Tobata Gion O-Yamagasa
The Tobata Gion O-Yamagasa Festival is designated an Important Intangible Japanese Folk-cultural Asset and is one of the three large summer festivals in Fukuoka Prefecture (Hakata Gion Yamagasa Festival and the Kokura Gion Taiko Festival are the other two) but famous all over Japan, as well. Boasting 200 years of history, the four large Yamagasa floats, flying 12 large banner-like flags reminiscent of older times, are paraded in the afternoon streets with the smaller Yamagasa floats in tow. When night falls, the flags and decorations are removed and the large floats are turned into 12-tier (about 10 meters high) pyramids of light (Lantern Yamagasa) by stacking 309 paper lanterns on top of each other. With shouts of “Yoitosa, Yoitosa!” as those carrying the floats shoulder the heavy weight, the floats are advanced through the evening streets, highlighting the day of spectacle.