September 2014

Hojoya (Releasing Living Creatures Ceremony)

Hojoya is one of Hataka’s three big festivals and takes place in Hakozaki Shrine from September 12 through 18 every year. More than 500 street vendors crowd the main pathway to the shrine, creating a very festive atmosphere. Hojoe is a religious ceremony to honor each and every living thing as well as an autumn festival to celebrate great harvests. Every year, many visitors come to this shrine to pray for prosperity and good health.

One of the specialties found at Hojoya is “Chanpon”. Chanpon is a musical instrument made of clear glass with painted flowers or animals. When blown it gives the sound of “Chan” and “Pon” hence the name of the product. It’s somewhat costly at between 3,000 to 9,000 yen, but it is a great souvenir.

It takes about five minutes on subway from Tenjin to Hakozaki Shrine Station. From the station, it takes another three minutes on foot to the shrine. Since the end of September can be still hot, we recommend you arrive in the evening.

Kuju “Yume” Otsuribashi (Kuju “Dream” Grand Suspension Bridge)

Last weekend, I took my family to Kuju “Yume” Otsuribashi in Oita Prefecture. It took us about 2 – 2 ½ hours to travel there. Considered the largest suspension bridge of its kind in Japan, it measures 390 meters long and hangs 173 meters high above ground. We were there at the end of the summer, but the best season is probably the autumn, when you can enjoy the spectacular colors in the mountains. If you do not own a car, you can take advantage of the many tour buses that service the area at this time.

The views from the bridge are truly magnificent. You can see Shindo no Taki (Shindo Waterfall), which was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most beautiful falls as well as Kyusuikei and Narukogawa Keikoku.

The admission fee is 500 yen. If you have a chance to go to Kyushu in the fall, I highly recommend you visit the Kuju bridge. You may also want to go a little farther to Aso and take in all that nature offers in the fall.

Because it was still hot and muggy during our visit, we stopped by Jion no Taki (Jion Waterfall) in Hita City on our way home. It took us about 30 minutes from Kuma Town where the bridge is located. This waterfall is famous for double layers of running water and has a walkway behind the actual falls. It is rare for a waterfall to have such a large footpath.

Fukuoka is a center city of Kyushu Island. You can visit many wonderful spots in 1 to 2 hours from Fukuoka! You should not miss those spots during your stay in Fukuoka!