No plans for spending Golden Week in Fukuoka? Well never fear, because the Fukuoka Now staff have selected the best events and activities for 2016 Golden Week for your delight. Stay tuned for more Golden Week articles this week, including a rundown on Fukuoka’s biggest festival of the year – Dontaku!
1. Art Aquarium & Night Aquarium 2016
The art’s alive! Live goldfish swim in uniquely shaped tanks, with vibrant lighting and video projections creating stunning scenes. This is the aquarium’s second time in Hakata, and the theme is “wa” (Japanese culture). Have a drink at the “Night Aquarium” after 6 pm, and chill to DJs on weekends.
• ~ 5/22 (Sun.)
• 10:00~21:00 (Mon. ~ Thu., Sun.), 10:00~22:00 (Fri., Sat., day before Hol., 4/28 ~ 5/7)
• Adult: Adv. ¥900, Door ¥1,000; ES and MS: Adv. ¥500, Door ¥600; Under ES: Free
• JR Kyushu Hall
• 9F JR Hakata City
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artaquarium.en/
2. Uminonakamichi Flower Picnic Free Admittance Days
Head to Uminonakamichi to see approximately three million blooming spring flowers (1,000 varieties)! The annual ‘Flower Picnic’ takes place between March 26 ~ May 8; on weekends, there are various activities such as animal-petting, craft workshops and brass and concerts. From Apr. 29 (Fri., Hol.) to May 1 (Sun.), 10:00~17:00, a special gourmet event, called “C-1 Cup in Uminaka”, will take place: food vendors sell various tasty treats, and the best food vendor wins a prize. SPECIAL! Visit during Golden Week on May 1 and 4 for free entry (regular entry fee: Adult ¥410, Child (JHS/ES) ¥80). On May 5, only junior high school students and younger can enter for free (regular entry fee: ¥80).
• 3/26 (Sat.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• Free entry: 5/1 (Sun.), 5/4 (Wed., Hol.), and 5/5 (Thu., Hol.) (5/5: JHS and under only)
• Regular entry fees: Adult ¥410, Child (JHS/ES) ¥80
• Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
• 18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku
3. 59th Kurume Tsutsuji Festival
Kurume Tsutsuji (azalea) Festival is one of the biggest plant festivals in Japan. As well as azalea viewing (over 2,000 azalea on show!) there will be flower, plant and bonsai markets, a model garden and bonsai exhibitions. At the weekend, there will be gardening workshop, a charity auction, lectures and several other events. Buy Kurume food and drink too, such as bento and sake! From late April, there will also be a Hydrangea exhibition.
• 4/5 (Tue.) ~ 5/5 (Thu. & Hol.)
• 4/23 (Sat.): 11:00~, 14:00~: moss garden lecture (¥1,500; 15 people/session, first come, first served)
• 4/24 (Sun.): 11:00~, 14:00~: mini bonsai lecture (Free)
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.): 11:00~, 14:00~: orchid transplanting lecture (Free)
• 5/4 (Wed., Hol.): 11:00~, 14:00~: Mother’s Day group planting lecture (¥1,000; 10 people/session, first come, first served)
• Kurume Hyakunen Park
• 2432-1 Kurume Hyakunen Park, Kurume City
• 0942-47-1875 (during event period: 0942-33-8316)
4. Yame Kurogi Wisteria Festival
The star of this event is the 620-year-old fuji (wisteria) a National Natural Treasure with vines extending for meters. 200,000 visit every year and mid-April is prime viewing time. Browse the displays of products and “comfort foods” from Kurogi Town (9:00~17:00) and see the tree lit up at night – a magical sight! The town will also host a stamp rally (¥500, limited to 150 people).
