No plans for spending Golden Week in Fukuoka? Well never fear, because the Fukuoka Now staff have selected the best events and activities for Golden Week this year. Stay tuned for more Golden Week articles this week, including a rundown on Fukuoka’s biggest festival of the year – Dontaku!
Art Aquarium Exhibition 2018 – Hakata Goldfish Festival & Night Aquarium
This popular goldfish exhibition, which attracted over 8 million visitors throughout its run, returns to Fukuoka for the first time in two years! The displays makes use of cutting-edge technology, lighting, and video images that feature traditional Japanese motifs to decorate water tanks holding thousands of goldfish. The magical atmosphere provides a unique setting to view thousands of goldfish, a fish that has been popular with the Japanese public since the Edo Period. The last time the exhibition was staged, the huge Oiran tank contained 1,000 goldfish. It now returns as the Super Oiran tank and holds an impressive number of 3,000 goldfish! Each evening from 18:00 the venue transforms into a Night Aquarium, providing a sophisticated setting to appreciate the exhibition while enjoying various alcoholic drinks including an original cocktail. During Golden Week, performances by well-known DJs will add excitement and pump up the mood!
• 3/16 (Fri.) ~ 5/16 (Wed.)
• Mon. ~ Thu., Sun. and hol.: 10:00~21:00, Fri., Sat., and day before hol.: 10:00~22:00
• Adult ¥1,000, JHS and ES ¥600, under ES free
• JR Kyushu Hall
• 9F JR Hakata City, 1-1 Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku
Uminonakamichi Flower Picnic 2018
Head to Uminonakamichi to see approximately three million blooming spring flowers (1,000 varieties)! The annual ‘Flower Picnic’ takes place between March 24 to May 6; on weekends, there are various activities such as animal petting and feeding, craft workshops and brass and concerts. A special gourmet event called “C-1 Cup in Uminaka” will also take place in which food vendors sell various tasty treats, and the best food vendor wins a prize (10:00~17:00 on 4/48 ~ 4/30, 5/3 ~ 5/6).
• 3/24 (Sat.) ~ 5/6 (Sun.)
• Regular entry fees: Adult ¥450, 65 y.o. and above ¥210, JHS and under free
• Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
• 18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku
61st Kurume Tsutsuji Festival
Now in its 61st year, the Kurume Tsutsuji (azalea) Festival is one of the biggest plant festivals in Japan. Aside from over 2,000 azalea on show, there will also be flower, plant and bonsai markets, a model garden and bonsai exhibitions. Look forward to special taiko drum performances on weekends and holidays (canceled in case of rain). Buy Kurume food and drink too, such as bento and more!
Photo from the 2015 event. Source: KurumeCityKouhou
• 4/5 (Thu.) ~ 5/5 (Sat.)
• Kurume Hyakunen Park
• 2432-1 Kurumehyakunenkoen, Kurume City
• 0942-47-1875 (during event period: 0942-33-8316)
Yame Kurogi Wisteria Festival 2018
The star of the event is the 620-year-old Kurogi fuji (wisteria), a designated National Natural Monument with vines extending for meters. It’s visited by 200,000 people every year! Mid-April is prime viewing time. Browse the displays of local products and see the wisteria lit up at night (18:00~20:00).
Itoshima Handmade Carnival 2018
Around 150 artists sell their own creative items at this annual spring event, including natural sundries, accessories, bags, clothing and leather items. Hungry? Cafe and sweets booths as well as other booths selling sushi and hot sandwiches will also be set up. There are workshops which you can participate in too, and look forward to the lucky draw which will give away over 200 prizes!
Kyushu Beer Festival 2018 in Fukuoka Castle
Enjoy over 20 kinds of craft beers from six breweries (three from Kyushu, others from as far as Hokkaido) in one of Kyushu’s biggest craft beer festivals. This year the event is joined by the Kumamoto Umaimono Festival (food festival), so pair your brew with tasty Kumamoto delicacies such as horse meat skewers and satsumaage. Enjoy your craft beer away from the hustle and bustle of the city at Maizuru Park! Various performances will also be staged during the Hakata Dontaku festival period.
• 4/27 (Fri.) ~ 5/6 (Sun.)
• 11:00~21:00 (last day ~20:00)
• Adv. ¥5,000 (10 drinking tickets), door ¥5,500 (10 drinking tickets), additional ticket ¥600
• Nishi Hiroba, Maizuru Park
• 2-2 Jonai, Chuo-ku
• 092-841-6336 (K’s Brewing Company)
World Beer de Dontaku 2018
Enjoy good beer and good food at Bayside Hakata Place! Approximately 30 kinds of local and international beers (Grolsch Weitzen, Hyuganatsu Lager and more) will be on offer. Pair your ice cold craft beer with tacos, curry, roast chicken burgers and more tasty foods sold in booths lined up at the venue. Try to grab a special Dontag Glass too (only 40 available)!
