The Karatsu Kunchi is an annual festival that takes place from November 2nd-4th. It involves the parading of massive floats - called hikiyama - through the city streets.
The floats, which measure five to six meters high and weigh anywhere from 2-5 tons, are pulled by teams of neighborhood representatives. With shouts of "En-ya" or "Yoisa", they race down thoroughfares with their huge cargo, fueled by sake and adrenaline. Pipers and drummers sit at the base of each float, spurring along the pullers with music. The design of the floats ranges from fish to dragons to samurai helmets. Up to 500,000 people make the trip to Karatsu for the spectacle so expect significant crowds but an incredible experience.
Japan resident for 10 years, with time spent in Okinawa, Kumamoto and Tokyo.