Tour the city sights !
To get to Kyushu...the third largest island of the main four in Japan, you will fly into Fukuoka Airport or arrive at Hakata Station from another part of Japan. A city of just over a million people, both names are used as the two were originally separate cities.
East of the Naka-gawa River, Hakata was for the ordinary people while Fukuoka was the castle town.It can get confusing as the two names are used for the same place even with transport timetables.
It is a pleasant city with some interesting features. But for tourists it is probably not worth spending more than 2 days here unless you have plenty of time. We found we could see the best of the city in this time.Most visitors come to this island for the thermal activity, and beautiful nature.
Getting Around Fukuoka
If you base yourself within walking distance of the main Hakata train station which is also where the main bus station is located....you have all the transport you need handy. The city is small enough to walk much of it
City Sights of Interest
- Ohori Park - The park has a pleasant lake as centrepiece and you can walk the 2 kilometre track around it, or cross the bridge to a small island which gives you nice city views. There are small boats for hire and a restaurant overlooking the lake with good meals.
- Fukuoka Castle - is in Maizuru Park and a National Historic Site. Only the ruins remain, along with some orchards and gardens....but it is interesting to wander around and see the huge moat, and picture what was.
- Fukuoka Art Museum - With about 12,000 works including some of well know artists such as Salvador, Chagnall and Andy Warhol as well as Japanese artists of note, some parts of the museum are free to view...others have a charge. There are special exhibitions that change regularly. We looked at the rooms with free viewing which had some very nice works.
- Korokan Historical Museum – a replica of a lodging house and excavated china on display.
- Yusentai Garden - This was a lovely green traditional Japanese garden. You can experience the tea ceremony by reservation. There was a large group of Japanese women learning this tradition when we were there
- Fukuoka City Zoological and Botanical Garden -The zoo and garden are connected and offer 140 different animals and 2, 600 species of plants to browse your way around.
- Tokaebisu Shrine - built in 1591 - where the Toka Ebisu festival is celebrated each year
- Hakozaki Shrine – one of the most visited Shrines in the area especially for the Tamasesari ( January) and Hojoya (September)festivals.
- Sofukuji Temple
Extra Sights Worth Visiting
- Fukuoka Tower – This offers 360o panoramic views from the 234 metre high tower observation deck. We got a little lost sodidn’t get up the tower!
- Momochi Seaside Park - is by the tower
- Fukuoka City Museum
- There are several islands nearby of interest...I won’t list them here. It is for those with more time.
Tenjin - is the main shopping area with an amazing underground mall well worth visiting for its unique character. There are dozens of shops for those interested in label designer clothes, accessories, shoes, cosmetics etc.
Canal City - is impressive and another very different complex you must visit just for the architecture alone!
With its wedding cake tiered modern buildings towering over the artificial canal running through, Canal City is a good place to have a meal and entertainment in the many bars, clubs, cinemas, restaurants, and yatai - food stalls.
You will find Canal City 10 minutes walk from Nakasu – Kawabata subway stop. We walked from the Hakata Station....but it was a little further than we expected. There are also buses.
We had several meals on the road to Hakata Station. The "Yodobashi – Hakata" electronics store has a food hall on the 4th floor.
The sushi train in the food hall is excellent and a good placer to learn the ropes if you have never used one. The lady was most helpful in showing us how to use it and the sushi trains anywhere have cheap, healthy excellent food...though mostly seafood.
Japanese Yakatori Restaurant
Right next door to Yodobashi-Hakata ( on left facing)this restaurant was excellent.Unfortunately I have lost the details. There is no English spoken but we managed perfectly well. You are seated in a booth and given a card with pictures of the meals. You then punch the order into a machine....so all went well and I can highly recommend the meal as cheap and delicious! It was very popular with locals which is always a good sign.
Recommended Fukuoka Hotel
The B Hakata Hotel Fukuoka
This very well priced and central hotel was only a five minute walk from the Hakata Station. The rooms are small but have everything you need including tea and coffee making facilities, a bathtub, free internet.
You can make free coffee at the machine in the foyer of the hotel. The rooms were newly renovated and comfortable. We came and went from this hotel 3 times and found it very convenient.
Check full details of The B Hakata Hotel Fukuoka here
More Japan Information
Tsukiji Fish Markets
12 Tips on how the Tokyo Train System works
Kamakura Day Trip
Fuji-Go-Ko ( Fuji Five Lakes)
Japanese Lessons and Ipod Phrasebook
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