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.
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…
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 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


One of Kagoshima's more unusual events is the Umbrella Burning Festival. Boys burn umbrellas on the banks of Kōtsuki-gawa in honour of two brothers who used umbrellas as torches in one of Japan's oldest revenge stor…
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).
Cultural in Hirado

Jangara Matsuri

Hirado's famous Jangara Matsuri folk festival is particularly colourful, reminiscent of Okinawa or Korea. Arrive in Hirado by late morning for the afternoon events.
Food & Drink in Karatsu


This food festival and market is held in the town centre over four consecutive Saturdays from late July into early August, ending when Obon starts.
Cultural in Kumamoto

Autumn Festival

From mid-October to early November, Kumamoto-jō stages its grand festival, including taiko drumming and cultural events.