Explore Hakata This Autumn: A Seasonal Journey Around the City
From September to November, the Hakata area, centered around the old town of Hakata, bursts with a diverse array of attractions—rich history, traditional charm, and vibrant bustle—and hosts numerous events and festivals. Among these are the “Hakata Light-Up Walk,” where you can enjoy strolling through the town as historic temples and shrines are illuminated, and the one-day-only “Hakata Illumination Watching,” inspired by the ancient practice of “Sentomyo,” lighting up the city with tens of thousands of lanterns.
These events offer numerous opportunities to experience and appreciate the local culture up close. Not to be missed is the “Hakata Kenban Autumn Parade,” a new staple of the autumn season in Hakata, featuring geigis from the Hakata Kenban district parading through the streets of the city. So come see, listen, and feel the essence of Hakata this autumn—on foot!
This guide is constantly being updated with more Akihaku events. Check back for more events! (last updated: Oct. 20, 2023)
• Regular Performances by Hakata Geisha (9/30, 10/7, 10/12)
• Treasures of the Marquis Kuroda Family (9/15～11/5)
• Nakasu Jazz 2023 (9/16, 17)
• Autumn Gourmet & Oktober Fest & Stamp Rally (9/15~10/31)
• Itoshima Marche (9/23, 9/24)
• Bayside Festival 2023 (9/23, 9/24)
• Hakata Traditional Crafts Exhibition (9/26~10/1）
• Hakata Magemono Exhibition (9/26~11/26)
• Walk Walk Hakata (9/30~11/5)
• Fukuoka/Hakata Traditional Crafts & Avispa Fukuoka Collaboration Exhibition 2023 (10/3~10/5)
• World of Akari Picture Exhibition (10/6~11/19)
• 8th Kawabata Night Festival (10/7)
• Making Hakata Magemono Round Bento Box (10/9)
• Hakata Kenban Geisha Autumn Parade (10/7)
• Sumiyoshi Shrine Reitaisai (10/12~14)
• The Oriental Market (10/14, 15)
• Hula Dance Event (10/14, 15)
• Sumiyoshi Shrine Noh Theater Architectural Tour (10/17)
• Hakata Old Town Festival (10/15~11/15)
• A wealthy merchant under the heaven and a Chikuzen emperor’s volunteer” lying in a temple in Hakata (10/18, 19, 21)
• Fukuoka Oktober Fest 2023 (10/20~10/29)
• Hakata Tomyo Watching (10/21)
• Experience the Art of Hakata Geisha: Make-up and Kimono Dressing 10/21 (Sat.) ~ 22 (Sun.), 10/28 (Sat.) ~ 29 (Sun.), 11/2 (Thu.) ~ 3 (Fri., hol.), 11/5 (Sun.), 11/11 (Sat.) ~ 12 (Sun.)
• Autumn Bayside Walking! Let’s Walk in Hakata City (10/22)
• Hakata Okunchi (10/23, 10/24)
• 48th Nakasu Festival (10/26~10/28)
• Hakata Magemono Exhibition – Hakata Machiya Kuruma-za Talk 2023 (10/28)
• Festa do Brasil (10/29)
• Hakata Old Town Light-up Walk 2023 (11/2~11/5)
• Painting with Ohajiki (11/3)
• 10th Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum Thanksgiving Festival 2023 (11/4, 5)
• Mini Tote Bag Making with Hakata-ori (11/5)
• Hakata-ori Workshop: Tapestry Weaving with Silk Threads (11/5)
• Hakata-Ori Exhibition (11/10~11/12)
• Otojiro Kawakami Memorial (11/11)
• Making Kaleidoscope (11/12)
• Jotenji Temple (Enmeikaku) Special Viewing Tour (11/17~19)
• Hakata Doll & Zodiac Doll Exhibition (11/21~11/26)
• Sumiyoshi Shrine Yokozuna Dohyo-iri Dedication – Cancelled
Regular Performances by Hakata Geisha
Experience the rich tradition of Hakata culture at the Hakata Traditional Performing Arts Center, conveniently located near the Kushida Shrine. Serving as both an office for Hakata Kenban and a practice venue, this center hosts bi-monthly performances by Hakata Geisha. Attendees have the opportunity to sit and appreciate the graceful dances performed by the Hakata Geisha. Following the performance, the event offers a variety of interactive experiences. Guests can partake in traditional parlor games, engage in a Q&A session with the Geisha, and even capture the moment with a commemorative photo. Don’t miss this chance to immerse yourself in Hakata’s traditional culture, all while enjoying the artistry and elegance of the local Geisha.
