Visit this seaside destination, which is home to ancient temples, peaceful gardens, beaches, exciting nightlife areas and lively shopping districts.
Fukuoka blends a modern attitude with ancient traditions. Visit centuries-old temples, relax in ornamental gardens, browse boutiques and sample a music-loving nightlife scene. Fukuoka straddles the Naka River on the shores of Hakata Bay on Japan’s Kyushu Island. It’s an amalgamation of two towns, Fukuoka castle town and Hakata, which joined as one in 1889.
The ruins of the 17th-century Fukuoka Castle in Maizuru Park provide a glimpse into a bygone era. Enjoy a panoramic city view from the observation deck of Fukuoka Tower. It rises above Momochi Seaside Park, a man-made beach with a selection of casual dining options. Nearby is Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome, home of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks baseball team.
Spread throughout the city are temples and shrines dating as far back as the 1st century. Among the most important are Hakozaki Shrine, Kushida Shrine, Shofukuji Temple and Tochoji Temple. Learn about the lifestyles of city residents at the Fukuoka City Museum. Step back in time to the Meiji era at Hakata Machiya Folk Museum. Spot dolphins, sharks and other aquatic creatures at Marine World Uminonakamichi.
Poke around spice shops, handicraft stores and kimono artist workshops at Kawabata Shopping Arcade. Less than a 10-minute walk away, the architecturally striking Canal City mall shelters fashion outlets of international brands. Relax at lakeside Ohori Park and the peaceful Rakusi-en Garden. Alternatively, have fun with the family at Kashii-kaen amusement park.
When night falls, hop between glitzy bars in the Tenjin district. Discover an unpretentious scene at traditional izakaya bars and mentai rock venues on Oyafuko Dori street. Feast on Hakata ramen (pork soup and noodles), yakitori (skewered chicken) and tempura at a yatai food stand. Sample fresh seafood at Nagahama Fish Market or try unagi (eel).
Reach Fukuoka by flying to Fukuoka Airport, 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the city center. Arrive in July to watch the city’s seven neighborhoods compete in an extravagant float race during the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival. Enjoy cherry blossoms in March and April.