Before the year changes, I’m going to introduce this Hakata Dontaku Festival (博多どんたく祭り) in 2014(almost forgot to write about this). In Fukuoka, there is one of the biggest festivals in Japan. In the beginning of May, over 2 million people visit the festival and there are over 30,000 of participants perform in the festival.
What is Hakata Dontaku Festival?
The origin of this Hakata Dontaku is called Matsubayashi that started in 1179. Matsubayashi was a classic event, which was held at the beginning of the year to celebrate the good fortune. In Matsubayashi, people dressed up and visited the houses of authority, performed dancing and singing. Matsubayashi developed as Hakata Matsubayashi, taking over its form and it’s become part of the parade during the festival. In the parade, Hakata Matsubayashi group walk through the streets and visit the places such as government office buildings, companies, shrines and temples.
It can be said that Hakata Dontaku festival is composed of two main parts. In the first part, there are stage shows by the participants of the festival at many places in the city. The other main event of festival is the parade on Meiji street. The participants join the parade and walk through the Meiji street on May 3rd and 4th. And we can see Hakata Matsubayashi in this parade.
Stage shows in the city
This is the first time for me to see Hakata Dontaku festival even thoughI I live in Fukuoka for a long time (strange isn’t it?). The parade starts from Gofukumachi intersection (呉服町交差点), reach to Fukuoka city hall.
Before arrived to the parade course, I could see the stage show by idol group at the square in front of Fukuoka city hall. Square was crowded with a lot of people. (sorry for the finger. I was too excited)
Many stalls at the Tenjin central park
Many stalls were lined up there, selling foods, games and toys at the Tenjin central park (天神中央公園).
Hakata Dontaku Parade
The parade usually starts around 13 o’clock. When I arrived the place (in front of Acros Fukuoka bld), the parade had already started.
Hakata Matsubayashi (博多松囃子)group.
Many types of groups participated in the parade. Sponsored companies, Fukuoka police music band, school brass band, and more from local communities were participating in the parade.
During the festival, we can see many stage shows or street performers in the city like the photo below.
Hakata Dontaku Festival Information
Date: May 3rd, 4th.
Address: All parts of Fukuoka city
Parade address: Meiji street. Start from Gofukumachi intersection (呉服町交差点) through Fukuoka city hall(福岡市役所).
Access to Gofukumachi intersection:
From JR Hakata Station: Take a bus number 3,12,13,56,57,100 from Hakata bus terminal and get off at Gofukumachi bus stop. OR walk about 20 min.
From Nishitetsu Tenjin Station: Take a subway Hakozaki Line (地下鉄箱崎線) and get off at Gofukumachi Station. (Note: Some trains change to Kuko Line (地下鉄空港線) at Nakasukawabata Station (中洲川端駅). So make sure which train you are on.)
Parade start time: Around 13:00 to 18:30.
Stages:10:00 to 19:30.