• 9/30 (Sat.), 10/7 (Sat.), 10/12 (Thu.)
• Thu., 16:00~16:50 / Sat., 13:00~13:50
• ¥3,000 / person *capacity: 20 people (first-come-first-served basis; registration required via the official website)
• Hakata Traditional Peforming Arts Center
• 2-20 Reisen-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Treasures of the Marquis Kuroda Family
Celebrate the 400th anniversary of the passing of Kuroda Nagamasa, the first feudal lord of the former Fukuoka domain, with a special exhibition at the Fukuoka City Museum. The exhibit features a valuable collection from the Kuroda family, some of which was generously donated to the city of Fukuoka in 1978. The collection also includes items acquired through deposits and purchases. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore approximately 140 items from this remarkable collection, ranging from the Meiji to the Showa era. Notable pieces include the National Treasure gold seal “Kan no Wa no Na no Kokuou” and the renowned spear “Nihon-go.” Don’t miss this unique opportunity to delve into the rich history of the Kuroda family and their impact on Fukuoka, through a display of national treasures and important cultural assets.
• 9/15 (Fri.) ~ 11/5 (Sun.)
• 9:30~17:30 (last entry 17:00)
• Closed: Mon. (open 9/18 and 10/9), 9/19 and 10/10
• ¥1,600, college & HS ¥1,200, JHS & ES ¥500 *includes admission tickets to the permanent exhibition rooms and special exhibition rooms
• Fukuoka City Museum
• 3-1-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
Nakasu Jazz 2023
The vibrant sounds of jazz will envelop Nakasu, the largest entertainment district in Western Japan, at the annual urban music festival—NAKASU JAZZ. The festival features a diverse lineup of about 80 artists and bands performing throughout Nakasu, offering a broad spectrum of jazz styles. Highlights include performances by Fukuoka-based hard bop jazz band “Fukuoka Joe,” a unique fusion session between Fukuoka’s professional Wadaiko team “Chikushi Syuraku” and the eclectic “BimBomBam Gakudan,” who incorporate diverse Gypsy sounds. Also taking the stage are the contemporary jazz-rock piano trio “fox capture plan,” jazz-funk girl band “Tokyo Groove Jyoshi,” along with Mizutani Chieko, and many more artists active both in Japan and internationally. Don’t miss this extravaganza of jazz music, where the streets of Nakasu come alive with soulful tunes and energetic performances!
• 9/16 (Sat.), 9/17 (Sun.)
• 17:00~22:00 (approx.)
• Free entry
• Nakasu area, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka (8 stages per day, total of 16 stages planned)
Bayside Festival 2023
Experience live performances from artists across four stages at Bayside Place’s biggest music fest. The event features a beachfront main stage and a specially designed DJ Zone with state-of-the-art sound systems. Adding to the excitement, attendees can enjoy a one-of-a-kind live stage aboard a chartered sightseeing boat that tours Hakata Bay—limited to one sailing per day with a restricted number of passengers. Best of all, the boat stage is free to enjoy! Revel in Bayside’s uniquely open atmosphere while soaking in the music. On the 23rd, basketball courts will also be open to the public, inviting everyone to casually enjoy some hoops.
Pre-Event Night Lounge: Hakata Paradise
On the eve of the event (September 22), the observation room of the Hakata Port Tower will be reserved for a one-night-only luxurious lounge event called “Hakata Paradise,” featuring DJ performances.
• 9/23 (Sat.), 9/24 (Sun.)
• Free entry
• Bayside Place Hakata
• 13-6 Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Hakata Traditional Crafts Exhibition
Discover the rich history and craftsmanship behind Fukuoka Prefecture’s designated traditional crafts with strong ties to Hakata. This exhibition showcases and offers for sale a variety of artisanal works, including Hakata Magemono (bentwood containers), Hakata Hariko (papier-mâché dolls), Multi Glass, Hakata Okiage, and Imajuku Dolls.
Fukuoka Now reference articles:
• Fukuoka’s Beautiful Multi Glass
• Hakata Hariko: Must-have Good Luck Charms for Local Festivals
• Famous local product – Hakata magemono
• 9/26 (Tue.) ~ 10/1 (Sun.)
• 9:30~17:30 (last entry 17:00)
• Free entry
• Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum
• 2F Fukuoka City Museum, 3-1-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
8th Kawabata Night Festival
Connecting Canal City and Hakata Riverain, the bustling Kawabata Shopping Arcade comes alive with a special flea market stretching over its 400-meter length, starting from midday. As the evening approaches, the festivities kick off. A designated dining area allows visitors to eat, drink, and play, offering enjoyment for both adults and children alike. Near the Riverain end of the arcade, a specially erected stage will feature live music performances.
