The Hakata Gion Yamakasa is held every year from July 1 to 15. During that period, elaborate Yamakasa decorations which are 10 meters tall are placed all over 10 different points within the city and has said to be have fascinated around 3 million spectators standing in line to view them.


Around the latter half of the festival, from July 10, the Kakiyamakasa floats which weigh 1 ton are valiantly carried by men while they run. The festival culminates at 4:59 in the morning of July 15, when seven floats are dashed through 5 kilometers through the streets to reach the goal.


There are various theories on how the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival first began, but according to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Promotion Association, it began in 1241 when Enni Ben'en (a Japanese monk) scattered sacred water on the streets of Hakata in order to contain the plague that had spread during that time. In addition, merchants also carried segakidana (a rack containing food as offering to departed souls) on their shoulders as they walked on the streets. The festival boasts of this tradition and history which has been carried out for over 770 years.


(Photo courtesy: Fukuoka City, commons)




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Yamakasa decorations
The Yamakasa being carried by people


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