No, it’s not cosplay in the countryside and it’s unrelated to Halloween, but yes, there’s something funky going on in the rice fields! Each autumn, some farming villages crank up their creativity and put on kakashi (scarecrow) displays in rice fields. Unlike the utilitarian North American scarecrows made of straw, flannel shirt and old blue jeans, Japanese scarecrows can be cute, scary, or just plain weird! Check out our guide below for a list of nearby festivals and don’t forget your camera!
Honjo Kakashi Matsuri
The annual scarecrow festival in Amagase, Hita City returns for the 13th time! Farmers in the area initially created scarecrows as a means of protecting their crop from sparrows. The tradition developed into an event where visitors are greeted by over 200 scarecrows, dotted throughout the fields and along the riverside. Each figure has its own unique expression and outfit, so make sure to check out the details up close! This year, expect to see scarecrows of prominent Japanese athletes who competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
• 9/22 (Sat.) ~ 10/27 (Sat.)
• Along the Farm Road near Honjo area and along the Goraku River near Bogomori Community Center (Bogomori Kominkan)
• Amagase-machi, Hita City, Oita
Trolley Train Festival & Kakashi Matsuri in Yamada
Abandoned in 1988, the Kamiyamada Line Railroad is now the venue for the annual torokko (trolley) train event in Yamada. The trolley car, decorated with paintings by local elementary school students, makes 1.5 km round trips. From the train, passengers can see approximately 150 scarecrows on display in freshly harvested rice fields. This year’s theme is “Sports Festival”. The scarecrows look so realistic from afar that you’ll surely do a double take when you see them! Scarecrows are on display from early October and remain until the end of November. You can also enjoy food made with local produce such as miso soup, udon, curry, and freshly-made mochi.
• 10/28 (Sun.)
• Trolley fares: adult ¥200, JHS and under ¥100
• 2142-1 Kumagahata, Kama City, Fukuoka
• 0948-52-0855 (Kama Chamber of Commerce)
9th Kase Kakashi Matsuri
This scarecrow festival runs alongside the famous Saga International Balloon Fiesta, which attracts huge numbers of spectators from all over Japan and overseas. The event began as an alternative in case inclement weather prevented the balloons from flying. Over 100 scarecrows made by locals will be on display. Local produce including mikan (oranges) and vegetables will be on sale, and there will be a lucky draw in which winners can receive small gifts especially made by local grade school students. If you’re going balloon watching, don’t forget to check out the scarecrows, too!
• 10/29 (Mon.) ~ 11/4 (Sun.)
• Kase-gawa Bosai Station (north exit of JR Balloon Saga Sta., shuttle bus stop)
• Oaza Ogino, Kase-machi, Saga City
• 0952-26-5208 (Kase Community Centre)
Updated October 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 Sep. 2017.