Yanagawa - Tuesday 2nd April
Yanagawa is a town close to Fukuoka city which I've been to 5 years ago. It's famous for it's canals, eel (which is delicious), and it's girl's festival decorations. Unfortunately it was horrible weather and we all got pretty soaked despite us all carrying umbrellas. First things first we visited a shop that sold the girls festival decorations. There's a tradition in Japan that when a girl is born in the family you buy these decorations (I think when she's 5) and put them up for show in February (or all year round). It's supposed to make the girl live a long healthy life. There's one decoration that's a hanging mobile consists of 52 balls and toys (one for each year of your life. This was an old tradition, I don't know if people were expected to live longer than 52). Another common decoration is one of an emperor and princess sitting on the top with their court below them, but I don't know the cultural significance of these. I just know that they're incredibly expensive. We visited a number of houses that had huge rooms of these decorations. Including one which was an open house and for 6 generations the grandmother would hand make all the decorations whenever a girl in the family was born. Resulting in the largest and oldest display of Hinamatsuri decorations in Yanagawa (it even appeared on TV).
Daizaifu - Tuesday 16th April
So it was back to Dazaifu again, but this time with the school! We pretty much did everything we did before, go to the temple over the bridges and get fortunes (this time I got supper luck!). We went and got Umegaimochi, the anko filled cooked mochi (was so good), and went to the national museum (which we didn't do before). We actually didn't see much of the museum because we had to pay to see the exhibitions so we just played around the area next to the gift shop that allows you to play with objects from other cultures. We did learn how to make pretty korean knots though!