Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival Climaxes

Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival climaxes

The sounds of chanting men carrying huge, decorated floats signaled the climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Each float weighs more than one ton.

The annual summer festival reached its climax in the southwestern Japanese city of Fukuoka early Monday morning.

Teams dressed in happi coats gathered around the starting point at Kushida Shrine before dawn on Monday.

The first group roared into the grounds of the shrine at 4:59, circling a flag and singing a celebratory song.

They then dashed out along a five-kilometer course hoisting a massive float on their shoulders. Other teams followed them.

Spectators splashed the float-bearers with water and cheered them on throughout the dynamic performance.