I woke up early to catch a train to Karatsu to see the second day of the Karatsu Kunchi festival (runs for 3 days, second day starts at 9:30 and ends at 16:30). It’s a little over an hour on the train and I wanted to arrive before the start to get a good spot along the road. I got there at around nine but the streets were already quite full – which gladly is not as big a problem as I feared as people move around with the procession so you eventually get a spot.
The procession itself has around 10 large wood statues that are being carried by several dozen people of different ages all dressed up in traditional clothes. It’s a lovely sight and there’s a lot of positive energy (not to mention singing and dancing) but after about an hour it begins to repeat itself.
I took the opportunity to visit the local castle, it has nice views of the city but is currently being restored so part of th views were obstructed and the castle itself was closed. Still was worth a visit.
Afterwords I went back to the festival and walked around the stalls buying random traditional food (though there were some more western options as well). If you haven’t been to a Japanese festival I definitely recommend a visit to one – the food stalls and various games are quite odd / fun.
I left at around lunch time and headed back to Fukuoka where I stopped for a walk in the main park (Ohori park) the park itself is quite large and several events were happening (including a children treasure hunt and some odd dance activity for students).
Fukuoka was a good start for the trip, it’s convenient fairly western friendly with good public transportation around the city. It’s not however more than that and I’d be hard pressed to recommend anyone to go out of their way for a visit.
Next up is Nagasaki where I stay 4 nights, stay tuned