Guide to Top 7 Must-Visit Events in Kyushu — December 2017

Kyushu has plenty of good food and tourist spots. Many domestic and overseas travelers visit popular destinations, such as Hakata, Nagasaki, and Kagoshima. We’ve curated a list of events for your next trip to Kyushu. There are various must-see events from traditional festivals to light shows. Check them out!

Modern Art Events

1. [Fukuoka] Winter Fantasy: Hakata — November 14, 2017 through January 9, 2018


Source: yakei-kabegami.com

At Winter Fantasy: Hakata, one million LED lights illuminate the area from JR Hakata City to Canal City Hakata.

The trees around JR Hakata Station are decorated in white lights, creating a magical atmosphere. New for this year, illuminated pillars, named “Sky Pillar Gate”, have been erected in the plaza facing JR Hakata Station and a “Flower Tiara” has been assembled near the Henry Moore sculpture. Further, the second-floor walls of KITTE Hakata Building are adorned with lights and a Christmas tree in Canal City Hakata has been reimagined as a spring flowing light into the canal, creating a fantastical imagery of water and lights.

Hakata Station transforms itself from day to night. Enjoy the romantic night views of Hakata Station.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

November 14, 2017 through January 9, 2018

Illuminations are between 17:00-24:00 * Note that certain venues may have varying days/hours.

・Scheduled programs during event term

Access and Address

・Location

Fukuoka-shi, Hakata Ekimae-dori (JR Hakata City to Canal City Hakata), Taihaku-dori, Sumiyoshi-dori, Chikushiguchi Chuo-dori, Chikushiguchi-dori (Takeshita-dori).

・Directions from closest station

Walking distance from JR Hakata Station

・Directions from closest hub station

Walking distance from JR Hakata Station

・Address

Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required

Official Website

http://hakata-machi.jp/

2. [Fukuoka] Illumination 2017 Mojiko Retro Romantosai – November 18, 2017 through February 25, 2018


Source: Illumination Spotlight

This event takes place at a tourist spot in Moji-ku, Kita-Kyushu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture. Centered around historical buildings, which were constructed when the town prospered from international trade, numerous hotels and commercial buildings in the JR Mojiko Station area have been renovated in a retro, Taisho-era style design. This area has been included in the top 100 cityscapes by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Many travelers visiting Karato, Shimonoseki-shi and Ganryu Island also stop by Mojiko.

The retro area of Mojiko, which is known for red brick architecture, hosts a customary lighting event during the winter. 300,000 lights illuminate trees and historical architecture, creating a romantic ambiance.

In addition to beautifully lit trees, the event has a photo booth, where families and couples can take pictures. Mojiko will also host a countdown event on December 31st.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

November 18, 2017 through February 25, 2018

17:30~22:00

*Stays open until 5:00 AM on New Year’s Day

*Lighting ceremony will commence at 18:30 on November 18

*Special countdown event on December 31

・Scheduled programs during event term

Access and address

・Location

Mojiko Retro Area

・Directions from closest station

Immediately by JR Mojiko Station

・Directions from closest hub station

5 minutes from Kokura Station on Kagoshima Main Line

・Address

Moji-ku, Kita-Kyushu-shi

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required.

Official Website

http://www.mojiko.info/

3. [Nagasaki] Glover Night Illumination 2017 – November 18, 2017 through December 31, 2017


Source: Illumination Guide

Glover Garden is a tourist destination located in Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture. Currently, a popular open-air museum, Glover Garden was the grounds for a home occupied by English merchants, Glover, Ringer, and Alt, whom moved to Nagasaki following the opening of Nagasaki port in 1859. The current building was relocated to Glover Garden from another area in Nagasaki.

The Glover Night Illumination takes place within Glover Garden. The garden, which has panoramic views of Nagasaki, is lit up with 300,000 lights and each section is illuminated differently. The lights emphasize the stately presence of the former-Glover residence that is a designated World Heritage Site and Important Cultural Property.

From December 1st, the garden will extend park hours until 21:00 and display a large Christmas tree measuring over 7 meters tall for the “Christmas Night Illumination”.

