A shrine known for the vivid display of Yamakasa and its promise of youth and long life
Established in 757, the shrine has been worshiped by local citizens as “Kushida-sama” for business prosperity and youth, and it is the oldest shrine with the local god of Hakata. For 770 years starting from 1241, the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, famous for its proud tradition, has made Kushida Shrine famous as a dedicatory shrine, and it is there that a permanent display of Yamakasa floats which rise 10 meters and are decorated with gorgeous Hakata dolls is located on the shrine grounds. Also, the Reisen Tsuru well which is supposed to bring youth and long life is good for drinking three mouthfuls of water; the first drink ensures youth and long life for the drinker, the second drink is for the family and the third is for blood relatives. As well, there is the sacred 1000-year-old tree known as the Kushida-no-Ginan as a symbol of long life, the Fufu Ginan is known as a female tree whose trunk branches out into three trunks and bears golden fruit in the fall; from this point of bearing descendants, it is known as a spiritual tree for matrimonial happiness and matchmaking. Also, due to the enthusiastic holding of Unohi Sumo at Kushida Shrine, power stones known as Rikishi which are lifted by famous sumo wrestlers to boast their strength are given as offerings. There is also a shopping arcade nearby which is within walking distance of Hakata Station so Kushida Shrine is a place which can be visited by tourists in Hakata. You can get a flavor of Hakata from the brilliant costumes and Yamakasa on display there.
The 770-year-old Hakata Gion Yamakasa
Originally started as a prayer to ward off an epidemic, the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival starts annually from July 1st and goes on for 15 days with the 15th being the climax with the float races. At 4:59 a.m. at the break of dawn, the floats take off from Kushida Shrine to the sound of large taiko drums, and do a timed race for about 5 km toward Susakimachi. New Yamakasa floats are created every year by artisans. During the time of the festival, the shopping arcade and street corners have about 20 of the floats positioned there so that you can get a close-up view of them.