I met up with J-san to stroll around the festival a bit. The blossom wasn't really out at this point, so it's not quite the best day for it, but it was relatively peaceful and the place was pretty lively.
Kyushu Olle, the tourism board (or one fo them?) for Kyushu, which is naturally represented by an anthropomorphic sheep thing with a banana on its head. Or something.
Off to the park
The event was in Maizuru Park, next to Fukuoka Castle, which I've talked about before.
Mr. Pringles. This is someone dressed up as the man from, you know, Pringles. They were giving out Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, which I declined because they ming.
Masks. These are show a lot in manga and other festival stories, but I didn't see a single person wearing one.
There were dozens of food stalls, a flea market, picnics, cosplay groups, and a stage show.
Food stalls. These ones are selling, left to right: omuyakisoba (as far as I can tell, an omelette stuffed with grilled noodles); ikayaki (grilled squid); and udon (thick noodles in soup).
One of the live shows at the Sakuramatsuri. I had no idea what was going on, but apparently that's fairly normal. J-san said it was original characters who had some kind of classic/stereotypical (delete for preferred tone) battle thing going on, presumably a bit like a school panto. These were adults though, and very acrobatic adults at that! There were also some girls singing pop at another point.
Photograph because I've never previously heard the term Gastropub outside the UK, but here it is... and yet somehow, a gastropub isn't the place I'd look for really good ale, you know? On account of how they're specifically trying to emphasise their food.
These people were involved in the event; the poster there seems to be explaining what the event was, although I didn't really grasp it.
Let the sakura begin
Henceforth, cherry blossom. Early days yet, it's not in full bloom.
There was a flock of black kites (鳶, とんび, tonbi, Milvus migrans) circling close above the park. Awesome. It's times like these I wish I had a zoom lens.
I'd probably have hung around for quite a while taking photos of everything, but J-san fancied heading over to Ohori Park so we wandered that way. Unfortunately this means I don't have photos of all the cosplay that people were setting up, or most of the acts. I'm hoping there might be more of that going on next weekend.
Although the cherry blossom is only starting to open, the festival's started and the weather's okay, so people are coming out for hanami. This is a traditional kind of picnic; the idea is to sit around admiring the cherry blossom and appreciating the spring, although eating and drinking are also important aspects of at least the modern version.
Maizuru park was pretty packed with stalls and tents, so most people were doing hanami in Ohori park or the bits of parklet between the two.
Eventually we headed back to Hakata as it was getting dark. The sakura-style lights were looking pretty good.
Quite an intensive day, about six hours all told, and I had to be up early the next day for a 9am excursion to Hita. Apparently I am overambitious!