Additionally, the garden will collaborate with Huisten Bosch’s “Kingdom of Light” program to organize a 3D projection mapping event that will run from December 26, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Enjoy an elegant night in the illuminated Glover Garden.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled programs during event term

November 18 (Sat.), 2017 through November 30 (Thurs.), 2017

8:00~20:00 (last entry is 19:40)

Note that opening time may change

December 1 (Fri.), 2017 through December 31 (Sun.), 2017

8:00~21:00 (last entry is 20:40)

Note that opening time may change

The collaborative 3D projection mapping show with Huisten Bosch’s “Kingdom of Light” program at the former-Glover residence is scheduled for March 31, 2018.

Access and address

・Location

Glover Garden

・Directions from closest station

From JR Nagasaki Station, ride the Line 1 tram and transfer at Tsukimachi to Line 5. Disembark at Ouratenshudo-shita and walk 7 minutes.

・Directions from closest hub station

2 hours on Kamome Limited Express from Hakata Station

・Address

8-1 Minami Yamatemachi, Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Adults: 610 yen; High School Students: 300 yen; Elementary and Middle School Students 180 yen

Reservations are not required

Official Website

http://www.glover-garden.jp/

4. [Nagasaki] Huisten Bosch Kingdom of Light — November 7, 2017 through December 25, 2017


Source: Travel Marche

Huisten Bosch is a theme park located in Saseho-shi, Nagasaki. The theme park, which is inspired by European and Dutch architecture, is 1.5 times the size of Tokyo Disneyland, making it the biggest theme park in Japan.

Huisten Bosch hosts a light show, “Kingdom of Light”, which features 13 million lights and has been voted 1st place for light shows in Japan, four years in a row.

This year, the event will present a massive 3D projection mapping show, measuring 110 meters wide, on the walls of Huisten Bosch Palace. The show theme is “Snow White” and will commence from November 25th.

Highlights of the event include the “Sky Light Café”, where visitors can overlook a sea of lights; “Sky Light Tree”, a 30-meter tree embodying the world of stars; and “Dragon Robot Light”, a fire breathing dragon measuring 13 meters long and 6.5 meters high.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled programs during event term

November 3 (Fri.), 2017 through May 6 (Sun.), 2018

Lights are on from sundown until close, but is subject to change

Access and address

・Location

Huisten Bosch

・Directions from closest station

Walking distance from JR Huisten Bosch Station

・Directions from closest hub station

From Hakata Station, ride the Huisten Bosch Limited Express. At Haiki Station, transfer to the Seaside Liner rapid train on Omura Line. Travel time is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.

・Address

1-1 Huisten Bosch-cho, Saseho-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

1 day passport (1-day admission, park bus, canal cruiser, access to certain facilities)

Adults (18+): 6,900 yen

High school and middle school students: 5,900 yen

4+ up to elementary school students: 4,500 yen

Seniors (65+, must show ID): 6,400 yen

Huisten Bosch Exploration Ticket (1-day admission, 1 day park bus pass)

Adults (18+): 4,400 yen

High school and middle school students: 3,400 yen

4+ up to elementary school students: 2,100 yen

Seniors (65+, must show ID): 4,400 yen

Sky Light Café: 1,000 yen per person (includes 1 drink and snacks)

Canal of Light and Water: 400 yen with a boat passport, 800 yen regular fare

Reservations are not required.

Official Website

https://www.huistenbosch.co.jp/

Nature Events

5. [Fukuoka] Autumn Leaves at the Akizukijo Ruins — Late November 2017 through Early December 2017

Akizukijo was a castle originally built in 1203 by Taneo Harada, who claimed the name Akizuki. The castle was subsequently rebuilt by Nagamasa Kuroda’s third son, Nagaoki, who helmed the Akizuki clan. The castle has since been brought down, but a few sections of the original wall and castle gate (a designated Important Cultural Property) remain standing.

Akizuki is a castle town that is often labeled “Little Kyoto of Chikuzen”. Come fall (late November to early December), the Japanese maple trees by the black gate exhibit fiery red colors. The vibrant fall leaves provide a splendid contrast against the black gate and many visitors wake up early to catch a glimpse. Visitors can also relax at the numerous tea shops that line “Sugi no Baba”.

