The Special Colors Of Fukuoka - Presented By Hakata Sennen Koya
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The Special Colors Of Fukuoka - Presented By Hakata Sennen Koya

Fukuoka 2017.05.18

Meet Hakata, the land of temples and shrines of important historical heritage. It is the place to meet the Great Buddha of Fukuoka and spend an eventful five days for the Hakata Sennen Koya, or Hakata Light Up Walk autumn festival.

Translated byJelena Kitamura

A translator in love with nuances. A foreigner currently residing in Japan, who brought with her a foreign culture and a weird language.

Written by Norihisa Hasegawa

The number one shopping district in Kyushu, Hakata, is famous for tonkotsu ramen, fresh seafood and other savory meals. But that is not all there is to Hakata – it also happens to be the land of historical and cultural heritage, where many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are located.

Today we will introduce to you Hakata Sennen Koya, or the Hakata Light Up Walk, an autumn festival which will help you discover the magical world of Hakata.

Glittering Nights With Hakata Sennen Koya

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Hakata Sennen Koya is an illumination event to get shrines, temples and gardens in Hakata district bright with colors. The event was created in 2006 with the goal of appealing to a different side of Hakata’s charm other than during the day. In 2015 the event took place at eight different locations and was opened for visitors for five days, from November 19th until November 23rd. Here are three venues we strongly recommend you to visit and experience firsthand.

** Note that the opening hours and the locations of the event may vary annually.

1. The Red Torii and the Kazariyama of Kushida Shrine

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This is Kushida Shrine, a shrine famous for the Hakata Gion Yamakasa summer festival. You might also hear the name Okushida-san, as the local people like to call their beloved shrine.

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Another must-see building of Kushida Shrine is Shimenawainari Shrine, with the red torii gates famously found at Inari shrines leading the path through the shrine’s grounds.

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You can also catch a glimpse of the kazariyama, stationary floats used as offerings during the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival.

2. The Great Fukuoka Daibutsu and the Bright Red Five-Storied Pagoda of Tochoji

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Tochoji Temple is a sacred place visited by many devotees offering their respects during the day.

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Yet, it is quite possible one might encounter an extraordinary scenery should he or she take a look at it under the special lights at night. It is an opportunity to enjoy your time at the temple surrounded not by daylight, but by the dancing lights that gradually change colors, while shining on two of the temple buildings.

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You might also find it interesting how the expression of the statue, the Great Buddha of Fukuoka (Fukuoka Daibutsu), changes under the shifting colors of the illumination. It is usually forbidden to take pictures of the Great Buddha. But we can rejoice together, for during this event only photographing the statue is allowed, so don’t miss out on this major chance to take a picture with the Great Buddha!

3. The Beautiful Garden and the Autumn Leaves of Jotenji

The last, but certainly not the least, on our list of temples of Fukuoka, is Jotenji Temple, with its rock garden, a distinctive feature of many Japanese temples.

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The lights gently change in color over the garden of rocks and sand, symbolizing the vast sea. It is almost as if the wind is playfully touching the surface of the water.

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Should you explore Jotenji Temple, you can take off your shoes and enter the hondo (the main temple building), even sit down and relax in the tranquil atmosphere.

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While in the garden at the other side of the temple you can feast your eyes at the sight of momiji (autumn foliage), looking even more beautiful under the vivid lights.

Take Part in the Event

In order to enter the Hakata Sennen Koya Festival, you have to have your ticket ready. You can buy a one-day-free pass in advance for 1000 yen, and on the day of the festival for 1300 yen (if you buy two tickets at the same time the price is 1200 yen). Also, the great news is that you get a gourmet food coupon together with the ticket, so do check out those lovely gourmet food stands nearby!

If you want to find out more about where to buy tickets or ask about the coupon, go to the Official Home Page of the festival (Japanese).

Good to Know in Advance

Since the festival is often visited by more than a hundred thousand people, there is a chance you’ll have to wait in line for a period of time, in which case you get to enter a little bit later than intended. Therefore it might be better to head to that one place that caught your eye as soon as you can to beat the rush.

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Since you can easily walk to all of the venues of the event from Hakata Station, it would be a pity not to take this chance for a special walk under the illuminated night sky of Hakata. It ought to be an unforgettable sight of Hakata you’ve never seen before!

Information

Kushida Shrine
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Kamikawabatamachi 1-41
Hours: Illumination period 17:30-21:00 (last entry 20:45)
Closed: None during the illumination event
WiFi: Not Available
Credit Cards: Not Available
Languages: Japanese
Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages: Not Available
Nearest Station: Gion Station (Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau)
Access: about 10 minutes from Gion Station
Religion: Shintoism
Phone: 092-291-2951
Website: Hakata Light Up Walk Executive Committee (Japanese)

Information

Tochoji Temple
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Gokushomachi 2-4
Hours: Illumination period 17:30-21:00 (last entry 20:45)
Closed: None during the illumination event
WiFi: Not Available
Accepted Credit Cards: Not Available
Languages: Japanese
Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages: Not Available
Nearest Station: Gion Station (Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau)
Access: 2-minute walk from Gion Station
Religion: Buddhism
Phone: 092-291-4459

Information

Jotenji Temple
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Hakataekimae 1-29-9
Hours: Illumination period 17:30-21:00 (last entry 20:45)
Closed: None during the illumination event
WiFi: Not Available
Accepted Credit Cards: Not Available
Languages: Japanese
Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages: Not Available
Nearest Station: Gion Station (Fukuoka City Transportation Bureau)
Access: 2-minute walk from Gion Station
Religion: Buddhism
Phone: 092-431-3570

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