Cultural in Nagasaki

Kunchi Matsuri

This energetic festival features Chinese dragons dancing all around the city, but especially at Suwa-jinja. The festival is marked by elaborate costumes, fireworks, cymbals and giant dragon puppets. In addition, nei…
Cultural in Nagasaki

Peiron Dragon-Boat Races

Colourful boat races were introduced by the Chinese in the mid-1600s, and held to appease the god of the sea. They still take place in Nagasaki harbour.
Cultural in Fukuoka

Hakata Gion Yamakasa Matsuri

The city's main festival is held in July, climaxing at 4.59am on the 15th, when seven groups of men converge at Kushida-jinja to race along a 5km-long course carrying huge portable shrines called yamakasa. According…
Dance in Takachiho


Designated an important intangible folk property of Japan, these night-time kagura (sacred dance) performances are held in the Kagura-den (Kagura Hall) at Takachiho-jinja. Reception opens at 7pm; it's cash only, and…
Cultural in Nagasaki


During this festival, lantern-lit boats are floated on the harbour to honour ancestors. The boats are of various sizes and hand-crafted from a variety of materials (bamboo, wood, rice stems etc). Eventually they are…
Cultural in Karatsu

Karatsu Kunchi Matsuri

Karatsu comes to life with this spectacular festival, dating from 1592 and designated a festival of national cultural importance. The highlight is a parade of massive, exquisitely decorated hikiyama (floats), which …
Cultural in Fukuoka

Hakata Dontaku Minato Matsuri

Tracing its roots to the port festival, Fukuoka's Meiji-dōri vibrates to the percussive shock of shamoji (wooden serving spoons) being banged together like castanets, with shamisen (three-stringed banjo) accompanime…
Cultural in Kagoshima


In one of Kagoshima's more unusual events, boys burn a stack of open umbrellas on the banks of Kōtsuki-gawa. The event commemorates two brothers who used umbrellas as torches in one of Japan's oldest revenge stories…
Cultural in Miyazaki


Witness samurai-style archery on horseback at Miyazaki-jingū. Archers dress in Kamakura-period costumes, and when they hit the target are greeted with confetti and cheers.
Cultural in Miyazaki

Miyazaki-jingū Grand Festival

This festival celebrates the harvest with horses and mikoshi (portable shrines) being carried through the streets. It's headquartered at Miyazaki-jingū.