• 4/28 (Sat.) ~ 5/6 (Sun.)
• Adv. ¥3,000 (equivalent to ¥3,300 worth of food/drink tickets), door ¥1,000 (equivalent to ¥1,000 worth of food/drink tickets)
• Seaside event space, Bayside Place Hakata
• Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku
Tenjin Chuo Park Global Village 2018
Global village aspires to unite people from around the world in Fukuoka! Fill up on food from around the world at stalls run by international Fukuoka residents and overseas students, shop at the bazaar, and enjoy folk songs and dances of different countries. Performances related to international exchange or to show off the culture of your home country are welcome. Don’t miss this chance to have a meaningful, multinational cultural exchange with people from various countries! Countries this year include: Iran, Peru, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Mongolia, China, Korea, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Sanix World Rugby Youth Tournament 2018
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. The venue is open to everyone! There will be free bus service between JR Akama Station and Global Arena every 30 min. from 8:30. Watch men’s and women’s rugby matches and cheer for your favorites. Children and adults alike can dive, tackle, and do other rugby moves at the Rugby Park. Watch bagpipe performances from world champions, the George Watson’s College Pipe Band, too. Have your fill of strawberry-themed food at the Ichigo Fair, and stalls by Munakata shops and restaurants will serve karaage, yakisoba, curry rice, and more.
Photo: Sanix Sports Foundation
• 4/28 (Sat.) ~ 5/5 (Sat.)
• Closed: 4/30 (Mon., hol.), 5/3 (Thu., hol.)
• 10:00~ (game times vary)
• Free entry
• Global Arena
• 46-1 Yoshidome, Munakata, Fukuoka
• 0940-33-8400 (Global Arena)
Golden Week Flowers – Spring Park Festival
Take a stroll through Shiranoe Botanical Garden, where visitors can enjoy viewing peonies, rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom during April to May. A range of events and workshops will take place inside the park during Golden Week this year, including a tea ceremony that will take place beneath momiji (Japanese maple) trees (4/29 & 5/5), a concert (5/4), and kokedama (plants on balls of moss) making (10:00~15:00 on 5/3 & 5/4). Make sure to also check out the water lilies, which are scheduled to be in bloom during Golden Week!
Spring Tea Ceremony: 4/29 (Sun.), 5/5 (Sat., hol.)
Soyokaze Concert: 5/4 (Fri., hol.)
Kokedama Making Workshop: 5/3 (Thu., hol.) & 5/4 (Fri., hol.) 10:00~15:00 (participating fee ¥500/kokedama)
• 4/28 (Sat.) ~ 5/6 (Sun.)
• 9:00~17:00 (last entry 16:30)
• Adult ¥200, JHS & ES ¥100 (free entrance on 5/4 and 5/5)
• Shiranoe Botanical Garden
• 2 Shiranoe, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu
Marine World Golden Week “Night Aquarium”
For nine nights over the Golden Week period, Marine World’s aquarium will be open until 21:30. Observe the activities of the fish and other sea creatures at night, and enjoy a nighttime dolphin show against the backdrop of Hakata Bay!
Photo: Marine World Uminonakamichi
Fukuoka Tower Gold Illumination
With special seasonal illuminations, Fukuoka Tower (234 m) has become a centerpiece of Fukuoka’s landscape. The landmark has become very popular with photographers, amateur and professional alike. During Golden Week, the tower will be lit up with a special gold-themed illumination. The Kyushu Beer Fair will also take place on the plaza in front of the tower, offering visitors delicious local food and beer. Stop by the beachfront to enjoy a walk by the sea, too!
115th Arita Ceramic Fair
Over one million people visit this annual festival in Arita, a town renowned for fine ceramics and porcelain known as aritayaki. Some 500 stalls and shops line the streets between Kami-arita Sta. and Arita Sta. sell discounted items. Go early at 6 am and buy a bowl of okayu (¥500) and take the ceramic bowl home!
Fukagawa-Seiji China on the Park 2018
Coinciding with the 115th Arita Ceramic Fair is the 30th anniversary of China on the Park! Leisurely browse for Aritayaki, and take a break at the restaurant and 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). A stamp rally will run throughout the event – collect six stamps and you could win a piece of chinaware. A shuttle bus will run every 30 minutes from Arita Sta. for the duration of the event (15 min. each way): buses from Arita Sta. to China on the Park start from 9:00~ (last bus departs at 16:00), buses from China on the Park to Arita Sta. start from 9:30~ (last bus departs at 16:30).
Hasami Ceramic Festival
Approximately 150 potters and manufacturers will gather to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this festival. Expect to find a range of items on display, from everyday tableware decorated with modern designs to unique ceramic gems. This is a real must for pottery fans out there!
