Hakata no Ouka
Home to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival which is held annually in July, Kushida Shrine sees teams of 30 men carrying elaborately-decorated Kakiyama floats during the Oiyama race which begins at the shrine’s entrance. Another type of float, Kazariyama floats are decorated to portray mythological tales and events in Japanese history. Too tall to carry, they are ornamental fixtures at locations around Fukuoka City during the first half of July. The festival has been deemed an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan.
A fun cultural stop on any trip to Fukuoka, entrance is free and the shrine offers a few different attractions. When visiting Kushida Shrine, look out for the three crane statues flanking a trickling fountain; this well water is said to promote longevity. You can also test your strength by attempting to life the “Chikara Ishi” stone with the kanji “shiseki” (“trial stone” - 試石) carved into it.
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