Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival peaks in Fukuoka

The streets of Fukuoka in western Japan came alive as the ancient Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival came to a peak today.

The annual event has been underway since the year 1241.

People say the festival began when a priest spread holy water from a float to clear out a plague.

But participants were in a fever today with the grand finale.

Seven teams carrying elaborate floats raced through a five-kilometer route.

Each float weighs nearly a ton.

The Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival marks the start of summer in Fukuoka.

Up to a million spectators turn out each year.