Hakata Kenban Geisha Autumn Parade
Autumn in Hakata is affectionately known as “Akihaku,” a season brimming with events and festivals throughout the area. From temple and shrine illuminations to special exhibitions at cultural facilities, there’s no shortage of exploratory opportunities. Adding a touch of elegance to Akihaku is the Geisha Parade, organized by Hakata Kenban. The procession starts at Kawabata Shopping Arcade and continues to the Hakata Traditional Performing Arts Center, adjacent to Kushida Shrine. Upon arrival at the center, attendees can enjoy performances by the geishas.
• 10/7 (Sat.)
• Free viewing (Performances are charged at ¥3,000)
• Kawabata Shopping Arcade ~ Hakata Traditional Performing Arts Center
Sumiyoshi Shrine Reitaisai
Among over 2,000 Sumiyoshi Shrines nationwide, this particular shrine is one of the oldest and has long been revered as the guardian deity of maritime safety and ships. The Grand Festival originated as a way to give thanks for the safe return of the Empress Jingu from Korea, featuring sumo wrestling and horseback archery as offerings.
• Evening Festival: October 12, starts at 4:00 PM
• Main Shrine Ceremony: October 13, starts at 10:00 AM
• Closing Ceremony: October 14, starts at 10:00 AM
After the religious ceremonies, don’t miss the exciting horseback archery event (yabusame), starting at 11:00 AM on October 13.
The Oriental Market
Hosted at the historic Sumiyoshi Shrine, renowned as a sanctuary for those seeking blessings for safe journeys abroad, this open-air market is a vibrant celebration of global culture. Visitors can explore around 50 eclectic stalls that line the pathway to the shrine, featuring an array of artisanal goods and international gourmet treats from continents like Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia. With a mix of local vendors and expatriate participants, the market has become a popular hub for cultural exchange.
Sumiyoshi Shrine Noh Theater Architectural Tour
Following an extensive two-year restoration, the Noh Theater at Sumiyoshi Shrine is poised for its grand reopening. To mark this significant occasion, a special guided tour will be offered, led by knowledgeable shrine priests and Fukuoka City experts. The tour will explore the architectural marvels of the shrine, spotlighting its main hall—a nationally recognized Important Cultural Property. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis for up to 20 participants at the shrine’s office on the day of the event. The tour will be conducted in Japanese and is expected to last around 30 minutes.
• 10/17 (Tue.)
• 1st session 7:00~, 2nd session 14:00
• Free entry (registration starts 10 min. before each session in front of the shrine office of Sumiyoshi Shrine)
• Capacity: 20 people on a first-come, first-served basis\
• Sumiyoshi Shrine
• 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Fukuoka Oktober Fest 2023
Returning once again to Reisen Park, the ever-popular Oktoberfest has become a staple event in Fukuoka. As the only Oktoberfest in Japan officially recognized by the Bavarian Beer Association, this festival offers an authentic experience complete with draft beers imported from Germany, beer cocktails, wines, and a delectable array of German cuisine including sausages, meat dishes, breads, and pastries. Inside a specially erected, circus-like tent, traditional musical ensembles from Bavaria will perform, ensuring a lively atmosphere day after day. Come join the festivities and raise a toast—Prost!—for a delightful time for all!
• 10/20 (Fri.) ~ 10/29 (Sun.)
• 16:00~22:00 (Mon. to Fri.), 11:00~22:00 (Sat., Sun.)
• Free entry
• Reisen Park
• 7 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Hakata Tomyo Watching 2023
For one magical night, the central area of Hakata comes alive in a radiant glow, thanks to approximately 40,000 handmade lanterns crafted by local residents. This enchanting event illuminates the city’s landmarks, historical sites, temples, shrines, and narrow alleys. Drawing over 30,000 visitors annually, attendees can leisurely stroll through the streets, enjoying the intricate ground paintings visible from above and the elegant lanterns that light up the corners of the city.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of this community-led event, and the theme is “Towards Tomorrow,” symbolizing a bright and hopeful future. The lantern-illuminated ground paintings can be viewed at various locations, including Hakata Elementary School, Hakata Riverain, Kushida Shrine, Jotenji Street, and Ohama Park’s Hamakaze Plaza.
