Kushida Shrine is the grand tutelary shrine of Hakata, Fukuoka, meaning its deity is the protector of the city. The Shrine was built in 757 in honor of the gods of Ohatanushi-no-mikoto, Amaterasu-omikami, and Susanowo-no-mikoto. Emperor Koken ordered the shrine’s construction with the intention of sharing a god with the Kushida Shrine in Ise Province, modern day Mie Prefecture. The grounds have a symbolic gingko tree (click here to see a quick documentary) with two tablets in memory of the Mongolian invasion. Also on the shrine’s grounds is a popular “lifting stone” where many sumo wrestlers have come to test their strength. You might also encounter a fountain sculpture of a little boy dressed in festival clothing taking a pee. Of course there is, why not?
There are many festivals held at Kushida Shrine that attracts millions of visitors each year. Its most popular is the Hakata Gion Yamakasa that takes place in the summertime between July 1st and 15th. During this festival, men carrying extremely large and extravagant 1-ton floats called yamakasa race through the streets with dedication, focus, and determination. One of the massive floats is stored on the shrine’s grounds and is available for observation and pictures.