Fukuoka Destination Guide
A city that the Japanese like to visit too! Picturesque Fukuoka is the ideal destination for a relaxing and indulgent vacation for all. Although one of the largest cities in Japan, it is not overwhelming and in fact is known for its relaxed atmosphere, unlike the hustle and bustle typical of most Japanese cities. Visit and you’ll discover why easy-going, ramen-loving Fukuoka is a local favourite.
July is celebrated as the month of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, a spectacular occasion that spurs the most decorative and impressive float creations across the city. Several neighbourhoods in the main Hakata district compete against one another to see who can make the best floats and then race them in a five-kilometre course through the city. Thousands of spectators cheer on their favourites.
Fukuoka is also a nature-lover’s paradise, known for its lush parks and exceptional gardens. For a soothing experience with a dose of history, take a stroll through the tranquil grounds of the Shofukuji Temple, devoted to meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment and the first Zen temple constructed in Japan. The temple and its grounds are more than 800 years old and visitors are welcome to explore the gardens, featuring artefacts, statues and serene ponds.
If you would rather explore Fukuoka’s greenery on a morning jog, the popular Ohari Park is an excellent choice. In the centre of the park is a huge pond and the two-kilometre perimeter is an ideal running track. Afterwards, warm down and visit the Ohari Park Japanese Garden for a traditional scenic experience.
Fukuoka is famous for its open-air food stalls called Yatai. There are more than 150 of them across the city but the best place to go is Nakasu Island, in the city centre.
The popular Yatai stalls here serve renowned dishes such as yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), oden (hot-pots) and the local speciality Hakata ramen, made with thin noodles in a pork-bone broth. Two of Japan’s most famous Ramen chain restaurants, Ichiran and Ippudo, come from Fukuoka.
Get into the Japanese spirit by enjoying a meal with some traditional beverages like sake or beer, the most popular alcoholic drink.
Where to Stay
It is best to stay centrally in the Hakata district so that public transport, tourist sites and the airport are all nearby. A reputable and consistently well-reviewed hotel choice, considered a luxury experience by travellers, is the Hotel Okura Fukuoka. The Royal Park Hotel and Hotel Nikko are popular, luxury hotels that are also located centrally.
For a modern retail experience with all the extras, Canal City Hakata is a spectacular 11-tier shopping and entertainment hub. Offering more than 250 stores, game centres, cinemas, restaurants and a beautiful canal running through the entire complex, Canal City Hakata will satisfy more than just your shopping desires.
Across town, the district of Tenjin and the quieter Imaizumi are known in Fakuoka as shopping neighbourhoods. Here you’ll find designer labels as well as delicate, handmade items from independent stores.
Fukuoka Like a Local
Though Fukuoka is known as a laidback city, Japanese etiquette is still very much adhered to. Japanese people do not use knives and forks so get on-side with Fukuoka’s natives by using chopsticks in the appropriate manner. If you want to avoid stern, disapproving stares from locals when you’re eating out, don’t wave your chopsticks around in the air as you speak and do not point them at people. In addition, do not stand your chopsticks up in your rice bowl. This is a faux pas, as it is done at funerals.