Participating in a festival (matsuri) is one of the many things to do while you visit Fukuoka.
Dontaku is one of the top three biggest festivals in Fukuoka. Held in May, it attracts about 2.1 millions visitors to see its parades and performances.
Another matsuri, Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, celebrated in July, is based around Kushida shrine. During the festival, men in the traditional costumes carry massive, ornate floats that have been decorated in Hakata dolls (Japanese traditional clay dolls), around the city as fast as they can run.
It has been recognized by UNESCO on its list of intangible cultural heritage as “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals in Japan” – also on this list, we can see Tobata Gion Oyamagasa Festival held in Kitakyushu City’s Tobata ward in July. If you want to know more about the history of Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, you can visit the Hakata History Museum in Kushida shrine of Hakata.
Hojoya holds a buddhist festival at Hakozaki shrine around the middle of September that packs in crowds who have come to enjoy the vendors and carnival atmosphere along a one-kilometre pathway to the shrine.
Craftsmen from many regions of Japan are noted for their hand-made dolls, but Hakata dolls — a traditional Japanese clay doll, originally from the city of Fukuoka — are perhaps the most famous. Their realistic proportions and faces featuring a colourful touch make them famous around the world.
Another traditional craft to of Fukuoka’s is Hakata weaving. With a history of over 770 years, Hakata weaving consists of hira-ori (plain weave) incorporating elegant, detailed designs, and mon-ori (armure – a fabric made with a twilled or ribbed surface). The main Hakata weaving product has traditionally been the obi (sash worn with kimono), but these days weavers also produce neckties and interior fabrics.
Another than that, Fukuoka has another weaving called Kurume Kasuri which is a type of double-ikat weaving, where beautiful indigo fabrics are produced in family-run businesses in Kurume.
Hakata also features the unique and traditional entertainment known as Hakata Kenban. A kenban is a company which both manages geisha and acts as agent for the Japanese style drawing rooms where the geisha traditionally entertain.