Friday, 31 May 2013

Yamakasa Festival

Hakata Gion Yamakasa is one of the most exciting and important events in Hakata. Several beautiful Kazariyamas (decorative portable shrines and floats) are built and are spread over several parts of the city in a two week period.
It's said that the origin of this festival is attributed to the ritual took place to stop a bad plague spread through Hakata in 1241.  The highlight of the festival kicks off at exactly 4:59 am on July 15th when thousands of men from seven districts race through the streets carrying decorative, one-ton floats. This is a contest in which men compete on the time taken to race along a 5 km course, over more or less 30 minutes; although speed is important, they are also required to maintain a graceful and heroic style as they run carrying the floats on their shoulders. Let’s enjoy this famous spectacle together!

We will all gather at the school at 4:30 am, in order to leave at 4:40. Erica-sensei will join you and guide you to the festival. The access to the Yamakasa is rather simple; it goes straight with the Chikatetsu (underground metro) to the Gion station (200 yen for one way). The festival will start at exactly 4:59am and will end at around 7am. 

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