Fukuoka (Hakata) Travel Guide
The city of Fukuoka is also known as Hakata. It is the biggest city in Kyushu and the 5th biggest city in Japan. It is not only the center of administration and economy in the Kyushu region but also a terminal for air routes and railroads, occupying a central role in travel, information processing, and entertainment. The city’s public transit is fully developed with a well-functioning bus and subway system, making transport to the rest of Fukuoka Prefecture and Kyushu fast and convenient.
Fukuoka City’s best feature is its blend of a typical cityscape with green natural spaces. For tourists, there is a thriving nightlife and many shopping opportunities, traditional shrines and historical sights, Japanese festivals, and other special events to amaze you. Fukuoka always has something to offer in all seasons.
Hakata Station is the central station of the city. The shinkansen stops at this station, so you can go to Hakata directly from Tokyo Station which takes about 5 hours. Around Hakata Station, lots of office buildings are rising, and restaurants and hotels stand close together.
Fukuoka’s major commercial district of Tenjin is happening seven days a week. It has been the thriving center of Fukuoka since the Edo period when it was a castle town. The name Tenjin came from a Shinto shrine called Suikyo Tenmangu. There are department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Daimaru in Tenjin, and many smaller shops and restaurants.
Yatai literally means ‘temporary food stand which opens only in the evening’. There are about 100 yatai in Fukuoka, especially in the Nakasu (central island in the river) district. They serve different dishes at the stands. You can have ramen, yakitori, oden, and a lot of other kinds of food. The ramen style of Fukuoka is very popular throughout the country with its thick pork broth called ‘tonkotsu’.
The Nakasu district is a very unique place in Japan and a must-do for street food lovers. You seldom find a similar place in other cities in Japan, so if you come to Kyushu you should take the opportunity to visit Fukuoka for this district. One of Japan’s most famous ramen franchises started here, Ichiran Ramen, which is especially known for its separate seating and deliciously fresh noodles.
Canal City Hakata
Canal City Hakata is a modern shopping center that opened in 1996. The unique building was designed by American architect Jon Jerde. It is a complex of shops, restaurants, a hotel (Washington Hotel), and a movie theater. There is an artificial canal in the building which creates a nice atmosphere.
Toho Village is a one-hour drive away from Fukuoka, but it deserves a special mention because it is one of the best places in Japan to take amazing pictures of terraced rice fields. With the misty green mountains in the background and the green paddies in the valley, it is one of the best vistas in Japan.
Access to Hakata Station:
From Tokyo, 5 hours by Shinkansen (bullet train)
From Shin-Osaka, 2.5 hours by Shinkansen