• 4/29 (Sun.) ~ 5/5 (Sat., hol.)
• Yakimono Koen Hiroba (main venue), Hasami-Arita Inter Hiroba (2nd venue)
• 2255-2 Isekigo, Hasami-cho, Higashisonogi-gun, Nagasaki (free shuttle bus available 9:00~17:00)
Ishibashi Bunka Center Spring Rose Fair 2018
The 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. Look forward to the various events during Golden Week including live music performances, rose workshops (corsage making, cookie decorating, rose accessory making and more), displays of rose arrangements and kiribana (flower cutting). You can also buy rose seedlings and watch a potting demonstration. There will be a market and cafe for refreshments.
• 4/29 (Sun., hol.) ~ 5/20 (Sun.)
• Golden Week events: 5/3 (Thu., hol.) ~ 5/6 (Sun., hol.)
• 10:00~17:00 (Closed: Mon.)
• Free entry
• Ishibashi Bunka Center
• 1015 Nonaka-machi, Kurume
Shimenawa Festival at Sakurai Jinja Shrine
One of the main tourism spots in the Itoshima region is Meotoiwa in Futamigaura, the “Couples Rock” located 150 m from the beach. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and every year, a ceremony is held in late April to replace the shimenawa (straw garland) that encircles Meotoiwa. At 30 m long and weighing 1 ton, the shimenawa will require approximately 60 men to hang it over the rocks.
• 4/30 (Mon., hol.)
• 8:00~ (shimenawa replacement: 16:00~ *depends on tides)
• Sakurai Jinja Shrine
• 4227 Shima Sakurai, Itoshima City, Fukuoka
• 092-327-0317 (Sakurai Jinja Shrine)
Dontaku, derived from the Dutch word Zondag (holiday) is one of the largest festivals in Japan attracting two million spectators. On May 3 & 4, the parades begin with the Hakata Matsubayashi procession, which has celebrated the new year for the last 839 years. There will be food stalls, daytime performances on around 34 stages, and, in the evening, illuminated “Flower Cars” (decorated vehicles) roll through the streets. Spectators are also invited to jump in and join the So Odori communal dance as the May 4 parade comes to a climax!
For more information, check out our Hakata Dontaku 2018 Guide.
• 5/3 (Thu., hol.), 5/4 (Fri., hol)
• Parade times: 5/3 13:00~19:00, 5/4 15:00~20:00
• Around central Fukuoka City (the parade is along Meiji Dori Ave. ~ Tenjin)
Moji Port Festa 2018
One of Japan’s three biggest port festas. Enjoy watching a “banana auction” which is said to have originated at Moji Port (5/3: 13:00 & 17:00, 5/4: 13:30 & 14:30), a parade of Genji and Heike clan warriors (in costume only!), art performances and more. Don’t miss the taiko drum and yosakoi dance performances at Chuo Hiroba, and feast on local Moji food such as yakikare too. Stay until 20:00 on May 3 for the annual fireworks.
• 5/3 (Thu., hol.), 5/4 (Fri., hol.)
• 5/3: 13:00~20:00, 5/4: 11:00~17:00
• Mojiko Retro Chuo Hiroba
• 9-11 Minato-machi, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka
• 093-332-0106 (Mojiko Retro Club)
Sekiya Festival 2018
This annual event in Yanagawa organized by a long-standing store called Sekiya Kamaboko offers a fun range of attractions including a raffle draw, air trampoline, and kamaboko stacking games (small wooden boards). Fun for kids and the whole family! This year, Sekiya Kamaboko’s special Maboroshi Kamaboko Purin (custard pudding made with fish paste) returns after a ten-year absence. You’re sure to enjoy the taste of this healthy soy-based dessert! Don’t miss the chikuwa and tempura sold here, too. And of course, grab the chance to go boat cruising in Yanagawa’s famous canals.
Koishiwara Spring Ceramic Festival
Koishiwara is surrounded by beautiful nature and is famous for its ceramic kilns and artists. Fifty kilns participate in this festival in which you browse and shop for items with discounts of 20% or more. See rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom too! Free shuttle bus from JR Soeda Station.
• 5/3 (Thu., hol.) ~ 5/5 (Sat., hol.)
• Free entry
• Koishiwarayaki Ceramics Museum
• 730-9 Koishiwara, Toho-mura, Asakura-gun, Fukuoka
BRICKLIVE® in Japan 2018
The huge Brick Live Lego event is coming back to Kitakyushu! Visitors can explore the venue, which will be filled with 3 million pieces of Lego, and try their hand at building their own exciting creations. Lego experts will also be holding workshops, giving both adults and children the chance to learn how to put together new Lego worlds!
• 5/3 (Thu., hol.) ~ 5/6 (Sun.)
