Yamakasa Kazariyama 2014 Report

Hakata Gion Yamakasa is in full swing! Although you still have to wait a few days for the main event (Oiyamakasa race on July 15), you can take the opportunity to visit fourteen decorative Yamakasa floats, known as kazariyama, which are dotted around the city for public viewing until July 14. Fukuoka Now intern Teresa Yoshiura did just that – visiting all fourteen kazariyama in one day! Viewing the floats, she was able to sense the passion that the Hakata doll makers put into the creation of the large-scale works of art. Originally, the tall kazariyama were used as the race floats, however nowadays they are used only for display. Each year, the floats are remade from scratch featuring new themes and designs. So, what are this year’s floats? Read on to find out…

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Float3
Float #3 Higashi Nagare 
On display at: Kamigofukumachi, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “Fuunryu Kenshin Battle”
>Back theme “Chugino Gunshi Kanbei”


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Float4
Float #4 Nakasu Nagare  
On display at: Nakasu, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “The Battle of Honnoji”
>Back theme “Battle of Shizugatake”


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Float6
Float #6 Chiyo Nagare
On display at: Chiyo, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “Gunshi Kanbei”
>Back theme “Gunshi Kanbei”


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Float8
Float #8 Kamikawabata Dori
On display at: Kamikawabata machi, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “The Strong Ship”
>Back theme “Hanasaka Jisan (The Old Man who made Withered Trees to Blossom)”


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Float9
Float #9 Watanabe Dori 1 Chome 
On display at: Watanabe Dori, Chuo-ku
>Front theme: “Surprise Attack at Honnoji Temple”
>Back theme “Detective Conan”


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Float #10 Fukuoka Dome (has been taken down due to Typhoon #8 – no longer on display for viewing)
Was displayed at: Fukuoka Dome, Jigyohama, Chuo-ku
>Front theme “Invincible Genkai Taka Hawks”
>Back theme “Battle of Ohobaru”


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Float11
Float #11 Hakataeki Shoten Rengokai
On display at: Hakata Station, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “Gunshi Kuroda Kanbei”
>Back theme “Sazae-san”


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Float12
Float #12 Canal City Hakata
On display at: Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “Mata Kokoni Kabuki No Hanadashi (Kiyomoto Bushi – Japanese Narrative music)”
>Back theme “Cats in Hakata”


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Float13
Float #13 Kawabata Chuogai
On display at: Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “Chiryaku Gunshi Kanbei”
>Back theme “Doraemon”


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Float14
Float #14 Solaria 
On display at: Solaria Plaza, Tenjin, Chuo-ku
>Front theme “Battle of Shizugatake”
>Back theme “The Poetry of Flower Blossoming in Dazaifu”


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Float15
Float #15 Shintencho 
On display at: Shintencho, Tenjin, Chuo-ku
>Front theme “The Peacock of the Red Spear”
>Back theme “Sazae-san”


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Float16
Float #16 Hakata Riverain 
On display at: Hakata Riverain, Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku
>Front theme “The Honor of the Founder”
>Back theme “Genki 100% (Anpanman)”


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Float17
Float #17 Tenjin 1 Chome
On display at: Tenjin, Chuo-ku
>Front theme “The extermination of the Giant Centipede”
>Back theme “Mt. Kurama”


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Extra Float! Kushida Shrine 
On display at: Kushida Shrine (Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku)
>Front theme “The True Meaning of Manliness
>Back theme “The Eastern Expedition of Yamato Takeru No Mikoto”


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WATCH THE YAMAKASA 2014 FINALE: The climax of the Hakata Yamakasa festival is the “Oiyamakasa” on Jul. 15. Teams begin assembling at 1:30 in the morning. The first team leaves the starting line at Kushida Shrine at 4.59 am. Thousands of men from the seven districts race through the streets carrying decorative, one-ton floats. Spectators line the streets cheering them on by shouting “oisa oisa” and splashing them with water to keep them cool. The course takes about 30 minutes to run. After eighth team departs Kushida Shrine, a Noh farce is performed to calm the gods.

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Read our full guide to find out more, including this year’s schedule and special public transport timetable. FULL GUIDE: http://fukuoka-now.com/2014/06/yamakasa/

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