There are various festivals across Japan that tourists can enjoy. Each region in Japan has their own peculiarities and traditions, which gives birth to the myriad festivals that each holds every year. In this article, we will give special focus to the Kyushu region, a region located in the southern part of the country, which is rich in tourist attractions and festivals waiting for us to explore.
(Picture from Feel Fukuoka Japan)
Tamaseseri or the wooden ball catching festival is held during the New Year holidays in Hakozaki Shrine, Fukuoka prefecture. The festival has several purposes; one of which is something akin to traditional New Year festivals, that is, to start off the beginning of the year. Another, perhaps surprising purpose of the festival is traditional fortune-telling.
The festival gathers a number of males and separates them into two groups: the land and sea group. The two groups will then compete to capture the wooden ball. The winning team will then represent the fortune for the year; the land team representing a bountiful harvest for the year and the sea team representing plentiful catches in the sea, pretty interesting isn’t it?
Nagasaki Lantern Festival
(Picture from Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation)
Another kind of New Year festival, the Nagasaki Lantern Festival is held annually during the Chinese New Year. Its origin dates back to a pretty recent time, which is 1994. It was started by Chinese living in the Nagasaki prefecture, which is why it has its roots in the Chinese culture’s lantern festival.
During the event, various kinds of lanterns will be placed along Nagasaki city and will be lit up beautifully during the night.
Yanagawa Sagemon Festival
(Picture from Fukuoka Now)
Yanagawa Sagemon Festival is actually just Yanagawa City’s localized version of the Hina Matsuri Festival (Girls’ Festival). Similar to the traditional Hina Matsuri, families who have female kid(s) in their household will arrange a set of dolls on the ladder during the period.
Compared to the traditional Hina Matsuri Festival, the Yanagawa Sagemon Festival is held for a longer period of time from mid-February to the beginning of April (which is February 11 to April 3 this year). It also has a distinct flavor to it with the display of “sagemon”, or the hanging of ornaments alongside the Hina dolls to celebrate their daughters.
For visitors, the Sagemon Meguri will display the Sagemon in public for everyone to see. Aside from that, there is also a ritual that the locals perform on boats with female children during this period.
Kyokusui no En