Exploring Japan: A Traveller’s Guide to Fukuoka

Fukuoka may not be as popular as Tokyo and Osaka but it certainly has its own appeal. Located on the northern shore of Kyushu, it is the most populous and largest city on the island and is considered as the capital city of the prefecture. Fukuoka is a modern city established in 1889 when the merchant town of Hakata and castle town of Fukuoka merged. Today, the city is best known for its unique cuisine and bustling night life. Here are just some of the scenes and places you shouldn’t miss when you visit Fukuoka.

A Night at Nakasu Island

If Tokyo has its fancy restaurants, Fukuoka’s food scene is famous for its yatai. Yatais are open-air food stalls that provide a fuss-free outdoor dining experience. Nakasu Island is a red light district known for the sea of neon lights and a long stretch of yatais serving delectable food. Here you’ll find all kinds of yakitori, oden, ramen, and tonkotsu to fill your belly.

Shopping at the Canal City

If Macau has its Grand Canal Shoppes, Fukuoka has its Canal City Hakata. A massive shopping complex advertised as a “city within the city”, this attraction covers a large area of 2.5 million square feet and has over 250 shops, cafes, restaurants, a theatre, hotels, and a canal linking the whole complex. It’s a great place for tourists to go for shopping and eating thanks to its diverse selection of stores and restaurants. There is a ramen-dedicated strip on the fifth floor called the Ramen Stadium where you can try the famed Japanese Hakata Ramen.

See the Lights of Mitama Festival

The Mitama Festival is Japanese Buddhist holiday or obon that honors the return of the spirits of ancestors. The word mitama translates to honourable spirit and the festival is celebrated with 6,000 lights. During this time, streets will be filled with many yatais and people wearing their yukata. The Gokoku Shrine where the festival is held is a unique golden shrine with a Torii gate made of cypress.

View the Whole City through the Fukuoka Tower

The Fukuoka Tower is the tallest seaside structure in Japan standing at 234m tall. It was built in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Fukuoka. The exterior of the tower is decked in 8000 mirrors making it a unique sight to see. There’s a three-story observation deck around the middle of the building where you can get a good vantage point to view the whole city.

Splash in the Waters of Momochi Beach

Also called as Momochihama Beach or Momochihama Seaside Park, this artificial 1-kilometer stretch of sand can be found at the base of the Fukuoka Tower. It’s a popular getaway destination for couples year round and is surrounded by many shopping and dining options. The beach is also a popular spot for group sports like beach volleyball and soccer.

There’s more to see and do in Fukuoka than this list can tell so make sure to add it on your Japan travel hit list.

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