Must-See Events in Kyushu: January 2018

Kyushu is one of the main islands composing Japan. This island is located in southwestern part. Climate is warm, history is long, nature is beautiful, and there are many historical tourist spots. In this article we will show you information about Kyushu’s history, traditional events, and “Hatsumoude” which means the first visit to a shrine of the year.

Traditional Festival

Dazaifu-Tenmangu Hatsumoude from 1st to 3rd January, 2018


Source: flickr

Hatsumoude is a festival to wish New Year a good year. At Dazaifu-tenmangu, which was build in 919, God of “Study, Sincerity and Warding off evil” Sugawarano Michizane is dedicated. Michizane, who was sincere and earnest historical figure, has gained the sympathy of people as an ideal personality of Japanese people. Especially in February and March, the season of entrance exam, lots of students and their parents come visit this shrine. There are many festivals and events in January as the first month of the year. You can buy some lucky charms like arrows of good luck and stuffs related to of the signs of the zodiac in Chinese astrology such as ornaments, bells and votive picture tablets. The sign of the zodiac in Chinese astrology of 2018 is dog. Dazaifu is a town where Dazaifu government office used to be during Nara and Heian era (from early 8th century to 12th century). Because the government was playing important role as a office of politics, military affairs and diplomacy, there are still many remnants of old buildings around the shrine. This shrine is always so crowded. If you are going to visit this shrine, remember that visitors need to follow the etiquette to worship. At first bow twice, clap your hand twice, and finally bow once again. If there is a bell, ring it before that.

Schedule

Opening Days and Hour: <From 31st December to 4th January>

This shrine will open at 18:30 pm on 31st December, and will be open for 24 hours from 1st to third January, and will close on 4th January depending on the number of visitor.

Events

31st December:  Oohaai-shiki at 16 pm at Sakuramon-mae. This is to ward off bad luck

of the year.

Joya-shiki at 23 pm at Gohonden. This is a festival to cerebrate the

New Year.

1st January:    Saitansai at 7 am at Gohonden. This is to pray to first emperor and Gods that this coming year would be a one with an abandoned harvest, peaceful, and security of the Imperial Family.

3rd January:      Genshi-sai, at 9 am at Gohonden. This is a festival held in many shrines all over Japan accompanying the emperor’s pray for peace, security and prosperity of the nation at the Imperial Court.

4th January:       Onohajime-sai at 9:30 am in front of the sacred tree “Tobiume”. (A festival to start working by swinging down an ax to the sacred tree wishing safety and prosperity of business of the season)

Access and Address

  • Place: Dazaifu-tenmangu, Gohonden
  • The Nearest Station: 5-minutes walk from Nishitetsu-densha Dazaifu Station
  • Terminal Station: 50-minutes from JR Hakata Station by bus or train
  • Address: 4-7-1, Zaifu, Dazaifu-shi, Fukuoka-ken
  • Map

Price and Reservation

No entrance fee or reservation is required.

Official Web Site

Dazaifu-Tenmangu

2. Usajinguu Hatsumoude From 1st to 3rd January, 2018


Source: flickr

Usamijingu is a shrine built in 725.This shrine is dedicated to Yawatanokami, a God of victory. This shrine is the head shrine of about 44,000 Hachimangu, shrines dedicated to Yawatanokami. The precinct of the shrine is surrounded with primeval forest, and there remain buildings and stone lanterns of 17th to middle of 19th century. This culturally and historically important shrine is designated as a national treasure. There is also a temple of Buddhism in the same precinct, which is the fist case of mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism. In the New Year many worshiper come to pray at this shrine. And many festivals are also going to be held such as “Saitansa” and “Genshisai” for the peace of the Imperial Household. Every year it gets really crowded in the days of those events. If you are planning to come visit this shrine, remember that visitors need to follow the etiquette to worship. At first bow twice, clap your hand twice, and finally bow once again. If there is a bell, ring it before that.

Schedule

・Opening days and hour: It’s open all day for worship from 31st December to 3rd January.

・Events

Saitansai: A festival to greet the New Year at 7:00 am of the first day of the year

Shinnensai: at 8:00 am, 2nd January

Genshisai: A festival that is held in many shrines all over Japan accompanying to the emperor praying for the peace and prosperity of the nation in the Imperial Court.  It’s from 8:00 am, 3rd January.

Access and Address

・Place: Usajingu

・The Nearest Station: Take a Oita-kotsu bus for Nakatsu and Yokkaichi at JR Usa Station, then get off at Usahachiman after about 15 minutes. The bus stop is close to the shrine.

・40-minutes from JR Oita Station. Get off at JR Nippou-honsen “Usa Station”.

50-minutes from JR Kokura Station by a limited express. Get off at JR Nippou-honsen “Usa Station”.

From Usa Station, it’s about 10-minutes by bus or taxi.

・An hour from Oita Airport to Usajingu by car

・With car ferry, 35-minutes from Beppu. Get off at Usabeppu-doro Usa IC.

・Address: 2859, Minamiusa, Ooji, Usa-Shi, Oita-ken

・MAP

Price and Reservation

No entrance fee or reservation is required.

