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Karatsu Kunchi Festival

Listed under Festivals in Karatsu, Japan.

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November’s annual Karatsu Kunchi Festival reanimates the region’s traditional culture. During Karatsu Kunchi locals celebrate by pulling large floats, known as Hikiyama which are decorated with helmets or lions, to the music of flutes and drums while shouting “Enya! Enya!” Floats are covered with several types of lacquer and completed with gold and silver leaf.

The festival is divided over three days. On the first day, the event begins in the evening as 14 Hikiyama garnished with paper lanterns are pulled throughout the town creating the marvelous scene described.

On the second day, the portable Karatsu Shrine leads the Hikiyama parade to Nishinohama Beach and on the third day locals dress up in the uniform of the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the floats travel through the neighborhoods and at the end of the festivities the Hikiyama are put back in boxes and stored until next year. The Karatsu Kunchi is also a time to rejoice and enjoy good food and drinks.

Written by  Sari Schutrum-Boward.

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