Picturesque Fukuoka is the ideal destination for a relaxing and indulgent vacation. Though it is one of the largest cities in Japan, it is known for its relaxed atmosphere. Visit and you’ll discover why easy-going, ramen-loving Fukuoka is a favourite destination among Japanese.
July is celebrated as the month of the outstanding float festival. Known as the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, it is a spectacular occasion that inspires decorative and impressive creations across the city. Several neighbourhoods in the main Hakata district compete against one another to make the best floats and then race them on a five-kilometre course through the city. Thousands of spectators cheer on their favourites.
Fukuoka is also known for its lush parks and exceptional gardens. For a soothing experience with a dose of history, a relaxing stroll through the tranquil grounds of the Shofukuji Temple is a must. The grounds surround the first Zen temple constructed in Japan, a temple devoted to meditation and the pursuit of enlightenment. The temple and its grounds are more than 800 years old and visitors are welcome to explore the manicured gardens, dotted with artefacts, statues and serene ponds.
If you would rather explore Fukuoka’s greenery on a morning jog, the popular Ohori Park is an excellent choice. In the centre of the park is a huge pond and the two-kilometre exterior is an ideal running track. Afterwards, warm down and visit the Ohori Park Japanese Garden for a traditional scenic experience.
Eat and Drink
Fukuoka is famous for its open-air food stalls, called yatai. There are more than 150 of these yatai stalls across the city but the best place for them is Nakasu Island in the city centre.
Here there are popular yatai serving renowned dishes like 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, started in Fukuoka. Get into the Japanese spirit by enjoying a meal with some traditional beverages like sake or, the most popular alcoholic drink, beer.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay in areas close to public transport, tourist sites and the airport, the Hakata and Tenjin districts are ideal. Hakata is considered the business district, with a number of high-end accommodation options.
Tenjin is known as the central entertainment district of the city, boasting mid-range accommodation options, great food, shopping and nightlife. Both are quite bustling areas so if you’re after a quieter option you might want to consider staying in the less-crowded waterfront district of Momochi.
For a modern retail experience with all the extras, Canal City Hakata is a spectacular 11-tiered shopping and entertainment hub with more than 250 stores, a game centre, cinemas, restaurants and a beautiful canal running through the entire complex.
Across town, in the district of Tenjin and the quieter Imaizumi, you’ll find designer labels as well as delicate, handmade items from independent stores.
Fukuoka Like a Local
Though Fukuoka is known as a laid-back city, Japanese etiquette is still very much adhered to. Japanese people do not use knives and forks so get on side with the locals by using chopsticks and using them appropriately. Don’t wave your chopsticks in the air as you speak and do not point them at people or stand them up in your rice bowl.