We arrived about 30 minutes before the first float was supposed to reach, so we managed to get a good spot! Perfect for taking photos/videos.
There were policemen all around, and they were basically concerned with making sure people did not step onto the road because "your feet may be trampled". Yuka and I were very careful to stay on the curb after that.
The first procession! In total, there were about seven groups, I think? I didn't really keep count :p
Each group was led by little kids, and they were really adorable!
Most kids ran with someone older
Although the very littlest ones got to be carried. (Isn't it amazing that they're starting the traditions so early? I guess that's why the Yamakasa is still going strong)
And this is one of the floats:
And another one. If I remember correctly, the Fukuoka Museum mentioned that the floats used to be much taller and could be seen from a really far distance (don't want to commit to a number because I don't remember). Of course, in those days, there weren't high rise buildings either.
The buckets are for throwing water, I guess to cool down the participants. In fact, before the Yamakasa participants came, volunteers were pouring water on the road. I guess they were trying to cool it down or something (I guess the heavy rain in the morning was beneficial after all)
Right now, Yamakasa is like a race, hence the running, but apparently when it first started, it was just visiting the various temples. But one year, while one float was having a lunch break, another float ran past them, and since there was some rivalry going on (or something like that), it became a race.
And look, another kid!
These kids probably have way more stamina than me.
If the photos aren't enough, I managed to take a video of one of the floats! It's about a minute long, but it should give you a sense of what it's like (gave me a sense too, because Yamakasa takes place in the very early morning, which I probably will not be waking up for). Hope you enjoy it: