"Kawawatari Jinkosai (川渡り神幸祭) is a 400-year old River-Crossing Festival. The festival’s name literally means “God Happy Festival,” and the event is quite lively. Groups of men carry 11 huge, elaborately-decorated portable shrines from one side of town (starting at a big Shinto shrine) to the other (at a place where the gods are said to enjoy relaxing). The journey, however, involves wading waist-deep across the river that runs through the town. This part of the trek prompts massive water fights, races, cheering showdowns, and all manner of noise-making." - http://www.fukuokajet.com/tagawa-kawawatari-jinkosai-2013/
There will be heaps and heaps of day-drinking, festival food, and jovial half-naked men sweating and splashing each other.
If you can, bring your camera and join us. It's one of the only times of year that the small city of Tagawa becomes the place-to-be in Fukuoka.
Here are some pictures from last year's Jinkosai: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152039575571767.1073741840.555626766&type=1&l=cc861674f5
The festival is two days (May 16 and 17th). On Saturday they bring the shrines across the river to spend the night in a temple, on Sunday they return the shrines.
Around 12-1 the shrines and participants gather and do chants , show off the shrines and gear up. There might even be dances around this time.. Not too sure!
Around 3ish the shrines enter the water and commence races and splashing etc.
Shrines leave the water around 5pm.
In the night time all the shrines are lit up for viewing.
Sunday -the schedule is slightly earlier
I am not too sure the schedule but the shrines enter the water around 1 or 2pm!
The closest station is Tagawaita station. On Saturday you pretty much just need to leave the station and you will be there. On sunday, just follow the crowds to the river.. It will be hard to miss!
*****Also please note that Tagawa train stations to DO NOT take Sugoca/IC cards, so you will need to BUY a ticket! If you are coming from fukuoka shi it will likely be JR all the way, but if you are coming from kokura it might be Heisei!
Hope to see you Saturday or Sunday!