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Hakata Gion Yamakasa

Hakata Gion Yamakasa

This festive race consists of different teams carrying a decretive float weighing around 1 ton from the start line to finish. The Hakata Gion Yamakasa is one of the most interesting festivals in Japan, attracting over 1 million people to participate in each summer. During the race, men carry these beautifully decorated festival floats at full speed along a 5 kilometer course. All seven neighborhoods of the Hakata district will be a part of the race, with 2 different kinds of floats available. The larger kazariyama floats are ten meters tall weighting over two tons. Carrying this massive float became troublesome since the introduction of electricity lines during the Meiji period, thus becoming decorative backgrounds for visitors to take pictures with. The smaller kakiyama floats are used in the actual race, with no wheels and weighing over a ton, travelers help out by pouring water on the participants to help cool them off and decrease friction between the floats and the ground. It takes around 30 minutes to complete this intense race, with thousands of spectators cheering alongside the course. Many locations such as the start line of the race and important turning intersections are heavily sought out by locals, which result in people showing up hours ahead of schedule to get the perfect viewing spot for this yearly festive event.