• 10/21 (Sat.) *rain or shine
• Free entry
• Reisen area (Kushida Shrine), Naraya area (Hakata elementary school), Ohama area, Gokusho area, Hakata Riverain, Hakata Sennen no Mon area (Tomyo map)
Experience the Art of Hakata Geisha: Make-up and Kimono Dressing
Don’t miss this special opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of Hakata Geisha. Participants can not only experience the intricate make-up and kimono dressing but also enjoy a ride in a traditional rickshaw, fully dressed in Geisha attire. Professional photographers will capture the moment as you hold a paper lantern or Japanese umbrella. Pre-registration is available via the official website.
Special Discount: Attendees who bring a ticket to the “Hakata Old Town Light-Up Walk,” taking place from November 2nd to 5th, can enjoy a discounted rate of ¥10,000, down from the regular price of ¥15,000.
• 10/21 (Sat.) ~ 22 (Sun.), 10/28 (Sat.) ~ 29 (Sun.), 11/2 (Thu.) ~ 3 (Fri., hol.), 11/5 (Sun.), 11/11 (Sat.) ~ 12 (Sun.)
• Time: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 15:00, 16:00 (duration: 3 hours)
• Experience fee ¥15,000 (reservations required by the day before the workshop.)
*Wear a tank top for underwear (if you have kimono underwear, tabi socks, and zori sandals, bring them with you).
• Dekimachi Park
• 1-10 Hakataekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Get ready for a vibrant festival in Nakasu, the largest entertainment district in Kyushu. Nakasu Avenue transforms into a pedestrian paradise, lined with over 60 food and drink stalls. Highlights include the “Nakasu Kunihiro Women’s Mikoshi,” where 500 women carry a portable shrine through the Nakasu area. The parade departs from Kunihiro Shrine at 7:30 pm on the 27th and 7:00 pm on the 28th. Another must-see is the “Oiran Dochu,” where four elegantly dressed courtesans slowly parade through the streets at 7:00 pm on the 27th (in case of rain, the event will move to the 28th).
Pre-festival Bar-Hopping Event: On the 26th, the festival kicks off with a bar-hopping event where you can visit three selected long-standing and popular clubs in Nakasu for just ¥3,500.
Hakata Old Town Light-up Walk 2023
Experience the magic of Hakata after dark in this annual nighttime event where venerable temples and shrines are beautifully illuminated. Over a span of four days, a total of 13 venues—including both free and ticketed locations—will open areas normally closed to the public for this special occasion. This year’s lighting theme is “Hana” (flower), transforming these historic sites into artistic landscapes. Revel in the enchanting atmosphere of Hakata, which takes on a completely different character when illuminated. Popular venues are expected to have long lines, so plan to arrive with time to spare.
Additional Attractions: During the event, Kushida Shrine will host a Japanese sake tasting event and a jazz concert, while Jotenji Temple will feature a nighttime market.
• 11/2 (Thu.) ~ 11/5 (Sun.) *rain or shine
• 17:30~21:00 (last entry 20:45)
• Paper tickets ¥2,500, e-tickets ¥2,450 (¥200 discount for adv. tickets), free for JHS and under
• Fee required: Jotenji Temple, Tochoji Temple, Myorakuji Temple, Engakuji Temple, Hongakuji Temple, Zendoji Temple, Myotenji Temple, Kaigenji Temple, Kushida Shrine, Ryuguji Temple
• Free entrance: Jotenji Temple (Buddhist Hall), Ichigyoji Temple (only Sanmon Gate), Hakata Sennen no Mon, Katsuragi Jizo-son
With a history spanning over 780 years, Hakata-ori is a renowned woven fabric that originated from techniques learned by Hakata merchants in China and was even presented as a tribute to the Edo Shogunate. Recognized as a traditional craft of Japan, the annual Hakata-ori New Works Appraisal event takes place every autumn at Jotenji Temple, a location deeply connected to Hakata-ori. This year marks the 121st iteration of the event, offering a rare opportunity for the public to visit the usually private Jotenji Temple. Visitors can leisurely explore the temple’s stunning Japanese rock garden alongside the showcased Hakata-ori pieces.
• 11/10 (Fri.) 14:00~17:00, 11/11 (Sat.) 10:00~17:00, 11/12 (Sun.) 10:00~15:00
• Free entry
• Jotenji Temple
• 1-29-9 Hakata-ekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Hakata Sennen-no-Mon Gate
1-29-9 Hakataeki-mae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Just a 10-minute stroll from Hakata Station will lead you to the emblematic Hakata Sennen-no-Mon Gate
Hakata Akihaku Official Website