Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sumiyoshi Shrine: Fukuoka City

One of the more popular Shrines in Fukuoka City is Sumiyoshi Shrine which is located within a 1 km  radius of Hakata Station.  Realistically a very close and conveniently located Urban site and quite remarkable that such a quiet and open area can be situated so close to a major Train Station.  You are enclosed in such a nature filled area that you could be confused that you are in the countryside and not a large metropolitan city, such as Fukuoka.

Our walking tours of Fukuoka always includes a Shrine is our travels as it is a great way to connect to Japanese History and Culture.  The Shinto religion encompasses everything Japanese and it is believed that the gods created Japan in its purest form.  Sumo, the National Sport of Japan, was originally performed as a Shinto ritual and the Deity of the Sumiyoshi Shrine worshipped Sumo as a result.

In fact, before the annual Kyushu Basho in Fukuoka every November you can see a Sumo Ceremony at the Sumiyoshi Shrine whereby all the Wrestlers pray for healthy and prosperity for the last tournament of the year.  I haven`t seen this ceremony yet although I have been to many sumo matches in the past.  In the future I will attempt to get some photos and videos of this special and highly respected occasion.

A trip to Sumiyoshi Shrine will be remember for a long time to come.

Check out Sumiyoshi Shrine here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:








Check out these videos below to learn more about Sumiyoshi Shrine in Fukuoka City:


Friday, October 13, 2017

Okunchi Festival: Nagasaki City

Okunchi is the most famous festival in Nagasaki and one of the top 3 festivals in all of Japan.  It began as a celebration of autumn harvests in the late 16th century and became a shrine festival when Suwa Shrine was founded in 1642. Another purpose was to check for hidden Christians after the ban on Christianity.

This is still evident today in the custom of garden showing when the presenting neighbourhoods open up their homes to public scrutiny. One of the most famous performances of the festival is the Dragon dance which was originally performed on New Years Eve by the Chinese residents of Nagasaki.  From October 7-9 the presentations of the festival, which vividly reflect Nagasaki's colourful history, spill over from the three festival sites into the streets and create an atmosphere of celebration throughout the city.

Without a doubt, the locals of Nagasaki City, people living all over Nagasaki Prefecture and interstate and overseas visitors come from far away to check out the scenes, sights and tastes of Nagasaki during the special time of the year.  There are so many things to see and do that one will be throughly exhausted just by the decision making process of where to go and what to see, as is the norm with any major event.

I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time when i was passing through Chinatown and there was some practise going on with one of the teams.  Although the real event is much more spectacular I was throughly impressed and excited to witness the members going through their moves.

Click on the pics below to enlarge:







Here are some videos below to check out Okunchi for yourself:



........and when you get tired of watching the magical entertainment all around you, of course you want to put your feet up so to speak and sample all the delicious and amazing foods that Chinatown is famous for!  The you are in luck, a plethora of restaurants are all around and food like this is not only delicious but very reasonable as well.