Autumn is one of the best season to visit Japan, I won't teach you something. But did you know that this is definitely THE best time to visit Fukuoka ? While the cherry blossoms are also beautiful to see, fall has a special flavor : sunny, comfortable temperature and especially tthe entertainment as Fukuoka 's fall is synonymous with festivals.
Akihaku Hakata (博多秋博) is a festival spanning from October 1st to November 30th during which many events punctuate and illuminate Hakata ward. Traditional festivals to photo contest, stamps rally to with illuminations, there is something to do and see everyday : impossible to get bored. Among all what is offered, the most popular events are undoubtedly the lantern illuminations. See the district filled with millions of small lanterns forming drawings is simply enchanting and magical.
The Hakata Tomyo Watching (博多灯明ウォっチング) is one of the most popular and most anticipated events of these two months. I had attended for the first time in 2013 and I had amazing memories. I really looked forward to go again.
In 2014, I wans't able to attend it so I was more than impatient for the 2015 edition. Unfortunately I caught the flu? a virus ? Well, I had a high fever and I really couldn't enjoy this year edition. The few places that I visited were quickly done. If normally I would have wait to have a view without people, looked for the best place to take a picture, this time, I had one wish: to go back home. And it was me who told Daisuke that we were going ! .
Besides, I don't know if this is due to my physical condition or not but I found the illumination a little less magical than two years ago. The plots were certainly impressive but it lacked a little touch of magic. I noticed that there were many more people too.
I don't know if I would attend next year because the idea of participating in the organization of the event running through my head for a year: prepare and arrange lanterns, monitor and inform visitors seems exciting. Well we will see that next year!
Fortunately, less than a week later was hold the Hakata Okunchi (博多おくんち千灯明) , a 1200 years old festival. If the major event is the parade showing children wearing kimono and crowns and men carrying mikoshi* , there is also a lantern illumination event at Kushida shrine.
On last Friday (October 23), I spun to the shrine after work. For illumination, there was surprisingly few people. All visitors were grouped around the main illumination. The sanctuary staff had also kindly opened the access to the balconies above so people could enjoy the view from the top.
Everywhere else, there was almost no one and I could take the opportunity to take my time for nice pictures. I discovered a passion for night photos, it is really beautiful and calm, even though I 'm not yet good at using the right settings.
Those who follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have already had a glimpse of what it looked like but here are better quality images. Does it make you feel want to visit Fukuoka ?
The next big Hakata Akihaku event for me will be on November 22nd for the Hakata's shrines and temples' illuminations. All in kimono and with a guide ! Meanwhile I'll wait with many projects and things to come next month as the arrival of Koyo* . Autumn is really a fantastic season .
Mikoshi (神輿) :portable shrine
Aki (秋) : autumn, fall
Kira kira (きらきら) : sparkle
Kôyô (紅葉) : autumn-colored foliage