Get Ready for Yamakasa

Fukuoka's most exciting festival

By Tristan Scholze    - 1 min read

Hakata Gion Yamakasa originates from 1281 when a local priest, to ward off an epidemic, was carried through the town streets, spreading holy water along the way. Now, one-ton floats called kakiyamakasa are raced down a 5 km course by teams of men known as nagare. The race begins at 4:59 am on July 15, but you can see practices (such as this) during the day from July 1 to July 14. “Oissa! Oissa!” is the chant you’ll hear as water is thrown at the men heaving the floats toward the finish at Kushida Shrine.

博多祇園山笠—Hakata Gion Yamakasa—Hakata Gion Yamakasa
舁き山笠—kakiyamakasa—portable shrines (floats)

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Find out more about Kushida Shrine.

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Tristan Scholze

Tristan Scholze @tristan.scholze

I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature. I've traveled around the world and throughout Japan, and I hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm the Regional Partner here for Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures. In addition to my work at JapanTravel, I have a language school called Rainbow Bridges English Academy in Fukuoka and am very interested in teaching, languages, communication, and photography, among other things. Recently, I've been a guest host on NHK World's J-Trip Plan for Caving Adventures in Western Japan as well as Exploration for Black Gold.I love heading downtown to meet up with friends for a night out as well as being able to hop on my motorcycle and be riding through forest-covered mountains or to sandy beaches in 20 minutes. This area is very photogenic and even after years of exploration, there are still plenty of places to discover each weekend! My photographs are available for purchase on iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime or by contacting me.Please contact me if you have any questions about travel in Japan. I'd also be grateful for any follows on social media!