• 9:30~16:30 (last entry 16:00), 5/6: 9:30~16:00 (last entry 15:30)
• West Japan General Exhibition Center
• 3-8-1 Asano, Kokura kita-ku, Kitakyusyu Fukuoka
Dontaku Cosplay Parade 2018
Calling all otaku and fancy dress fanatics! The catchily named “Cosplay Dontaku Parade 2018” will be hitting Susaki Park on May 4. This anime-orientated blowout aims to promote cosplay and otaku culture in Fukuoka. Last year’s parade had 170 cosplayers! Arrive before the parade for a photograph session at Susaki Park as well as various stage events. The parade will pass through Kamikawabata Shotengai and end at Reisen Park.
• 5/4 (Fri., hol.)
• 10:00~20:30 (Stage event 11:00~14:30, Parade 18:28~)
• Parade and photograph session: ¥2,000; Photograph session at Susaki Park: ¥1,500
• Meeting point: Susaki Park
• 5-2 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
Fukuoka City Zoo and Botanical Garden – Free Entrance on May 4
The public is invited to enter the Fukuoka City Zoo and Botanical Garden free of charge on Midori no Hi (Green Day)! A free shuttle bus will be running from Ohorikoen Subway Sta. to the Botanical Garden. But if the weather’s nice, why not get off at Yakuin or Sakurazaka Station and walk the rest of the way? The garden’s budding green leaves will be a great background to enjoy a picnic with family and friends this Golden Week!
Japan Coffee Festival 2018
Coffee shops from all over the country participate in this event in which visitors can try coffee made from beans from all over the world! Don’t miss the chance to discover tasty new blends and learn more from leading coffee experts! Take your own cup to receive some great extra perks!
• 5/4 (Fri., hol.), 5/5 (Sat., hol.)
• 5/4: 10:00~20:00, 5/5: 13:00~18:00
• Free entry
• Umi Hachimangu Shrine
• 1-1-1 Kasuya-gun, Fukuoka
Dance to Caribbean-style rhythm this Golden Week! This exciting dance show will feature stars from the world of Latin dance. Catch the former main dancer of the Cuban national folk dance company Balodia, award-winning Argentine dancer Pablo (who was selected as a finalist in the group section of the World Latin Dance Cup), and Anacaona member Yuka in action. Enjoy the DJ performances too. Move to the music and show off your moves on the dance floor!
• 5/5 (Sat., hol.)
• Adv. ¥2,500 (Tiempo member ¥2,000), door ¥3,000
• Tiempo Iberoamericano
• 3F Daimyo 11511 Bldg., 1-15-11 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Friendship Day 2018
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni takes pleasure in announcing their joint open house, JMSDF/MCAS Iwakuni Friendship Day set for Saturday, May 5. This year marks the 42nd U.S.-Japan Friendship Day and combines 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. Look forward to the first aerial demonstration in Asia of F-35B Lightning II, the latest stealth fighter aircraft! 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.
Photo: Cpl. James Guillory
Kitsuki Castle Festival
This is the biggest festival of the year in Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture, a town which is referred to locally as little Kyoto. Don a kimono (rentals available) and join in the activities held all over the town including a ninja booth and more. Don’t miss this year’s Taishu-engaki (a genre of Japanese drama) show, “Dream” and other music and dance performances too. Travel back in time to the Edo period in this picturesque town.
• 5/5 (Sat., hol.), 5/6 (Sun.)
• 5/5: 10:00~20:00, 5/6: 10:00~15:00
• Jokamachi area
• Jokamachi, Kitsuki, Oita
• 0978-63-0100 (Kitsuki Tourism Organization)
Fukuoka Citizen Noh
As part of Sumiyoshi Shrine’s support for noh (a form of classical Japanese musical drama), the Fukuoka City Noh Kyogikai (council) presents a public performance at the shrine’s noh theater. Immerse yourself in the world of noh while seated up close to the wooden stage.
• 5/6 (Sun.)
• Adv.: adult ¥3,000, student ¥1,500; door: adult ¥3,500, student ¥2,000
• Sumiyoshi Jinja Shrine
• 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku
Fukuoka International Women’s Tennis Cup 2018
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 (5/6 , 5/7), or buy a 6-day pass including the main tournament (5/8 ~ 5/13). Participate in the kids’ camp on 5/6, 5/12 (¥500), try out new models of tennis rackets, and watch the Junior & Senior Cups, too.
• 5/6 (Sun.) ~ 5/13 (Sun.)
• Qualifying rounds: Free, 6-day pass: adv. ¥800, door ¥1,000, HS and under free
• Hakata No Mori Tennis Court
• 1-1-1 Higashihiraokoen, Hakata-ku
• 092-722-1605 (during event period: 092-292-3962)
Originally written in April 2016, updated April 2018.
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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.