• 4/16 (Sat.) ~ early May
• Susanoo Jinja Shrine
• 5-2 Kurogi, Kurogi-machi, Yame City, Fukuoka
5. Canal City 20th Anniversary Events
On Apr. 20 (Wed.), Canal City officially turned 20! To celebrate, they will be hosting several events from Apr. 23 (Sat.) ~ May 8 (Sun.). 190 shops will participate in the 20th Anniversary Sale, some offering discounts of up to 60%! Some shops will also sell limited edition items to mark the occasion; Kaldi Coffee Farm, for example, will offer lucky bags. On Apr. 23 (Sat.) and 24 (Sun.), Cold Stone Creamery will sell ice cream for just ¥20 (first 50 customers per day). From Apr. 29 to May 5, you can enjoy the Canal Fringe Festival: watch special performances (from acrobatic feats to comedy!) at the Sun Plaza Stage on B1F, including the “Cat Wall Trampoline” – performers run up a 4 m high wall using a trampoline!
• 4/23 (Sat.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• Timings vary
• Canal City
• 1-2 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku
6. Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament
Bet you didn’t know that high school rugby is particularly strong in Kyushu! This prestigious international rugby tournament for high school students is held in Fukuoka every year during Golden Week. Schools from overseas are invited to represent their country in this competition, and usually each team is among the five top-ranked high school teams in their country. There are both men’s and women’s games, and the George Watson’s College Pipe Band (world champions) will perform once again! There’s also a flea market running on May 4 and 5 (10:00~16:00).
• 4/28 (Thu.) ~ 5/5 (Thu.) (excluding 4/30 (Sat.) and 5/3 (Tue.))
• 10:30~ (game times vary)
• Free entry
• Global Arena
• 46-1 Yoshidome, Munakata, Fukuoka
• 0940-33-8400 (Global Arena)
7. Tiempo Iberoamericano
Venture through different cultures (Latin American countries) with just one coin (¥500)! For ¥500 per class, you can attend a variety of workshops: language (Spanish & Italian), tango, flamenco guitar and more (reservations required, apply on their site). For the full schedule, see their website. Try Argentinian BBQ or taste Spanish paella. Experienced instructors will also perform (on 5F)! Schedule: salsa: 13:05 and 15:35, Argentinian tango: 14:20 and 15:40, belly dancing: 11:50 and 14:45, flamenco: 13:45, flamenco guitar live performance: 15:45.
• 4/29 (Fri. & Hol.), registration deadline: 4/26 (Tue.) at 21:00
• Lesson times vary – see website for full details.
• One-coin lesson: ¥500/lesson (1 hour)
• Tiempo Iberoamericano
• 3F Daimyo, 11511 Bldg.
• 1-15-11 Daimyo, Chuo-ku
8. 9th Futsukaichi Onsen Art Exhibition
The 9th Onsen Art Exhibit will be held in the Futsukaichi Hot Springs district of Chikushino from Apr. 29 (Fri., Hol.) to 30 (Sat.). The exhibit began as the Onsen Flower Show in 2008 when a local florist started placing floral decorations in cafes and hotels in the hot springs district. Its name was changed to the Onsen Art Exhibit in 2010 when a local artists’ group took over organization duties. A flea market and mini bazaar are held between 10:00 and 14:00, and there will also be various performances, including Japanese dance and a baroque music concert. On Apr. 29 (Fri., Hol.), you can also catch the Futstukaichi Onsen Wisteria Festival Admission is free.
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 4/30 (Sat.)
• Free entry
• Futsukaichi Hot Springs Area, Chikushino City, Fukuoka
9. Itoshima Handmade Carnival
Around 100 artists sell their own creative items at this annual spring event. Natural sundries, accessories, bag, cloth and leather items. Homemade scones, bento, curry and other food too. There are workshops which you can participate in too.
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 4/30 (Sat.)
• Shima Chuo Park
• Hatsu, Shima, Itoshima, Fukuoka
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/itoshimahandmadecarnival
10. Global Village 2016
The goal is to unite people from around the world in Fukuoka! Fill up on world food from stalls run by international Fukuoka residents and overseas students, shop at the bazaar, and enjoy folk songs and dances by foreign residents. You too can perform on stage – just apply on the day (first come, first served). Representatives from Peru, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Iran, China and more!
