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Every year the Yamakasa festival attracts a large number of tourists from throughout Japan. Over the last few years the festival had about one million spectators counting tourists and locals. In order to properly enjoy the festival, understanding the local transport system is important so here is some general information.
The subway in Fukuoka connects Fukuokas main areas. At the day of the Oiyama, that begins at 4:59, the 15th of July, the subway drives particularly early, already at 3:00 am. The exact schedules will be released mid June.
On the 15th of July the busses too drive earlier. However due to the traffic in Fukuoka we would advise to use a bus before 4 am. since it can happen that one is stuck in traffic when the run starts. The prefecture Omuta by Kumamoto is also connected to Fukuoka by special bus lines on this day. The exact schedules of the busses will be released in late June to early July.
Because of the large amount of traffic and a lack of parking places, the use of a car is not recommended.
Japan also has a large amount of traffic regulations, about cars, that you would have to know first.
If you want to use a car for the freedom it gives outside of Fukuoka, we recommend parking it further away from the district in which the festival is happening, perhaps even outside of Hakata.
The traffic situation in Fukuoka is often very hard to understand and most signs are only in Japanese. Also most countries driving licences have to be upgraded to an international license, before you are allowed to drive in Japan. When driving in Japan a good satellite navigation system is imperative.
There are several high speed night busses in operation between all major cities of Japan. Booking a ticket is relatively simple and there are several information websites in English to be found online.
Fukuokas Airport is unusually close to the city center and from arrival subway and bus lines are available. Also taxis wait before the airport around the clock. And while the taxi drivers english is usually not very good, showing them the written address will suffice.
The city center can be reached in 10 to 20 minutes using either of these systems, with the subway being extra convenient since you can avoid the traffic jam, that is Fukuoka on almost every day.
Popular ferry routes include a ride from the relatively close Korea over the beautiful islands of Tsushima and Iki to the port of Fukuoka or the west route over the Goto-island group.
Often Korean ferry companies like New Camelia or Beetle are used to ferry between the Korean metropolitan Busan and Fukuoka. Ferries from Okinawa also arrive in Fukuoka and can use the subway or busses to reach the center.
When arriving at the port of Fukuoka the zone of the Yamakasa festival is about a 30 minute walk away.