Official Web Site

宇佐神宮庁

3. Yuutoku-inari Shrine Hatsumoude From 1st to 3rd January, 2018


Source: flickr

Yuutoku-Inari Shrine was built in 1687. It is counted among the three big traditional Inari shrines with other 2 Inari shrines, Fushimi-Inari and Kasama-Inari. The main buildings such as the main shrine, Okaguraden and Sakuramon are all lacquered and so beautiful. The main shrine is on the top of the stage where you can get to after going up the stairs with 100 steps. If you can go up for more 20 minutes from the main shrine, you can get to the hidden shrine with beautiful landscape. This is a “power spot”, which means a place that is full of energy that positively influence the visitors to turn the life right way. Inari Shrine is a shrine being dedicated to Inari-daimyoujin, a God of agriculture. Because fox is a messenger of the God, a pair of the stature of fox is placed at in the shrine. Although the God used to be a God of agriculture, now is also regarded as a God of commerce and industry. There is a shopping district in the approach to the shrine. It is expected that it would get so crowded. If you are going to visit this shrine, remember that visitors need to follow the etiquette to worship. At first bow twice, clap your hand twice, and finally bow once again. If there is a bell, ring it before that.

Schedule

・Opening days and hour: It’s open all day log from 1st to 3rd January.

1st January, Gantansai

Access and Address

  • Place: Yutokuinari shrine
  • The Nearest Station: 10-minutes by taxi from JR Higo-kashima Station
  • JR Hakata Station JR Nagasaki Honsen Express 〜 Higo-kashima Station (about 1 hour)

JR Naga

Saga Airport  Airport limousine taxi 〜 JR Higo Kashima Station (about 50 minutes)

Nagasaki Airport  taxi 〜 Yutokuinari shrine (about 1 hour)

  • Address: 1855, Furuedaotsu, Kashima-shi, Saga-ken
  • MAP

Price and Reservation

No entrance fee or reservation is required.

Official Web Site

Yutokuinari Shrine

An Event to Experience Traditional Culture and to Know the History

4. Toka-ebisu Shrine Shogatsu Taisai Festival from 8th to 11th January, 2018


Source: flickr

Toka-ebisu shrine was built on 10th January 1592. This shrine is dedicated to one of the most well-known God “Ebis” and “Daikoku”. People worship this God as a God who made the nation, God of agriculture, God of commerce, God of medical care, and now the God is also worshiped as “God of matchmaking”. The first festival after 3 days of the New Year is Shogatsutaisai Festival held in Fukuhaku* area. During this festival, the shrine gets so crowded with people who pray for good business, well being of their family, good haul and good match. In the precinct of the shrine, there is a lottery without a blank and you can win good-luck articles such as “Fukuzasa”, “Fukuyose (a rake)”, “Fukuokoshi (a Dharma doll)”, and “Fukudawara (a straw bag)”. You can also get unique “matchmaking lottery” in this shrine. There is a place to tie the lottery in this shrine. In Japan people tie the lottery to a rope or tree wishing for tying them with God. Because there will be a many street stalls, it is expected that it would get so crowded. Please take it for granted that you need to wait for an hour. If you want to avoid waiting for a long time, it’s recommended to go there early in the morning. When you are going to visit this shrine, remember that visitors need to follow the etiquette to worship. At first bow twice, clap your hand twice, and finally bow once again. If there is a bell, ring it before that.

*Fukuhaku: “Fuku” means an old castle town west of Nakagawa, and “Haku” means a harbor city facing Hakata bay.

Schedule

  • Opening days and hour:

8th January: “Hatsu-ebisu” from 10 am to 11 pm

9th January: “yoi-ebisu” from 9 am to 6 am on the next day

10th January: “Shoutai-sai” from 6 am to 25 pm

11th January: “Nokori-ebisu” from 9 am to around 26 pm

Access and Address

・Place: Tokaebisu Shrine

  • The Nearest Station:
  • Take Kagoshima Honsen and get off at Yoshitsuka Station, it’s 5-minutes walk from the station.
  • Terminal Station:

Take Kagoshima Honsen at JR Hakata Station and get off at Yoshitsuka Station, it’s 5-minutes walk from the station.

Take Metro at JR Hakata Station and get off at Chiyo-kenchogushi, it’s 5-minutes walk from the station.

・Address: 7-1, Higashi-kouen, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi

・MAP

Price and Reservation

No entrance fee or reservation is required.

Official Web Site

tooka-ebisu Shrine

An Event to Enjoy Nature

5. Kujukushima Sightseeing Cruise Pearl Queen “First Sunrise of the Year Cruise”   1st January, 2018


Source: Kujukurishima pearl sea resort

The first sunrise of the year at Kujukushima is a special event you can experience only for the first day of the year with a clear sky. Kujukushima is the area of sea with scattered small islands for 25 km away from Sasebo bay. It is said that the area’s density of islands is the highest in Japan. Although the name of the area is “kujuku”, which means “99” in English, there are actually over 208 islands in the area. “Kujuku” are used as a word that expresses “many” here. There are 4 islands where people live, and 50, 300, 86 and 71 people live in each island. Main islands had each name that comes from history, legend, folk story and tradition that is intriguing. The pleasure boat “Pearl Queen” threads the way through the scattered islands. You will be so satisfied to see the great scenery during the elegant and comfortable cruise.

