Karatsu Kunchi: Day 2 – The Sand Pull

That’s right I said sand pull. It’s the only way I can describe what you are about to see

 

The second day of Karatsu Kunchi begins mid-morning at a large sand lot between an elementary school and a major road. The road has been blocked to make way for the floats and hundreds of spectators who watch the 1-ton structures dash into the loose sand. It doesn’t take long to get stuck. Each team tries to pull their hikiyama as far in as possible. After the initial “pull” the ropes are reversed and the hikiyama is pulled to the far edge to line up with the others. This is a true test of strength

 

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Taiyama – one of the most popular floats. It is also one of two floats the swing to and fro.

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Shuten Doji on samurai Yorimitsu Minamoto’s Helmet (wow that’s a mouthful!) preparing to dash onto the sand.

 

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My friends and I were lucky to find an open spot across the street to view the event. The sidewalks were packed with people and those in our group brave enough to venture off found it difficult to move. It took some of us more than 30 minutes to reach our main group. We took turns climbing on a concrete ledge with a fence to get a better view. Most of my pictures were taken this way with someone bracing my legs so I wouldn’t fall over.

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It takes a lot of muscle to move the floats through the sand.

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After the floats are lined up spectators are allowed to walk onto the field, take pictures with their favorite floats, and find participating family members.

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So there you have it! But wait that’s not the end of Day 2! Stay tuned for Karatsu Kunchi Day 2 Part 2 – Feasting and House-Hopping Kunchi-style!

See you next time

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Karatsu Kunchi: Day 2 – The Sand Pull

  1. I never actually saw your pictures for the sand pull, these are great! We certainly lucked out to have that ledge to stand on to see everything as it happened!

  2. Your description of this event made me think of the Hot Air Balloon Festival held every October in Albuquerque. Love the colorful floats!

    1. Funny, there is a Hot Air Balloon Festival in Saga City (the capital of the prefecture) around the same time as Karatsu Kunchi. A lot of people visiting Saga also come to Karatsu.

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