FukuokaCopyright: Yoshikazu TAKADA/Flickr
FukuokaSitting proudly on the shores of Hakata Bay, Fukuoka is a city ablaze with the neon glare of the 21st century, moving at a slower and much more manageable pace than its better-known siblings from Honshu. There is plenty of Japanese flavours to be had here, both figuratively and in the very direct sense of the word, along with a lot of uniquely local flair for those looking to cast their nets wider than the staples of Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka.
The CityFukuoka is the capital city of the Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyūshū. The city is divided into seven wards (ku) of which the central areas of Chuo-ku and Hakata-ku will be of most interest to the visitor. West of Tenjin is Ohori-koen Park and the ruins of the old castle whilst further along in Sawara-ku ward is the Momochi district. Momochi is a modern waterfront area with wide tree lined streets, plenty of cafés, restaurants and green public parks. Here you will find the Fukuoka Tower and also the Fukuoka Dome, home of the city’s baseball team, the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks. East of the river in Hakata-ku is where you will find most of the old shrines and temples, whilst the entertainment district of Nakasu lies between the sandbank of the Naka River and the Hakata River. Nakasu is one of the major red-light districts in Japan as well as home to a big number of fashionable restaurants. The Nakasu district also houses expensive shops along the Riverain; a stroll along the sandbank is a nice way to spend the afternoon.
Do & See
Chuo-ku ward, located west of the Naka-gawa River, is the commercial and entertainment hub of the city. At its heart lies the district of Tenjin to which most visitors will undoubtedly be drawn, lured by the bright lights of its bars and restaurants and the excellent array of boutiques.
Fukuoka is renowned for its culinary delights with acclaimed dishes such as the Fukuoka ramen (pork-stock soup with Chinese noodles), Hakata gyoza (stuffed dumplings), and Genkai-Sea fugu (blowfish). There is a range of restaurants in which to savour these gastronomic delights. However, a trip to Fukuoka would not be complete without visiting one of the many yatai (food stalls), which set up shop in the city centre come nightfall.
Japan is one of the largest consumers of coffee in the world, and coffee shops are not difficult to come by in a large city like Fukuoka. You can easily spend hours in the cosy settings and indulge in the various local delicacies on the cake menu.
Bars & Nightlife
After a day of sightseeing, put on your glad rags and go to Nakasu or Tenjin, where the night owls spread their wings, preen their plumage, and strut their stuff to some serious beats.
If you are looking for the latest in designer fashions, high tech gadgetries or intricately handcrafted souvenirs, then Fukuoka will not disappoint you. The city’s main shopping district is called Tenjin. Along its busy intersections you will find a number of department stores stocking everything from high street to high end designer labels whilst heading towards Ohori-koen, along Keiyaki-dori, and around Daimyo there are a host of small boutiques. If you are looking for something special to slip into for the evening’s entertainment then head on down to Tenjin.