While Kyushu, Japan's most southern Home Island, doesn't have as many ancient shrines and temples as its northern neighbours, the ones they do have, are important. The Kushida Jinja Shrine is a splendid example. Founded in 757 CE, it is dedicated to the god siblings of Amaterasu and Susanoo. It is by far the most cherished shrine in the area playing host to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, the biggest festival in Fukuoka and one of the most entertaining of all Japan.
The festival is held from the 1st to the 15th of July and is famous for the Kakiyama, ceremonial floats. These floats weigh around 1000kg and are carried the city by hundreds of men dressed only in loincloths in a race. This uniquely Japanese festival is over 770 years old, and attracts up to one million spectators each year, ensuring the Kushida Shrine's Japan-wide fame.
The shrine has several smaller shrines within its grounds. There is a huge Gingko tree which is said to have been there for over a thousand years. Other showcases include anchor stones are said to be from the Mongol invasion and quite a lot of precious masks featuring the Tengu (a Japanese mythological creature with a long nose). English information sheets are available at the shrine.
- Always open
- +81 92-291-2951
- 1-41 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 812-0026, Japan.
- A few min walk from Gion Station. From Hakata Station to Gion Station: Take the Kuko Subway Line to Gion Station (2 min).