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Travel guide – Fukuoka

Situated on the northern shore of Kyushu Island, Fukuoka is one of the largest cities in Japan. The multicultural metropolis offers rich history, architecture, art, shopping and delicious cuisine, attracting millions of visitors each year. Fukuoka has been a trade hub and a key point of exchange between Japan and mainland Asia ever since the 7th century. The city was originally two separate towns, Fukuoka and Hakata, which merged together in 1889 to form the modern city that exists today.

Fukuoka has a lively and diverse urban culture, hosting plenty of events throughout the year and offering things to see and experience from numerous historical monuments and museums to futuristic buildings and entertainment centres.

Ohori Park – A city park in central Fukuoka. The large pond at its centre originally served as a moat for the Fukuoka Castle. For a small entrance fee you can visit the traditional Ohori Park Japanese Garden at the southern end of the park.

Fukuoka Castle – The ruins of Fukuoka Castle are located in the middle of the city in Maizuru Park. The large castle was built in the early 17th century, but today only a few ruined walls and towers remain.

Dazaifu Tenman-Gu Shrine – Located just outside of the Fukuoka city centre, the shrine was built to honour Sugawara Michizane, the god of wisdom. On the shrine’s large grounds you can marvel at the beauty of thousands of Asian apricot trees and irises as well as other seasonal flowers.

Kyushu National Museum – The museum houses a large collection of cultural artefacts, which showcase the history and formation of Japanese culture from the Palaeolithic era all the way until the late 19th century. The glass building with a roof like rolling hills is a unique sight itself.

Canal City – Often called a city within a city. Canal City is a giant five-floored entertainment complex with shops, cafés, restaurants, a theatre, game centre, cinemas, two hotels and a canal that runs right through the complex.

Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival – Held in mid-July, Hakata Gion Yamakasa is an energetic summer festival that involves teams of men, representing the different districts of Fukuoka, racing through the city’s streets carrying 1-ton floats. Larger and more ornately decorated versions of the floats are already on display in Hakata weeks before the event.

Fukuoka is located in a region with hot, humid summers and mild winters. In the Kyushu area you can discover many beautiful islands and towns perfect for relaxing getaways.

Beppu – About two hours’ drive to the east from Fukuoka is Beppu, one of Japan’s most famous destinations for ‘onsen,’ or hot springs. In the area you can find a wide variety of baths and springs to relax in.

Nagasaki – South of Fukuoka is the prefecture of Nagasaki, another popular holiday destination. Nagasaki has been influenced by many different cultures during its colourful history, which is visible in the area’s food, architecture and cultural offering.

Iki Island – Just off the coast of Kyushu and easily accessible by ferry lies Iki Island, a beautiful green oasis with hot springs and white-sand beaches. Enjoy a breather in the island’s slow pace of life.

Kagoshima – Several hours’ drive south from Fukuoka on the southern tip of Kyushu is Kagoshima. The area is a volcanic tropical paradise with hiking trails criss-crossing the slopes of live volcanoes.

Yakushima Island – A half-day ferry ride or short flight away from Kagoshima lies Yakushima Island, a UNESCO nature preserve with giant cedar trees and excellent opportunities for diving and snorkelling.

Fukuoka is filled with great shopping opportunities from large shopping malls and department stores to unique little shops.

Tenjin – The main shopping area in Fukuoka. Find everything from luxury labels to chain and department stores and small boutiques.

Canal City – With over 250 shops selling anything from clothing and jewellery to comics and electronics, Canal City is also one of the largest shopping centres in Fukuoka.

JR Hakata City – A modern shopping centre above the Hakata Station with over 200 shops, restaurants and a cinema.

Marinoa City – Situated a bit outside of the city centre, the outlet mall offers a unique shopping experience by the sea complete with restaurants, a boardwalk and a ferris wheel.

Mitsukoshi – A large, high-end department store with a wide selection of clothing and cosmetics, as well as several restaurants and an art gallery.

Kawabata Shotengai – A charming old shopping street in the Nakasu area, lined by a variety of little shops selling traditional Japanese products and food. Kawabata Shotengai is great place to discover a bit of the city’s history.

Some say that Fukuoka offers the best food in Japan. Why not pay the city a visit and find out for yourself!

Hakata/Fukuoka ramen – The famous local ramen dish with thin noodles, thick tonkotsu broth and slices of pork. The best places to enjoy the dish are traditional yatai food stalls around the city.

Yakitori – Grilled chicken skewers.

Mentaiko – Spicy cod roe, usually served with rice or mixed into other foods.

Motsunabe – A mildly spicy hot pot dish, usually of pork or beef tripe and vegetables and cooked in a soy sauce or miso based soup. Often served with a bowl of rice.

Gyoza – Pan-fried, Chinese style dumplings usually stuffed with pork, cabbage and onions.

Fugu – If you’re feeling adventurous, try the puffer fish that the region is famous for. The fish is served in several different, carefully prepared dishes.

Fukuoka is a compact city and although there are many good options for public transport especially when you want to move between different areas of the city, the easiest way to get around is by walking.

Subway – The subway connects Hakata Station, Tenjin Station and Fukuoka Airport to each other and is a quick and easy way to get around the city. Buying a day pass is a good idea if you intend to make several trips.

Bus – Buses are a good way to travel, especially if you want to get a tour of the city and visit popular attractions. Just make sure you have the exact fare in cash when you get on, as change will not be available.

Taxi – Taxis are available and the service is very good, but prices can be rather high. Write down your destination on a piece of paper just in case, as all drivers do not speak English.

By foot – The city is fairly compact, so walking is a great way to move about and get to know different areas.

Bike – Rental bikes are readily available and another good option for discovering the city.

Currency in Japan – Yen (¥)

Electricity – Flat-pin plugs are used in Fukuoka, and the voltage is 100 volts.

Don’t tip – Tipping is not customary in Japan and may be considered bad manners.

Cash – It is a good idea to bring cash with you, as cards are not universally accepted and not all ATMs accept foreign credit cards.

Time zone – UTC/GMT +9 hours.

Water – Safe to drink everywhere.

Fukuoka Airport (FUK)

The airport is located about 7 kilometres from the city centre of Fukuoka.

  • Finnair flights: International terminal, D counter. Check-in kiosks are located near counters D, F and G.
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Always remember to check your airline’s terminal and check-in times.

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