There are lots to see and do at the Hojoya Festival, and we have a detailed guide so you won’t miss out on anything! Autumn in Hakata is not complete without a trip to Hakozaki Shrine. Every year, more than a million people visit the shrine during the festival. The Hojoya festival originates from the teachings of the kami Hachiman, and has continued for more than 1,000 years to give thanks for the blessings of nature and the souls of living creatures, as well as for praying for successful businesses and safety for families.
Aside from observing Shinto rituals such as offering gifts to the gods, the biggest draw for modern visitors is the 500 or so stalls lining both sides of the approach to the shrine. The variety of stalls goes beyond typical festival fare such as candied apples, fried squid, yakitori and takoyaki, to stalls with goldfish catching, pinball-like game, “smart ball” and other games, and the even more-funny-than-scary “haunted houses.” Chanpon, glass instruments intricately hand-painted by miko (shrine maidens) are one of the most popular and iconic souvenirs of the festival. This year, visitors can buy them at the shrine fudasho (where omamori are sold) for the duration of the festival, starting from 7:30 am on Sep. 12. The festival is at its busiest between 18:00 and 20:00, and especially on weekends. Some stalls start to close up at around 9 pm (with the latest staying until approximately 11 pm), but the area is often busy until 22:00. Also, some stalls close much earlier on the last day, so we advise going early!
For a detailed schedule, history, this year’s special attractions, photos, videos, and much more – click here to read our guide to Hojoya Festival 2019.