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Karatsu City , Saga Related category:
Karatsu Hikiyama    

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Entire story: 7 minutes
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The Karatsu Kunchi is the Autumn Annual Grand Festival of Karatsu Shrine and is held around November 3. In the festival, yamakasa (floats) called hikiyama are pulled along the narrow streets of the city by parishioners clad in happi coats, to the lively accompaniment of gongs, drums and flutes. It is recorded that the hikiyama, in the form of kasahokoyama, was dedicated during the Horeki era (1751-1764). Presently, there are 14 hikiyama, including the akajishi (a red lion) of Katana-machi, created in 1819, and the shachi (a killer whale) of Kako-machi, created in 1876, and they all join in the parade along with hikiyamabayashi music. The festival starts with the Yoiyama on November 2, continues with the Otabisho shinko on the 3rd, and carries on until the Machimeguri on the 4th. In the Yoiyama, the hikiyama are lit up with paper lanterns and go round the town. On the 3rd, the hikiyama are taken to the sandy beach of Nishinohama myojindai, presenting a spectacular sight. On the 4th, the hikiyama are taken out once again to go round the town and then finally stored in the hikiyama exhibition hall.

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