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 5/1 (Sun.)
• Tenjin Central Park
• 1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/709058929229969/
11. The Golden Momochi 2016 Kyushu Local Beer Fair
This event will host 13 beer makers from Kyushu, Okinawa and Yamaguchi and is Kyushu’s biggest local beer fair. You can also try seven uncommon beer brands from the Tohoku area. Plus seven international award-winning Japanese beers will be on offer. Food too of course! Some beers are sold as take-away bottles and cans. On Apr. 29 (Fri., Hol.) at 11:00 to 14:00 and May 2 at 11:00 to 17:00, enjoy happy hour: drinks four glasses and get one free. Take family and friends and enjoy a beer with the spring sea breeze blowing through your hair.
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 5/5 (Thu., Hol.)
• 11:00~21:00 (5/5: ~18:00)
• ¥500/glass (ticket system), souvenir beer: ¥600/bottle, soft drinks: ¥200
• Next to RKB Broadcasting Station (Momochi)
• 2 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyusyu.craft.beer
12. Arita Ceramic Fair
Over one million people visit this annual festival in Arita – a town renowned for fine ceramics and porcelain. For the 113th edition, which also happens to be Aritayaki’s (Arita’s distinctive porcelain) 400th anniversary, stalls will line the streets selling both discounted and fine ceramics. Over 500 stalls will be located between Kami-arita Sta. and Arita Sta. – the market extends as far as 4 km down the path! Some open at 6am!
Whilst in Arita, why not go on a treasure hunt? At the Kouraku Kiln, founded in 1865, they have a huge collection of pottery which, for one reason or another, has not yet been sold. First go on a 30 minute tour of the facility, then you are given a pair of gloves, a flashlight and a basket: you have 90 minutes to fill your basket with porcelain goodies! If you pay for the more expensive course, you can peruse a special section of decoratively painted ceramics. Basic course: ¥5,000, special course: ¥10,000. English-speaking staff are on hand to help. Make your reservation by phone in advance (only 10 people max. per day). Address: 2512 Maruo, Arita, Saga. Tel.:090-8351-4121 or 0955-42-4121. More info: http://www.spoon-tamago.com/2016/03/29/go-treasure-hunting-in-an-arita-porcelain-warehouse-for-just-5000-yen/
13. Aritayaki 400th Anniversary: Fukagawa-Seiji China on the Park
It’s the 400th anniversary of Aritayaki (the ceramic-style native to Arita, Saga)! To celebrate, China on the Park (a complex dedicated to Fukagawa-Seiji ceramics – a famous, 120-year-old brand of ceramics) will be running many special events; the theme of these events will be Fukagawa-Seiji’s distinct “Fukagawa blue”. Every day during the event, you can view a painting demonstration by a professional craftsman (10:00~16:00), watch mochi-pounding (11:00~13:00), and enjoy light jazz at the cafe. If you spend over ¥10,000, you will receive a canvas tote bag designed by Fukagawa-Seiji (limited number, first-come, first-served, some products excluded). Plus, if your receipt says “win” on the back, then you win a prize! And especially for the 400th anniversary celebrations a large warehouse will be opened for shoppers to peruse, and rare items will be available to buy at the outlet shop. There will also be a flea market at which you can buy half-finished goods by professional potters. A stamp rally will run throughout the event – collect three stamps and you could win a piece of chinaware. A shuttle bus will run every 30 minutes from Aritaekimae bus stop for the duration of the event (15 min. each way): buses from Aritaekimae to China on the Park start from 9:00~ (last bus departs at 16:00), buses from China on the Park to Aritaekimae start from 9:30~ (last bus departs at 16:30).
• 4/29 (Fri.) ~ 5/5 (Thu.)
