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Fukuoka Prefecture is located at the northern tip of Kyushu, with the northeastern part of the coastal area facing Suonada, the northwest part facing the Genkai Sea, and the southwest facing the Ariake Sea. Here, it faces the Korean Peninsula and mainland China across the sea, and is Japan's earliest point of contact with mainland Chinese culture. Since the establishment of Kyushu Governor House in Dazaifu in the 7th century, Fukuoka Prefecture has gradually thrived as the center of Kyushu. The ancient capital, Dazaifu, ruled the Kyushu region for nearly 500 years. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine has over 200 varieties of red and white plum flowers, added together for a total of about 6,000 flowers. In addition, over 30,000 irises can be found on the premises, and visitors will be happy to know that the flowers bloom all year round. The temple also enshrines the god of education and wisdom. Tourists, many of them students, pay visits to the temple at all times of the year.
In addition, there are beautiful caves within the prefecture including the Sembutsu Limestone Cave, where the fossils of Naumann's elephant have been found. In addition, visitors can check out the Universal World Amusement Park which depicts the future of the universe and the city. The city of Fukuoka is also known as Hakata. The city itself is not only the political and economic center of the Kyushu region, but also the hub of aviation and railway transportation.
The Hakata Dontaku Port Festival is held every spring. Over 300 groups and nearly 25,000 residents participate in the festival, and the number of visiting spectators reaches 2 million visitors each year. A parade of children, people in costume, and freestyle dancers march through the city, creating a sight to behold. Hotels in Fukuoka fill up quickly during the festival season, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
There are new things to see every season in Fukuoka. Because it is located at the southern tip of Japan, cherry blossoms season is usually earlier than that of Honshu Island. In Fukuoka, they often begin to bloom in mid-March. The Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, a traditional festival that originated in Fukuoka, takes place every summer. Beginning on the first of July, the Hakata float makers from all over the prefecture have the chance to show off their talents as they display large floats that have been crafted with skill. The climax of Hakata Gion Yamakasa is the chase that begins at 4:59 in the morning on July 15th. About 300 people set out from Shinoda Shrine, from which they run while alternating members for 5 kilometers carrying a float that weighs about 1 ton. Whichever team completes the race in the shortest amount of time wins. The temple fair known as Houzyouya is held in autumn, and it’s a great time to check out the fields of flowers which appear to be as vast as the sea on Nokonoshima Island. In the winter, visitors can visit the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine to check out the Plum Blossom Festival.