Schedule

  • The date: 1st January, 2018 (Monday of national holiday)
  • Hour: It departs at around 7:20 and goes around the sea area for an hour.
    A lottery with some gifts such as “Kujukushima oyster” is going to be held in the boat!

Access and Address

  • Place: Kujukushima Pearl Resort  Kujukushima Yuran
  • The Nearest Station: 25-minutes by car or bus from JR Sasebo Station

JR Omura Station  1 hour by JR train and 25 minutes by bus

from Sasebo Station

Nagasaki Airport   1 hour and 30 minutes by car

  • Address: 1008, Kashimae-cho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki-ken
  • MAP

Price and Reservation

Price: Adult (over high school student): 2,400 yen,

Child (from 4 years old to junior high school student): 1,200 yen

Reservation by phone is required. The number is 0956-28-1999

Official Web Site

Kujukurishima pearl sea resort

6. Daikambou First Sunrise of the Year 1st January, 2018

Daikambo is a lookout point located in a part of Aso mountain kitagai-rinzan that has world biggest caldera. In the center of the caldera, Asogogaku mountains range. This lookout point commands a panoramic view of the huge caldera basin and kuju-renzan mountains. On the 1st January, Many Japanese people come to see Asogogaku that is lit up with sunshine and looks like lying Buddha. Although the highest of those 5 mountains is Takadake of 1,592 meters above the sea, other 4 mountains are also in the 1,400 meters class. If you are lucky, you can see a sea of cloud early in the morning from Daikanbo. The caldera basin with sea of cloud is so mystic and mysterious. A great writer Roho Tokutomi from Kumamoto was impressed with the magnificent view and named the lookout point “Daikanbo”, which means “great looking point”. There is a stone monument in a mountain path 10 minutes away from the parking. There are also some stands and restaurants where you can get local food, famous soft ice cream and baked pudding.

Schedule

  • Opening date and hour: It’s expected that the sun will rise at 7:12 am at 1st

Access and Address

  • Place: A looking point 936 meters above the sea is located in a part of Aso mountain kitagai-rinzan
  • Because there is no public transportation by the time of sunrise, you need to go with your own car. It’s 90-minuts from Kikusui IC and Kumamoto IC, and 120 minutes from Fukuoka.
  • Address: 2090-8, Yamada, Aso-shi, Kumamoto-ken
  • MAP

Price and Reservation

Free.

There is a parking lot for 300 cars.

No reservation is required.

Official Web Site

There is no official one.

Related link:http://www.city.aso.kumamoto.jp/tourism/spot/view_place/

http://www.asodaikanbou.com/

7. Udojingu  First Sunrise of the Year  1st January, 2018


Source: 旬ナビ

Udojingu is a unique shrine which has the main shrine on the tip of Udosaki that faces beautiful Hyuga-nada of the Pacific Ocean. The shrine is inside the natural holly cave (1000㎡) where main God is said to be born. The building is vividly painted red. The shrine is surrounded by strangely shaped rocks and reefs. You can see breathtakingly beautiful sunrise on the first day of the New Year. This shrine has long history. It had once build between 592 to 628, and rebuild in 782. There is a special prayer for more prosperity and good luck of Japanese Imperial Household the thorough 1st to 3rd January 2018. Although you can ask them to pray for you, you need to pay 5,000 yen. Inside the precinct of the shrine there are some spots you should go to such as “Chidori-bashi Bridge” from where you can see strangely shaped rocks and reefs, “Ochichi-iwa rock” to which the mother of the God put breasts, “Ochichi-mizu water” that drips from the rock, and “Magai-butsu”, which is the figure of Buddha fcarved on a rock face. . If you are going to visit this shrine, remember that visitors need to follow the etiquette to worship. At first bow twice, clap your hand twice, and finally bow once again. If there is a bell, ring it before that.

Schedule

Opening days and hour

  • 31st December, shrine closes at 18 pm and opens at 22 pm.
  • 1st January, closes at 21 pm. Expected time for the first sunrise is 7:13 am.
  • 2nd January, opens at 6 am and closes at 20pm.
  • 3rd January, opens at 6 am and closes at 19pm.
  • From 4th January onward, it opens at 7th and closes at 18 pm (planned).

Access and Address

  • Place: Udojingu main shrine
  • The Nearest Station: 20-minutes from JR Aburatsu Station by Miyako Bus

The bus stop is Udojingu, 10-minuts walk

  • Terminal Station: At Miyazaki-ekimae Bus Center that is 1-minut away from JR Miyazaki Station, take a bus bounded for Nichinan・Obi. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. Bus stop is Udojingu. It’s 10-minutes walk.
  • Address: 3232, Miyaura, Nichinan-shi, Miyazaki-ken
  • MAP

Price and Reservation

Free

No fee is required

Free parking lot for 100 cars are available.

Official Web Site

鵜戸神宮

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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.