• Arita area
• Arita-machi, Saga
• 0955-46-3900 (China on the Park)
• Arita Ceramic Fair: http://www.arita-toukiichi.or.jp/
• Fukagawa-Seiji: https://www.fukagawa-seiji.co.jp/cotp/forenglish.htm
14. World Beer de Dontaku 2016
“World Beer de Dontaku 2016” features over 50 different beers, including over 30 kinds of craft beer, and beer snacks from all over the world! There will be 10 world food stalls too. On Apr. 29 and May 3,4, 7 and 8, there will be live jazz performances by Jazz Alliance. Enjoy beer and music at Bayside Place!
• 4/29 (Fri.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• 12:00~20:00 (5/8: ~18:00)
• Bayside Place
• 13-6 Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku
• Adv. ¥3,000 (incl. ¥3,300 worth of food tickets) / Door ¥1,000 (incl. ¥1,000 worth of food tickets)
15. Marine World Golden Week “Night Aquarium”
For ten nights over the Golden Week period, Marine World’s aquarium will be open until 21:30. Enjoy a nighttime dolphin show against the backdrop of Hakata Bay!
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• Adult: ¥2,160, MS: ¥1,180, ES: ¥820, under ES: ¥570
• Marine World Uminonakamichi
• 18-28 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka
16. Meat Festival Spring 2016
Unleash your inner carnivore! 27 of Japan’s most popular meat restaurants (ones that usually attract long lines of meat-lovers) sell special menus at this outdoor event. Last year’s “king of the festival” Kakunoshin returns to bring Fukuoka its aged beef! Trending comedians, idols and musicians perform too.
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• 10:00~22:00 (5/8: ~20:00)
• Free entry (¥700/food ticket; smart cards also accepted)
• Maizuru Park Nishi Hiroba
• 1 Jyounai, Chuo-ku
17. Ishibashi Bunka Center Spring Rose Fair 2016
Ishibashi Bunka Center has the largest rose garden in Fukuoka. The peak season lasts for about a month starting in early May with 2,600 roses of over 400 varieties. During Golden Week, many events will also be held, including live music, rose workshops, displays of rose arrangements and kiribana (flower cutting) and the opening of a rose sweets cafe (featuring Austrian sweets). To tie in with “The Genesis and Development of Landscape Painting from Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien” exhibit at the Ishibashi Museum of Art (4/2 ~ 6/12), the theme of part of the fair this year will be “Austria”.
• 4/29 (Fri., Hol.) ~ 5/22 (Sun.)
• 10:00~17:00 (Closed: Mon.)
*GW event: 5/3 (Tue., Hol.) ~ 5/5 (Thu., Hol.)
• Main event: 5/7 (Sat.) ~ 5/8 (Sun.)
• Free entry
• Ishibashi Bunka Center
• 1015 Nonaka-machi, Kurume
• 0942-33-2271 (Ishibashi Bunka Center)
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ishibashibunka
18. Hakata Dontaku
Dontaku is one of Japan’s Biggest festivals, with over two million visitors annually. The colorful parade through the city has over 830 years of history. There will be food stalls, daytime performances on around 30 stages, and, in the evening, illuminated “Flower Cars” (decorated vehicles) roll through the streets.
For more information, check out our Hakata Dontaku 2016 Guide (coming soon).
• 5/3 (Sun.), 4 (Mon.)
• Around central Fukuoka City (The parade along Meiji Dori Ave. ~ Tenjin)
19. 22nd Moji Strait Festa
This annual Golden Week event enlivens the whole district of Mojiko Retro for three days! In addition to stage performances of dancing and music, gourmet yatai sell local specialties (May 3 to 5, 10:00~16:00), Retro FM host stage events (May 5, 10:00~16:00), and there’s a firework finale (May 4, 20:00~)! Be sure to check out the Kacchu Musha Gyoretsu: people dressed in kacchu (traditional Japanese battle armor) with bows, quivers of arrows and wide brimmed hats march in single file.
• 5/3 (Tue.) ~ 5/5 (Thu.)
