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Fukuoka Kimono Walk #1

by - 3:58 AM

New year and new project ! I talked about it for months and finally I started Fukuoka Kimono Walk, my brand new one year photography project which blend harmoniously (if possible) kimono and Fukuoka's traditional places.

Fukuoka Kimono Walk



About Fukuoka Kimono Walk


logo to come

Fukuoka Kimono Walk iis a one year photography project : each month, I am introducing a traditionnal place somewhere in Fukuoka city by wearing a kimono which fits the season.
This project is aiming to show a different Fukuoka, far from the big modern city image, while making kimono more accessible. 

For this first issue, I take you for a hatsumode (初詣, he first visit to the shrine of the year) themed walk around the Sumiyoshi Shrine (住吉神社).

Hatsumode is generally made on the first 3 days of January but it is possible to make this traditional ritual until the end of the month. First people pray before drawing a prediction (omikuji, おみくじ) to how the new year will be. Then, people eventually buy some amulets (o-mamori, お守り) . Each city or region has its popular shrines list which are always full until January 31st. In Fukuoka, the most popular are: Kushida shrine,  Hakozaki shrine, Kashii shrine and Sumiyoshi one that I visited for you.

Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka
Sumiyoshi shrine
Located in the heart of Hakata district, Sumiyoshi is a gem inside of a green park and is unmistakable with its bright orange color. Its unique atmosphere makes it an ideal place for wedding celebrations.

The sanctuary was founded more than 1800 years ago and is known to be the first of all the Sumiyoshi shrines in Japan. People are praying the Japanese poems god and the safe sea travel god. Nowdays, the shrine is bordered by streets and buildings but a few hundred years ago,it was just near the sea. Difficult to imagine !
The magic of the place is that once we crossed the torii, we can hardly hear cars anymore. The place is so quiet that it is popular lunch place for  people working nearby.

Of course, I wasn't there to eat but to do the Hatsumode ritual. I first wanted to pray so I quietly waited my turn in long waiting line. When I first came to Japan, I was ashamed to pray at the shrine even accompanied with friends. It was mostly because I was afraid of what people would think and especially, I was afraid to do something wrong. Now I pray gladly , especially during the New Year and other special occasions but the idea of ​​bowing everytime I go to a shrine (for tourism for example) wouldn't occur to me (yet?).
After the prayer, I drawn a prediction to see how 2016 will be and it seems that it is a lucky year (吉, kichi).  In my small roll of paper, I found a tiny manekineko, a lucky cat that I immediately slipped into my wallet. The whole ritual is respected, the new year can really begin now !

As for the kimono, I wanted to wear a reddish one because red is one of the emblematic new year color. The rental shop staff advised me very well by showing me this nice kimono with chrysanthemum patterns. It was really appropriate for the them I choosed. I particularly like the black flowers which make the kimono lookinng more  mature than the ones I select normally.
As it was quite colorful kimono, I chose bland obi belt and and mature accessories. I also wore a very feminine hoari (羽 織, jacket ) as it was rather cold outside.
 It was very nice to wear a kimono in the shrine. I even forgot I was wearing one because it was so comfortable and in harmony with the environment around me.

The day I went, I was followed by a TV show staff and I was a little ashamed to take pictures of me in front of all this people so I hurried to finish. This unexpected company had a very beneficial effect : few days before, I was terrified by the idea of ​​going out alone in Fukuoka wearing a kimono but now I have confidence in myself and into this project.

See you next month !


Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Kimono et tabi
Japanese pattern from kimono to toes
Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Bénédicte Charré

Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Prédiction omikuji et manekineko
Omikuji & manekineko
Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka
Unlucky prediction must be tied like this
Bénédicte Charré, kimono

Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Kimono rental, Fukuoka
I am not skillful but I did my hair alone and it turned out better than expected
Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Sumiyoshi, Fukuoka

Béné no Fukuoka ! - Fukuoka Kimono Walk
I love the body line kimono is making. Did I became a mikaeri bijin ? 

ACCess and useful informations



sumiyoshi Shrine (住吉神社) 

Adress:



812-0018 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

Phone :

092-291-2670

Access from Hakata station :

10 minutes by foot or ou 5 minutes by foot from the Sumiyoshi (住吉) bus stop on 9th, 11th, 15th, 16th, 17,th 19th, 50th, 65th, 300th... lines.

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