The Hakata area comes alive in fall, with the Hakata Akihaku (Autumn Festa) – a series of colorful events and festivals from October to November – some of which have been running for hundreds of years. Hakata Akihaku 2017 will once again feature an exceptional variety of colorful, must-see events, ranging from those imbued with historical romance at the shrines and temples of Hakata, to concerts, art, dramas, walking tours, and lectures. It’s a great chance to deepen your knowledge of Hakata’s history and enjoy the feast of arts, food, and music.
For the time being, here are eight Akihaku events; but check back soon as we will add at least another dozen events for you to enjoy!
Wa no Hakata Opening Event
On Sat. Sep. 16, the beautiful Jotenji-dori Ave. turns into a pedestrian paradise to celebrate the start of Akihaku. At the end of the avenue near Hakata Sennen-no-Mon, four food and drink booths including a nihonshu (Japanese sake) bar will be setup, providing a festive mood. Geisha dance performance, Hakata-ori exhibit, and more events with the theme of wa (Japanese culture) will take place in Jotenji Temple. Come in a kimono and have your photo taken for free by a photographer on site. Huge noren (curtain) will be hanging from Hakata Sennen-no-Mon, making it the perfect spot for a memorable photo.
Sumiyoshi Shrine Reitaisai
The festival is said to have begun as a way of thanking the Sumiyoshi gods for the legendary Empress Jingu’s safe return from Korea by holding sumo and archery matches. Children wearing Heian-era clothes march in a parade, and intense, traditional Japanese archery while riding on horseback called yabusame will be held. Feel the excitement as elementary students battle it out to be the yokozuna (sumo grand champion) in the young men’s sumo tournament.
• 10/12 (Thu.) ~ 10/14 (Sat.)
• 10/12 (Thu.): children’s procession 16:00~
• 10/13 (Fri.): young sumo wrestling competition 9:00~12:00, yabusame (horseback archery) 11:30~
• Sumiyoshi Shrine
• 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku
Fukuoka Oktoberfest 2017
Oktoberfest has become one of the most popular autumn events in Fukuoka. This year enjoy 16 brands of authentic draft beer, German sausages and other traditional foods and breads. Cheery music from an authentic German folk band straight from Munich will surely fire up the festive mood inside the huge tent! “Prost!”
• 10/20 (Fri.) ~ 10/29 (Sun.)
• 16:00 ~ 22:00 (Mon. ~ Fri.), 11:00 ~ 22:00 (Sat. ~ Sun.)
• Free (charge for foods & drinks)
• Reisen Park
• Kamikawabatamachi 7, Hakata-ku
Hakata Tomyo Watching 2017
Each October, Hakata streets are illuminated with tens of thousands of paper lanterns. Stroll through the many narrow side streets to see small and large creative lantern formations plus some foods and drinks stalls too. This event, organized by local families, children and others, has become a major event, synonymous with autumn in Hakata. Free shuttle buses to and from Bayside Place Hakata and Tochoji Temple.
• 10/21 (Sat.)
• JR Hakata Station, Gokusho area, Tochoji Temple, Ohama Park, Hakata Elementary School, Naraya area, around Kushida Shrine, Hakata Riverain, Hakata Wharf area, Bayside Place Hakata, Hakata Sennenmon, etc.
Hakata Kenjo Dochu
Crowds gather at this annual autumn event to watch the parade of women in traditional kimono. At this year’s parade, women clad in black kimono and Hakata kenjo obi (a traditional local craft) will walk in procession, accompanied by men with flags and lanterns.
• 10/21 (Sat.)
• 17:20~ Fukuya, Kamikawabata Shotengai (Canal City side), 17:50: Hakataza Theater→ 18:15~ Hakataekimae Hiroba (Hakata-guchi side)→ 18:30 Tochoji Temple→ 19:30 Jotenji Temple, Hakata Sennenno Mon stage
• In case of rain, Kawabata Shotengai only (18:00~)
• 092-409-5162 (Hakata Kenjo Dochu exec. committee)
• http://hakatakenjyou.wix.com/hakata, http://hakatakenjyou.wix.com/hakata#!2013/c1l1t, http://hakata-akihaku.com/event/2045
This traditional festival, with 1,200 years of history, gives thanks to the gods for autumn’s harvest. An ox-drawn carriage pulls an ornate mikoshi (divine palanquin/portable shrine), while children wearing traditional kimono with shishigashira (lion mask) and tachi-eboshi (brimless headgear worn by court nobles) walk in a parade together with a marching band, starting at Kushida Shrine and weaving around the Hakata area.
42nd Nakasu Matsuri
Watch as Nakasu becomes a pedestrian paradise, with wagons lining the streets to sell food and stages hosting amateur wrestling, karaoke contests, taiko drum performances and more. Don’t miss the Kunihiro Onna Mikoshi: a rare view of 300 women carrying a float around the streets (10/27: 19:25~, 10/28: 18:50).
• 10/27 (Fri.) ~ 10/29 (Sun.) *10/27: sake event only
• Hashigo sake-hopping event: adv.: ¥3,000, door: ¥3,500 (incl. 3 drinks and 3 snacks, for sale at Lawson stores nationwide)
• Nakasu 1 ~ 5-chome, Hakata-ku
Hakata Halloween Costume Parade and Contest 2017
Get in the Halloween spirit watching hundreds of participants wearing creepy and creative costumes in the 9th annual parade from Hakata Riverain to Canal City. This is one of the biggest Halloween parades in Kyushu with 500 in attendance. All participants are awarded a small souvenir gift, and best dressers are awarded big prizes after the parade – first prize is ¥150,000! Want to join the parade and costume contest? Registration will begin from 9/22 (Fri.) 10:00 on the official website, open to the first 500 registrants!
This guide is constantly being updated with more Akihaku events. Check back for more events!