Hakozakigu Hojoya festival is one of the most famous festivals in Fukuoka which is held in Hakozaki shrine Sep.12th to Sep. 18th every year. Five hundreds of stalls are lined up and more than a million people visit during the festival period.
What is Hojoya(放生会）?
Hojoya is a religious ritual event honoring living things like fish, birds and animals that allow us to live and also appreciating the harvest in autumn.
Hojoya festival is held in other prefectures as well but they pronounce this event “Hojoe(放生会）” and not “Hojoya”.
Mikoshi Gyoretsu – occurring every two years
Three Mikoshi(portable shinto shrine) and 500 shrine parishioners dressed in white costumes parade through the street every two years. This event is only held every odd year.
Okudari(the initial procession) on 12th, Mikoshi depart from Hakozaki shrine at 6pm and arrives at temporary shrine at 9:45pm.
Onobori(the returning procession) on 14th, Mikoshi depart from temporary shrine at 7pm and arrives at Hakozaki shrine at 8:10pm.
Some of you imagine noodles when you hear Champon, but Hojoya Champon is not a food. Hojoya Champon is a traditional glass toy and known as Vidro or Poppin in other regions. When you blow into a glass toy, it makes popping sound which sounds like “chan” “pon”.
These beautiful glass toys are hand painted by the Miko(shrine maidens).
Just harvested gingers are sold at some stalls. This is because there were many ginger farms in Hakozaki before and harvested gingers were sold at Hojoya. Buying gingers at Hojoya became one part of customs.
More than 500 stalls on the approach to the shrine
You can find variety of Japanese festival food like takoyaki, ikayaki, yakitori, etc. not the approach to the shrine. Kids will love to try some games and goldfish scooping.
Many stalls open around 10am and closed at 9pm or 10pm. Some game shops will open late afternoon on weekdays.
Haunted house is waiting for you
If you are haunted house lover, try this Japanese style haunted house at Hojoya. The haunted house haven’t changed it style for decades, and many Japanese adults get a nostalgic feeling just to see it.
How to get to Hakozaki Shrine
Hakozaki Shrine: 1 Chome-22-1 Hakozaki, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka
From Hakata station, you can take a train or a bus.
By JR: Get off at JR Hakozaki station and walk 8minutes.
By subway: Change to Kaizuka line at Nakasukawabata. Get off at Hakozakigumae and take exit 1. It’s just 3minutes walk away.
By Nishitetsu bus: Take  Island City Teriha from Ekimae Icchome and get off at Hakozaki. It’s just 3minuts walk away.
From Tenjin, you can take a train or a bus.
By subway: Get off at Hakozakigumae and take exit 1. It’s just 3minutes walk away.
By Nishitetsu bus: Take  Kyudaimae from Tenjin Yamato Shokenmae and get off at Hakozaki. It’s just 3minuts walk away.[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m14!1m8!1m3!1d53161.556094279316!2d130.37893247268067!3d33.615752780909645!3m2!1i1024!2i768!4f13.1!3m3!1m2!1s0x0%3A0xbc8de79819e78c6a!2sHakozaki%20Shrine!5e0!3m2!1sen!2sjp!4v1568469094075!5m2!1sen!2sjp&w=600&h=450]
If you happen to be in Fukuoka during Sep. 12th to 18th, you won’t want to miss this Hojoya festival. Try variety of festival food and enjoy Fukuoka’s custom!