• Free entry
• Mojiko Retro Chuo Hiroba
• 9-11 Minato-machi, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka
• 093-332-0106 (Mojiko Retro Club)
20. Koishiwara Ceramic Festival
Koishiwara ceramics are manufactured in Toho-mura. Twice a year, once in autumn and once in spring, a festival is held in which 50 ceramic manufacturers participate, putting on exhibitions, workshops and selling their wares. During the festival, the artists’ works are 20% off! Join a ceramics painting workshop (¥500, 50 ppl/day, first come, first served) or a tea ceremony workshop (10:00~16:00, ¥200 entry fee). See map for more details.
• 5/3 (Tue., Hol.) ~ 5 (Thu., Hol.)
• Toho-mura area
• Toho-mura, Asakura-gun, Fukuoka
21. Dontaku Cosplay Parade 2016
Calling all otaku and fancy dress fanatics! The catchily named “Cosplay Dontaku Parade 2016” will be hitting Susaki Park on May 4th. This anime-orientated blowout aims to promote cosplay and otaku culture in Fukuoka. This means a colorful cosplay parade (registration is now closed), as well as a huge party with music, dancing, bingo games, and something intriguingly termed a “picture event”. There’ll also be an after party (¥500) at Oyafuko-dori Buzz (20:00~1:00). We’re sure it’ll be otaku-tastic.
• 5/4 (Wed.)
• 11:00~20:00 (after party: 20:00~1:00)
• Parade and photograph session: ¥2,000; Photograph session at Susaki Park: ¥1,500
• Meeting point: Susaki Park
• 5-2 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
22. Kitsuki Castle Festival
This is the biggest festival of the year in Kitsuki, Oita Pref., a town which is referred to locally as little Kyoto. There will be several parades of samurai and princesses as well as performances of Taishu-engeki (a genre of Japanese Drama), traditional dances and Oiran-dochu (a nighttime parade of geisha). Travel back in time at this historic festival! For those who prefer something a little more modern, there will also be karaoke at the main stage.
• 5/4 (Wed.), 5/5 (Thu.)
• 5/4: 10:00~20:00, 5/5: 10:00~15:00
• Jokamachi area
• Jokamachi, Kitsuki, Oita
• 0978-63-0100 (Kitsuki Tourism Organization)
23. Friendship Day 2016
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni takes pleasure in announcing their joint open house, JMSDF/MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day Air Show set for Thursday, May 5, 2016. Continuing their new tradition from last year, the annual U.S.-Japan Friendship Day, marking its 40th anniversary, will combine both the Fleet Air Wing 31 annual Base Festival and the traditional MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day in one exciting, fun-filled event that will include both static displays and aerial performances. Traditional American Favorites will be on sale including pizza, steak, hamburgers, hot dogs and their famous turkey legs. Japanese food vendors will also visit the air station with delicious food-stand favorites. Friendship Day is fun for the kids, too! They will have a full day’s worth of exciting slides, ball pits, mazes, and more to keep them entertained. To increase the security and safety of everyone, all adult visitors to the air station are asked to bring a form of identification. Failure to bring identification could result in delays entering due to security screening. Visitors who are not Japanese citizens are required to bring either alien registration card or passport and to fill a simple questionnaire prior to entry. All visitors to the air station will pass through a security screening checkpoint prior to entry.
• 5/5 (Thu., Hol.)
• 7:00~16:00 (for details, check the official website)
• MCAS Iwakuni
• Misumi-machi, Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi
24. Sakurai Jinja Shrine, Shimenawa Festival
One of the main tourism spots in the Itoshima region is Meoto-iwa in Futamigaura. Every year, a ceremony is held on one Sunday in late April ~ May to replace the shimenawa (straw garland) that encircles Meoto-iwa. This year the ceremony is planned to take place on May 8 (Sun.). At 30 m long and weighing 1 tonne, the Shimenawa will require 50 men to hang it over the rock.
• 5/8 (Sun.)