We recommend cherishing the uniquely Japanese and charming views of autumn leaves.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled programs during event term

Peak viewing is usually between November 25 (Sat.), 2017 through December 5 (Tues.), 2017. However, peak viewing time may vary depending on the weather.

Open 24 hours.

Access and address

・Location

Akizukijo and surrounding areas

・Directions from closest station

From Amagi Station on Amagi Rail, ride the Amagi Tour Bus towards Akizuki/Notori for 20 minutes and disembark at Kyodokan-mae. Walk 10 minutes.

・Directions from closest hub station

From Hakata Station, ride the Kagoshima Main Line and Amagi Rail for 1 hour.

・Address

Akizuki Notori, Asakura-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required.

Official Website

http://amagiasakura.net/

Traditional Festivals

6. [Saga] Yutoku Inari Shrine “Ohitaki Festival” — December 8, 2017


Source: Yutoku-An Blog

Yutoku Inari Shrine is one of the three major inari shrines in Japan. Every year, it hosts the “Ohitaki Festival”, a 300-year old festival celebrating a bountiful harvest that takes place on the night of Niinomesai.

The highlight of Ohitaki Festival is the enormous bonfire that reaches a height of 20 meters. The sight of the roaring fire is certainly impressive. Legend says that the fire will ensure health and safety for the upcoming year.

At the festival, shrine maidens will serve sweet sake made from sacred rice. This sweet sake is extremely nutritious and some call it the “IV drip” drink.

Offer your prayers at the festival and welcome the new year with good fortune.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled programs during event term

December 8, 2017 from 20:00

Access and address

・Location

Yutoku Inari Shrine, Kagoshima-shi, Saga Prefecture

・Directions from closest station

From Hizen Kashima Station on Nagasaki Main Line, ride the bus for 15 minutes to Yutoku Inari Jinja-mae

・Directions from closest hub station

From Hakata Station, ride the Kyushu Shinkansen to Shintosu Station. At Shintosu Station, transfer to Kamome Limited Express and ride for 1 hour.

・Address

1855 Furueda, Kashima-shi, Saga Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required.

Official Website

https://www.yutokusan.jp/

7. [Oita] Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine Bungo Otaimatsu — December 1, 2017 through December 3, 2017


Source: Bungo Takada-shi, Oita Prefecture

The 930-year old Autumn Festival at Wakamiya Hachiman Shrine is one of the big three “naked” festivals in Japan, along with the naked festivals at Saidaiji in Okayama and Hofu Tenmangu in Yamaguchi. According to lore, it originated as a form of training in 1084.

The highlight is the “River Crossing of Goshinko”, which takes place on the first and last days of the festival. During this ceremony, an enormous torch measuring 16 meters long and weighing 5 tons is lit with a fire arrow to illuminate the area and an omikoshi (a portable shrine) is carried across the river, while drummers play the taiko on a floating stage. The awe-inspiring spectacle looks like a scene from a picture scroll. We recommend watching the lively traditional festival up close.

Schedule

・Event Date and Time

・Scheduled programs during event term

December 1, 2017 through December 3, 2017

*Note that the schedule is subject to change depending on river conditions.

Access and address

・Location

Katsuragawa, Bungo Takada-shi, Oita Prefecture

・Directions from closest station

From Usa Station on JR Nippo Main Line, ride the bus for 10 minutes to Bungo Takada. Walk 5 minutes.

・Directions from closest hub station

From Kokura Station, ride the Sonic Nichirin Limited Express to Nakatsu Station. At Nakatsu Station, transfer to the Nippo Main Line and ride for 2 hours.

・Address

Odama, Bungo Takada-shi, Oita Prefecture

・Map

Admission and reservation

Free admission and reservations are not required.

Official Website

No website.

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About Shoto Hachiya

Hello, my name is Shoto! I’ve lived in and traveled many countries. Through the experiences, I saw a lot of different cultures and customs, and that made me realize how unique Japanese culture is.