NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉


博多祇園山笠 Hakata-gion-yamakasa Hakata Gion Yamakasa

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The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is held every July in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka. Legend has it that in 1241, there was a plague in Hakata. To drive it away, Shouichi Kokushi Bennen, the then resident priest at Shouten Temple, rode on a wooden 'segakidana' (rack for carrying the dead) around the city sprinkling holy water everywhere. This became the start of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival.

One theory has it that the shape of the 'segakidana' developed over the years to become what is now known as a 'yamakasa' (the circular festival floats), but this is one theory of many and nobody is sure why the floats have this shape.

The climax of the festival is a race, called 'oiyama' (mountain chasing), between teams of men carrying the floats. Many people from surrounding cities come to see it.

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is one of the three great Gion festivals of Japan, and is also a dedication rite at the Kushida Shrine, acting as a spiritual barrier against evil for the city of Hakata. This gallant traditional event is designated as an Intangible Ethnic Cultural Treasure.

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5-6-10-3F Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, 810-0801
Nakasu Kankoukyoukai・Nakasu-cho Rengoukai

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