• 12:00~, shimenawa replacement: 15:00~17:00 *depends on tides
• Sakurai Jinja Shrine
• 4227 Shima Sakurai, Itoshima, Fukuoka
• 092-327-0317 (Sakurai Jinja Shrine)
25. Fukuoka International Women’s Tennis Cup 2016
About 60 pros, including WTA top 100 players and JTA top ten singles players, compete in singles and doubles matches. Watch qualifying rounds for free (5/8 ~ 5/9), or buy a 6-day pass including the main tournament (5/10 ~ 5/15). Kids’ camp, Junior & Senior Cup. Try out new models of tennis rackets too!
Fukuoka International Women’s Tennis
• 5/8 (Sun.) ~ 5/15 (Sun.)
• 6-day pass: Adult Adv. ¥800, Adult Door ¥1,000, HS and younger: Free; Qualifying Rounds: Free
• Hakata No Mori Tennis Court
• 1-1-1 Higashihiraokoen, Hakata-ku
• 092-722-1605 (during event period: 092-292-3962)
26. Ice Cream Fiesta 2016
May 9 is National Ice Cream Day! Major ice cream makers including Glico, Lotte, Morinaga, Meiji and Häagen-Dazs will participate in an event at Mitsukoshi Lion Hiroba. Free ice cream giveaways and lucky draws for those who like the Japan Ice-cream Society’s Facebook page.
• 5/15 (Sun.)
• 11:00~ (free giveaway until out of ice cream)
• Mitsukoshi Lion Hiroba
• 1F Solaria Terminal Bldg., 2-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icecream.or/
27. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks – Dontaku Hakata Day 2016
On Apr. 29, celebrate Hakata Dontaku with the SoftBank Hawks! For the Hawks vs. Seibu Lions match, you can buy a special nomihoudai (all-you-can-drink) ticket, which includes A seating (reserved)! Have as much beer (you must choose between Kirin and Asahi when buying your ticket), lemon sour cocktail, orange juice and oolong tea as you want! Drinks will be served from when the doors open to the seventh inning. Nomihoudai tickets for this game are on sale until Apr. 28 (Thu.) or until sold out. The balloons (released before the bottom of the seventh inning at each game, usually yellow) will be mentaiko red, and you’ll receive a Niwaka mask (11 types available). You can also see the six “Flower Cars”, the decorated vehicles which cruise around the city during the Dontaku period – they drive onto the field after the game. Also, on May 7 (Sat.), all female ticket holders get a free pink Hawks’ shirt (size M only), face sticker and scrunchie (high school girls also get a free Hawks charm).
• 4/29 (Fri.)
• Nomihoudai + A seating (reserved) ticket: ¥4,500
• Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome
• 2-2-2 Jigyohama, Chuo-ku
• 092-847-1006 (Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome)
28. Belgian Beer Weekend Fukuoka 2016
Celebrate 150 years of friendship between Belgium and Japan at this special edition of the annual beer festival! Enjoy 90 different Belgian beers (39 are new to the festival), live music from some of Belgium’s top artists, and Belgian comfort food, such as fries, waffles and meatballs.
Read our report on last year’s event!
• 5/12 (Thu.) ~ 5/15 (Sun.)
• Thu. ~ Fri.: 16:00~22:00, Sat.: 11:00~22:00, Sun.: 11:00~21:00
• ¥3,100 (incl. glass & 11 food/drink tokens; adv. tickets come with original BBW token pouch)
• Fureai Hiroba, Fukuoka City Hall
• 1-8-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
29. Hokkaido Fair in Fukuoka
One of the biggest Hokkaido fairs in Kyushu! Around 50 booths offer delicious Hokkaido fare, including rice with crab and salmon roe, barbecued seafood, meat and corn, and cantaloupe with soft cream (their best-seller!). Five rival ramen shops compete for your favor too! Enjoy in the park or take away.
• 5/12 (Thu.) ~ 5/15 (Sun.)
• 10:00~20:00 (5/15: ~18:00)
• Free entry
• Tenjin Chuo Park
• 1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
• 011-241-2314 (during event: 080-6067-2276)
Originally written in Apr. 2016.
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NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us. This report was originally written in Apr. 2016.