Hojoya festival, at Hakozakigu shrine, is one of Fukuoka's big three festivals. Held from September 12th-18th, over one million people visit the shrine each year to give thanks for the blessings of nature. It has been held at Hakozakigu shrine continuously since 919AD.
More than 700 stalls line the streets surrounding the shrine and there's plenty to enjoy for all ages. There are stalls serving all your favourite festival foods: takoyaki; yakisoba; okonomiyaki; shaved ice; kara age; barbecued corn; fresh fruit; yakitori; squid on a stick; and so much more. You'll also find dozens of beer tents to help wash down the delicious fare. You can try your hand at archery or baseball pitching to win a prize; there's a haunted house and zombie village if you're feeling particularly brave; take a peek inside the freak show if that's your cup of tea; or visit the flea market if you want some bargain goods. One of the more unusual things to do at Hojoya is fishing: try your luck at snagging a fish to take home; or perhaps you'd like to catch a fresh crab or eel for dinner? All of these activities are available along with a staging area that offers multiple performances daily, ranging from traditional dance to karate displays.
Hojoya is famous for selling large bunches of fresh ginger (a tradition that dates back to before the war) and 'Hakata chanpon'- a glass, pipe-shaped instrument imprinted with hand-made designs.
So far, this has been our largest and most enjoyable festival experience in Japan. We would highly recommend you pay a visit next time it comes around.