Hojoya at Hakozakigu-shrine
Hojoya at Hakozakigu-shrine
Hojoya at Hakozakigu-shrine

Hojoya at Hakozakigu-shrine
12th – 18th September 2020

Hojoya at Hakozakigu-shrine is one of the Three Grand Festivals of Hakata along with Hakata Dontaku in spring and Hakata Gion Yamakasa in summer.

It is a festival for people to “admire and care for living things, prohibit themselves against killing and express their appreciation for bountiful harvest in autumn.” with a history of over 1000 years.

The origin of this festival is said to have been an oracle from the ‘Kami’ that said, “Since so much life is taken during wars, it is imperative that a freeing of life festival, ‘Hojoya’ should be observed.” As it was the divine will of the ‘Kami’ that the lives of all living things be benevolently protected, the ‘Hojoya’ festival began.
Every other year, a grand procession is observed in which the three ‘Kami’ of Hakozaki* are paraded through the local neighborhood in huge palanquins.

During the festival period (for 7 days and 7 nights) from September 12th (Sat.) to the 18th (Fri.), about 500 street stalls, which line the one-kilometer approach to the shrine, offer all sorts of food, ceramics, a variety of attractions such as a haunted house, shooting gallery, Yo-yo fishing and fresh whole ginger sale, and the festival draws an average of one-and-a –half million people each ear during the period.
It is said that before the Meiji period (1868-1912), the ‘Hojoya’ festival was one of the most beloved festivals and people would take a week’s holiday to visit Hakozakigu- shrine.

In 1971, production of the glass toy called either “chanpon (an imitation of the sound that the toy makes when blown)”, or “biidor” was revived after an absence of many years, the popping sound of this toy was once again heard at ‘Hojoya’.

The week-long ‘Hojoya’ festival comes to an end with a retua freeing of birds and fish, in accordance with the will of the kami.

*The three ‘Kami’ of Hakozaki

1. Main ‘Kami’- the Emperor of Oujin, the fifteenth Emperor of Japan, also called ‘Hachiman’
2. Empress Jingu(169-269), mother of the Emperor Oujin
3. Tamayori-hime, a female Sea ‘Kami’ from ancient Shinto Myth and mother of Japan’s first Emperor Jimmu(712-585BC)

Note: ‘Kami’ bears little resemblance to the God of Judeo-Christian spiritual tradition.
They are more similar in character to the Gods of Greek mythology.
Prior to and during the Second World War, the Emperor of Japan was considered to be ‘Kami’, but this does not mean Emperor was considered to be God. The Emperor of Japan has, however, been revered as an ancestral split manifesto in human form, since very ancient times.

Date: 12nd-18th September 2020
Time: around 10:00am – 09:00pm
Place: Hakozakigu-shrine, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka city
Nearest Station: Hakozaki Miyamae (Fukuoka city subway station No. H05 )
Grand procession schedule: 18:00 – 22:00 on 12 September / 19:00 – 20:00 on 14 September

Official Website: https://www.hakozakigu.or.jp/omatsuri/houjoya/ *Japanese only
PDF in English: https://www.hakozakigu.or.jp/pdf/english.pdf

Kyushu Guide: Fukuoka