order to reduce friction between the float and the road surface (and cool down the participants).

From July 10 to 14, the seven teams hold several practice runs and parades in preparation for the main race. A good English festival booklet is available with detailed maps and time schedules for these events which are interesting to watch. On July 15 just after 1am, all teams line up behind the start line, which is located in front of Kushida Shrine, the festival's host shrine.

The kakiyama floats line up at the start

On July 15 at 4:59am, just before sunrise, the first team starts into the race, followed by the other teams in five minute intervals. Despite the early time of the day, thousands of spectators line the five kilometer long course, which includes several tight turns and long stretches along both narrow lanes and broad streets. It takes each team roughly 30 minutes of intense effort to complete the course.

There is ample of space to see the race along its long course, except around some of the more spectacular sections, e.g. the start area, where people show up hours in advance to reserve good viewing spots. Paid seating is available in the small court yard of Kushida Shrine, where each team has to push its float around a pole, but high competition makes these seats virtually impossible to get.

A kakiyama float on the grounds of Kushida Shrine during a practice run

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
The festival takes place in the Hakata district of Fukuoka. Kushida Shrine is located a five minute walk from Canal City Hakata or Gion Subway Station, or a 15-20 minute walk from Hakata Station.

How to get to and around Fukuoka

Advertisement

Hotels and Ryokan
Fukuoka offers a wide range of hotels. The Hakata Station area and the central Tenjin district are most convenient for exploring the city.
Search Hotels
Recommended Hotels around Fukuoka - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Grand Hyatt Fukuoka
Luxury hotel inside the Canal City Hakata complex.
Reserve through
Agoda
Hotel Nikko Fukuoka
Comfortable 4-star hotel a short walk from Hakata Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hotel Route Inn Hakata Ekimae
Reliable business hotel just across Hakata Station.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking

User Ratings
Ratings for Gion Yamakasa:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of Japan  
User Rating (by 40 users):
83/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 787):
251.  Koishikawa Korakuen (Tokyo)   83/100
252.  Tofukuji Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
253.  Daikakuji Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
254.  Tamagawa Onsen (Hachimantai)   83/100
255.  Hikone Castle (Hikone)   83/100
256.  Gion Yamakasa (Fukuoka)   83/100
257.  Hieizan (Kyoto)   83/100
258.  Ryuzu Waterfall (Nikko)   83/100
259.  Minato Mirai (Yokohama)   83/100
260.  Yudanaka Onsen (Yamanouchi)   83/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
519.  Jomon Site (Aomori)   83
520.  Pola Museum (Hakone)   83
521.  Moji Port (Kitakyushu)   82
522.  Hot Springs (Okuhida)   80
523.  Shirahama (Kumano)   80
524.  Gion Yamakasa (Fukuoka)   80
525.  Chichu Museum (Naoshima)   79
526.  Asahidake Onsen (Daisetsuzan)   79
527.  Science Museum (Nagoya)   79
528.  Nyuto Onsen (Hachimantai)   78

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

Japanese Links
Hakata Gion Yamakasa
Official website.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages

Most Recent Autumn Color Report
November 25
Kyoto
more reports...

News and Reports
April 3, 2014
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by sean
March 27, 2014
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by scott
March 27, 2013
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by schauwecker
March 21, 2013
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by scott
April 4, 2012
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by sean
July 15, 2011
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Report Trip
by schauwecker
April 3, 2011
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by francois
March 31, 2011
Fukuoka Cherry Blossom Report
by schauwecker
More reports...

Related Questions
Transfer times - Fukuoka
 2 reactions, last updated 3 days ago
Fukuoka - place of interest and halal...
 7 reactions, last updated 11 days ago
Night Club - Fukuoka Yoshii
 0 reactions, last updated 19 days ago
English City Bus Tour of Fukuoka / Hakata...
 2 reactions, last updated 21 days ago
Hakata Bus Time Table To Nokonoshima...
 3 reactions, last updated 21 days ago
Train watching at Hakata
 7 reactions, last updated 28 days ago
1N in Fukuoka - where to stay and what to...
 9 reactions, last updated 41 days ago
Food near Hakata Station
 5 reactions, last updated 57 days ago
Fukuoka 2 days
 2 reactions, last updated 67 days ago
Flea market on Sepember 14 at Fukuoka?
 1 reaction, last updated 94 days ago
Affordable Accomodation in Fukuoka
 2 reactions, last updated 109 days ago
Apt near hakata station
 1 reaction, last updated 112 days ago
JR Hakata Station Fukuoka to Hilton Sea...
 1 reaction, last updated 115 days ago
Cheapest way from Osaka to Fukuoka
 1 reaction, last updated 135 days ago
Fukuoka T2 check in bags
 2 reactions, last updated 143 days ago
Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival
 2 reactions, last updated 175 days ago
Fukuoka yatai, english?
 7 reactions, last updated 195 days ago
Fukuoka airport has baggage storage?
 2 reactions, last updated 201 days ago
Hakata Lantern Festival
 3 reactions, last updated 232 days ago
JAL or Jetstar Narita to Fukuoka
 2 reactions, last updated 254 days ago

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: August 26, 2014
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising