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Hakata Akihaku Guide 2018

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 2018 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. You can check the official website for more details here:

This guide offers descriptions and details on 27 official Hakata Akihaku 2018 events. As of today, there are just 16 events here, but we’ll add details on the remaining 11 events within a few days, so please check back.

Event schedule
Please check each event below for details.

8/3 (Fri.) ~ 10/28 (Sun.): Fukuoka Freedom Night Market
9/1 (Sat.) ~ 12/28 (Fri.): Hakata Machiya Autumn Events
9/29 (Sat.): “Wa no Hakata” Opening Event
9/27 (Thu.) ~ 11/20 (Tue.): Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum
10/7 (Sun.): “Rin” Traditional Emaki Picture Theater 2018
10/5 (Fri.) ~ 10/8 (Mon.): Fish Festival 2018
10/5 (Fri.) ~ 10/9 (Tue.), 10/12 (Fri.) ~ 10/14 Sun.): Sumiyoshi Shrine Reitaisai
10/12 (Fri.) ~ 10/16 (Tue.): Hakata Jocho Tour
10/19 (Fri.) ~ 10/28 (Sun.): Fukuoka Oktoberfest 2018
10/20 (Sat.): 24th Hakata Tomyo Watching 2018
10/20 (Sat.), 10/21 (Sun.): Japanese Style Oriental Market in Sumiyoshi
10/23 (Tue.), 10/24 (Wed.): Hakata Okunchi
10/23 (Tue.) ~ 10/25 (Thu.): 6th Gokusho Horoyoi Bar & Restaurant Hopping
10/25 (Thu.) ~ 10/27 (Sat.): 43rd Nakasu Matsuri
10/28 (Sun.): Hakata Costume Parade and Contest 2017
10/31 (Wed.) ~ 11/4 (Sun.): Hakata Light Up Walk 2018
10/31 (Wed.) ~ 11/4 (Sun.): Hakata Old Town Marugoto Museum
11/2 (Fri.): Sumiyoshi Shrine Yokozuna Dohyo-iri Dedication
11/2 (Fri.): Kawabata Night Bazaar
11/3 (Sat.): Hakata Kenjo Dochu
11/9 (Fri.) ~ 11/11 (Sun.): 116th Hakata Ori Exhibition
11/11 (Sun.): Otojiro Kawakami Memorial

Fukuoka Freedom Night Market 2018

The Fukuoka Freedom Night Market will take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from the beginning of August to the end of October. Located in Seiryu Park just beside Canal City, it’s easily accessible on foot from both Tenjin and Hakata. Browse a range of booths offering food and drink from popular Fukuoka and Kyushu restaurants, as well as booths offering accessories and handicrafts, massages, fortune telling, artwork, games, and more. New booths and live acts are rotated in every weekend! Whether you live in Fukuoka or are visiting from overseas, this annual summer outdoor night market is very entertaining. Free Wi-Fi available, too!

• 8/3 (Fri.) ~ 10/28 (Sun.)
• Every Fri., Sat. and Sun.
• Closed: 9/21 (Fri.) ~ 9/23 (Sun.), 10/5 (Fri.) ~ 10/7 (Sun.) and during other special events
• 15:00~23:00
• Free entry
• Seiryu Park
1-7 Nakasu, Hakata-ku
• Facebook:

“Wa no Hakata” Opening Event

On Sep. 29 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, there will be four food and drink booths selling nihonshu (Japanese sake), kamaboko (fish paste) and Japanese handicrafts (chopsticks, sandals and more). Events with the theme of wa (Japanese culture) will take place in Jotenji Temple such as tsugaru shamisen performance (11:00), ningyojoruri puppet show (12:00), traditional Japanese buyo dance with Chikuzen biwa lute (13:30) and gengakujuso string quartet performance (18:00). There will also be workshops on Hakata doll painting, magemono (wooden box) painting, pochibukuro (pouch) making, Hakata ori handweaving and more (reservations required). Huge noren (curtain) will be hanging from Hakata Sennen-no-Mon, making it the great spot for a memorable photo. Come in kimono for that picture-perfect Japanese shot!

• 9/29 (Sat.)
• 10:00~18:00
• Free
Jotenji Temple, Jotenji-dori Ave.

“Rin” Traditional Emaki Picture Theater 2018

A full-scale noh theater production will take place outside Hakata Station, treating the public to this classic Japanese performing art. The first act will feature traditional hogaku music and a torch lighting ceremony while the second act will feature a production of the play Hagoromo taking place beside blazing torches. This style of open-air theater is known as takiginoh. The day before on Oct. 6, enjoy free performances by traditional Japanese dancers, noh actors, wadaiko drummers, and Chikuzen biwa lute players (10/6: 11:00~19:30, 10/7: 11:00~14:30).

• 10/7 (Sun.) *10/6 (Sat.): free performances
• 18:30 (doors open 17:30)
• Adv.: S seat ¥6,000, A seat ¥5,000, door: S seat ¥6,500, A seat ¥5,500 (*free seating)
• JR Hakata Ekimae Hiroba (*will be moved to JR Kyushu Hall, 9F JR Hakata City in case of rain)
1-1 Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku
• Tickets sold at Hakata Sta. Information Center (*English, Chinese, Korean languages available)

Fish Festival 2018

This festival will give children the chance to discover the delicious flavor of fish. A total of 11 restaurants from throughout the country will prepare a range of fresh, seasonal seafood dishes for diners to sample. Aside from the delicious food, there will also be enjoyable events for parents and children, including shrimp catching and catching fish by hand! There’s also a talk on how to inspect fish when buying. The packed schedule is aimed at all ages, so be sure to check it out!

• 10/5 (Fri.) ~ 10/8 (Mon., hol.)
• 10:00~19:00 (10/5:15:00~ )
• Free entry
• Bayside Place Hakata (seaside event place)
13-6 Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku
092-281-7701 (10:00~18:00)

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 (Fri.) ~ 10/14 (Sun.)
• 10/12 (Fri.): young sumo wrestling competition 9:00~12:00, children’s procession 16:00~
• 10/13 (Sat.): yabusame (horseback archery) 11:30~
• Sumiyoshi Jinja Shrine
3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku

Hakata Jocho Tour

Fukuoka City initially grew into the city that it is today from two towns: the merchant town of Hakata and the samurai town of Fukuoka. This guided tour will take participants around some of the most famous sites, providing insight into each history of the two distinctive sections of the city. There are four routes with different themes and destinations. Please be aware that the tours are only available in Japanese. Reservations recommended.

• 10/5 (Fri.) ~ 10/9 (Tue.), 10/12 (Fri.) ~ 10/16 (Tue.)
• 10:00~, 14:00~ (time required: 2 hours)
• ¥500 ~ ¥2,000 (depending on the course)
• 10-person limit per course
• Kushida Jinja Shrine *Starting point for each tour
1-41 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata-ku
080-8397-9256 (for reservations and inquiries, 10:00~15:30)

Fukuoka Oktoberfest 2018

Oktoberfest is popular here too! This Bavarian festival returns with a huge beer tent, 12 varieties of German beer, performances by a Bavarian folk band and a great selection of German food, from sausages to pretzels. Enter the huge, circus-like tent by saying “Prost!” (Cheers!) and have a good time!

• 10/19 (Fri.) ~ 10/28 (Sun.)
• 16:00~22:00 (Sat. & Sun.: 11:00~)
• Free entry
• Reisen Park
7 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku

24th Hakata Tomyo Watching 2018

Enjoy one of Hakata’s finest illuminations, as the area’s shrines and temples are lit in spectacular fashion by tens of thousands of lanterns, handmade by the local community. Discover art installations scattered in the area. A free bus will run between attractions at Bayside Place Hakata and Tochoji Temple.

Photo provided by the City of Fukuoka

• 10/20 (Sat.)
• 18:00~21:00
• Free
• Hakata area (Ohama area, Gokusho area, Kushida Jinja Shrine, Naraya area, Hakata Riverain, Hakata Ekimae Hiroba, Hakata Sennen-no-Mon, Tochoji Temple, Bayside Place ~ Hakata Port Int’l Terminal, former Reisei Elem. School)

What is Tomyo Watching?
Traditionally, tomyo lanterns are illuminated as votive offerings to the gods and Buddha, or at memorial services (供養). The Hakata Tomyo Watching festival started in 1994, inspired from a traditional ceremony called Sentomyo that is held at temples and shrines in Fukuoka and Oita in which 1,000 paper lanterns are lit up. The beautifully illuminated paper lanterns symbolize prayers for good health and the well-being of one’s family.

Japanese Style Oriental Market in Sumiyoshi

Browse a wide range of imported goods and food from 20 different countries as this annual event returns to Fukuoka, bigger than ever! The approach to the Sumiyoshi Shrine will be lined with stalls selling homewares, accessories, clothes and more, run by popular local shops, a number of which are owned by local non-Japanese residents. As you wander the market, drop by some of the food and drink stalls and indulge in the ethnic cuisine on offer.

• 10/20 (Sat.), 10/21 (Sun.) *will be postponed to the following week in case of inclement weather
• 10:00~18:00
• Free entry
• Sumiyoshi Jinja Shrine
3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku

Hakata Okunchi

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 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. On Oct. 23 look forward to events including Gokokuhojo Market selling seasonal fish and vegetables (10:00~16:00), free amazake (10:00~16:00), Sentomyo (18:00~21:00) and honosumo ritual matches.

Photo provided by the City of Fukuoka

• 10/23 (Tue.) ~ 10/24 (Wed.)
• 10/23: Autumn Festival 11:00~, 10/24: parade 14:00~
• Kushida Shrine and Hakata area
092-291-2951 (Kushida Shrine)

6th Gokusho Horoyoi Bar & Restaurant Hopping

A popular restaurant hopping event! Gokusho is an area teeming with historical shrines and temples, as well as older shops and restaurants. Have lunch, dinner, or even just snacks and drinks at a few places. Around 30 places to choose from – check out the ones you’ve never been to before, or visit old haunts.

• 10/23 (Tue.) ~ 10/25 (Thu.)
• Book of 6 tickets: adv. ¥3,000, door ¥3,600
• Gokusho area
Gokushomachi, Hakata-ku
092-283-3775 (Gokusho Shuhen Horoyoi Sotsukitai Office)
• Tickets sold at participating stores, Kumatakoya (101 Tanaka Bldg., 1-34 Kamigofuku-machi, Hakata-ku), Gokusho Shuhen Horoyoi Sotsukitai Office (2F Yoshii Bldg., Kamigofuku-machi, Hakata-ku)

43rd 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 500 women carrying a float around the streets (10/26: 19:25~, 10/27: 18:50~). Join a bar hopping event at three popular restaurants in Nakasu (10/25: 19:30) too. The Nakasu Halloween Night will be held at the same time, so join the fun and come in costume!

• 10/25 (Thu.) ~ 10/27 (Sat.) *10/25: hashigo sake hopping event only
• 18:00~22:00
• Free
• Hashigo sake hopping event: adv.: ¥3,000, door: ¥3,500 (incl. 3 drinks and 3 snacks, for sale at Lawson stores nationwide)
Nakasu 1-chome to 5-chome, Hakata-ku

Hakata Light Up Walk 2018

Historic temples, shrines and gardens in the Hakata area will be beautifully illuminated for five nights during the first week of November. This year’s theme is Hakata ori, and the event will provide visitors with the chance to enter a number of locations that are not usually open to the public. Some of the sites are likely to get busy, so arrive early to avoid queues. There will also be a special Hakata stall set up in Kushida Shrine. You can enter ten sites with single one-day pass.

• 10/31 (Wed.) ~ 11/4 (Sun.)
• 17:30~21:00 (last entry 20:45)
• Free entrance (Kushida Shrine, Shojoji Temple, Ichigyoji Temple, Hakata Sennen-no-mon, Katsuragi Jizo, Hakata Machiya Folk Museum, Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum)
• Fee required (Kushida Shrine main hall and Shimeagatainaka Shrine, Jotenji Temple, Tochoji Temple, Myorakuji Temple, Engakuji Temple, Myodenji Temple, Shojoji Temple, Hongakuji Temple, Zendoji Temple, Kaigenji Temple, Ryuguji Temple)
• Adult: adv. ¥1,000, door ¥1,500, JHS and younger: free (must be accompanied by adult)
• Tickets sold at Fukuoka City Tourist Information Center, Hakata Machiya Folk Museum, Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum, Kushida Shrine, Ticket Pia, Lawson Ticket, Seven Ticket and E-Plus Ticket
092-419-1012 (weekdays 9:00~17:00)

Sumiyoshi Shrine Yokozuna Dohyo-iri Dedication

Sumo is the national sport of Japan and encompasses three core elements: mind (kokoro), spirit (ki), and body (karada). The sumo god of ki is enshrined and worshipped at Sumiyoshi Shrine. The yokozuna dohyo-iri dedication is an official ceremony in which a yokozuna (grand champion of sumo) enters the sumo ring. It is an official event held annually by the Japan Sumo Association before the Kyushu Basho. The event usually attracts more than 3,000 visitors and is free to all attendees. Official dohyo-iri events are held in only 5 locations in Japan.

• 11/2 (Fri.)
• Approx. 14:00~
• Free viewing
• Sumiyoshi Jinja Shrine
3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku

Hakata Kenjo Dochu

Crowds gather at this annual, symbolic autumn event to watch the parade of women in traditional kimono. This year’s parade features a special course in celebration of the 777th anniversary of Hakata ori! Women clad in black kimono and Hakata kenjo obi (a traditional local craft) will walk in procession, accompanied by men with flags and lanterns.

16:00~17:00 Marine Messe Fukuoka (7-1 Okihama-machi, Hakata-ku)
Hakata Kenjo Dochu introduction, geigi dance, shamisen performance

18:00~18:15 JR Hakata Ekimae Hiroba (1-1 Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku)
Start of parade

18:50~19:20 Tochoji Temple (2-3 Gokusho-machi, Hakata-ku)
Shamisen performance, Kojiro Oka mini concert

19:40 Hakata Sennen-no-mon (129-9 Hakataeki-mae, Hakata-ku)

• 11/3 (Sat.) *rain or shine
• 16:00~
• Free (fee required for the Tochoji Temple course)
080-3988-2301 (Hakata Kenjo Dochu Exec. Committee)

116th Hakata Ori Exhibition

Hakata ori (woven textile) is a local folk craft with 777 years of tradition. It has been popular for centuries for use in kimono and obi as a silk textile due to its tensility and thickness of the fabric. At this annual event, new pieces of Hakata ori are displayed inside Jotenji Temple – the birthplace of Hakata ori. The location itself is a reason for visiting as the inside of Jotenji is not usually open to the public. Peruse the pieces on display and vote for your favorite Hakata ori. Enjoy the autumn foliage, and optional outdoor tea ceremony (fee req.) in the Japanese karesansui (rock) garden. Don’t miss the performance of Hakata geigi (geisha) on 11/10 (13:30 and 14:15).

• 11/9 (Fri.) ~ 11/11 (Sun.)
• 10:00~17:00 (11/11: ~15:00)
• Free
• Jotenji Temple
1-29-9 Hakata-ekimae, Hakata-ku
092-409-5162 (Hakata Textile Manufacturer Association)

This guide is constantly being updated with more Akihaku events. Check back for more events!

Updated September 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 Oct. 5, 2015.

Published: Sep 20, 2018 / Last Updated: Sep 20, 2018