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Fukuoka Holidays Overview
Fukuoka is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture which is located on the northern part of Kyushu Island in Japan.This city which is home to more than 2.5 million people is one of Japan’s most populated cities and is the largest city on Kyushu.
Fukuoka situated as it is on the Strait of Korea has functioned as an important harbor city through ages. In fact its closeness to the Asian mainland was exploited by the Mongols who invaded the city during the 12th century. Actually Fukuoka before these Mongol invasions functioned as a gateway to the rest of the country and it was through this port that several international influences were imported into Japan. Rice farming which is considered to be a quintessentially Japanese practice was in fact imported from China into Japan through Kyushu around 500 BC. Similarly Buddhism, Confucianism, the Chinese legal system, medicine and science as well as continental architecture all came into Japan via Kyushu from the Chinese mainland.
Fukuoka is believed to be the oldest city in Japan and ancient texts indicate that the area around Fukuoka was the oldest non-Jomon settlement in Japan and there is further evidence that Dazaifu functioned the administrative capital of Kyushu from the fourth century onwards. In 1268, Fukuoka;s Hakata Bay attracted the attention of the Mongol Kublai Khan who at first sent envoys to the Japanese Shogunate. The Japanese Shogunate refused to acknowledge Kublai Khan and this angered the great Mongol who then tried to invade Kyushu with an armada of 900 ships and 33,000 troops but this conquest was thwarted by storms and general incompetence of the Mongol troops.
The Japanese Samurai then built a stone barrier which measured 20 kilometers in length to protect Hakata Bay. This barrier was constructed during the years 1276-1277 but in 1279 Kublai Khan sent another envoy to the Japanese court of Hojo Tokimune. Hojo Tokimune again refused to acknowledge these envoys and in fact beheaded the emissaries after summoning them to Kamakura. This act angered the great Mongol who then launched another attack on Fukuoka in 1281 and he and his troops in fact reached as far as Dazaifu which is located just 15 kilometers from Fukuoka. However nature once again came to the aid of the Japanese as a violent typhoon helped them crush the Mongols. This type of typhoon then came to be known as the Kamikaze or 'divine wind'.
In 1601 Japan was unified under a feudal lord called Chikusen Nagamasu who decided to build a castle in the form of a fortification . He called this fortification Fukuoka after his birthplace in the Okayama Prefecture. The main city for trade during this time continued to be Hakata and the area around it which was occupied by many samurai came to be known as Fukuoka. The modern city of Fukuoka was formed on April 1, 1889, with the merger of the former cities of Hakata and Fukuoka.
As a port city Fukuoka featured prominently as Japan industrialized through the ages though the city was flattened completely during World War II. After the war, Fukuoka was home to the USAF which was based at the Itazuke airbase which is now Fukuoka airport. Today Fukuoka which is considered to be one of the world’s most livable cities is known for its many green spaces in an urban setting.
The city is blessed with a year round moderate climate characterized by temperatures that hover around 25 °C and 30 °C though in the summers the temperatures are known to reach to about 37 °C. The best time to visit Fukuoka is generally considered to be autumn though even winters in this harbor city are generally mild as it rarely snows.
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holidays - Top Events
Fukuoka is home to many festivals that are held throughout the year. The most famous Fukuoka Festivals are Hakata Dontaku and Hakata Gion Yamagasa.
The Hakata Gion Yamagasa
The Hakata Gion Yamagasa is held over two weeks in the month of July every year. This festival is considered to be one of the oldest festivals in Fukuoka and is believed to have started nearly 700 years ago. The festival features teams of men which represent the various districts of the city. These teams have to compete in a 5 km race which is called Oiyama and is held on the concluding day of the festival. The difference between this race and any ordinary 5 k race is that the competitors have to participate by carrying heavy floats which weigh several thousand ponds. Each day of this two week festival is marked by several events and practice runs. The racing floats (Kaki Yamagasa) are an exclusive male domain while women have their own ornate fixed floats called Kazari Yamagasa which feature Hakata dolls. The festival attracts thousands of spectators who enthusiastically cheer the teams during the events.
This festival is held in Fukuoka in the 3rd and 4th of May every year. This festival also dates back to more than 800 years and features specially erected stages that showcase traditional performances and a parade of floats. The festival is known to attract over two million spectators.
holidays - How to Get There
Airlines like Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Asiana and Air China offer air links to Fukuoka from the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Australia has a diplomatic mission in Fukuoka in the form of the Australian Consulate Genreral of Fukuoka.