Fukuoka is the largest city outside of Japan’s Honshu island and is the largest in the Kyushu region. With approximately 5.5 million residents, Fukuoka has grown to become one of Japans most populated cities. Modern day Fukuoka is actually a result of a fusion between the once castle town called Fukuoka and the port city of Hakata where both these individual cities were joined together in 1889. Many are pleasantly surprised when they visit Fukuoka for the first time as it is often described as a port town and often promoted as such however this is only one side of this city. From shopping to entertainment, Fukuoka has it all and it does so in its own unique way.
Fukuoka has two main city centres, Tenjin and Hakata. In Fukuoka’s Tenjin district you’ll enjoy a shopping experience which offers just as much as anywhere else in Japan, however with a more relaxed vibe. Mitsukoshi Fukuoka & Tenjin Core are two of the main ones in the Tenjin District however there are plenty more to choose from along with other major stores such as Loft and BIC Camera. In the Hakata district you will find the large shopping and entertainment complex, Canal City. Canal City is often dubbed a “city within a city” and upon walking through the complex its not hard to see why. At the heart of Canal City you will find a water fountain area where an impressive water show takes place every 30 minutes. Hakata is also home to Fukuoka’s main train station where you can ride the Shinkansen to other prefectures of Japan. The station itself is very modern and complete with shopping centres and a viewing platform to look over the city.
Across Fukuoka’s Tenjin and Hakata city centres you’ll find yaktai stalls which are small mobile restaurants where you sit around the chef while he prepares various types of ramen and Yakatori. Before visiting Fukuoka, you may hear that eel is the must try meal in the city but if eel is not for you, don’t worry you still have the choice of all your favourite eatery’s that you would expect to find in any major city of Japan.
You can fly directly to Fukuoka’s airport or travel by boat. We came from South Korea’s Busan by the JR Beetle which is a ferry that gets you to Japan within 3 hours. When taking the ferry, try to pick a day with good weather and remember that you’ll have to go through immigration on both sides. Next time you visit Japan be sure to visit Fukuoka and the rest of the Kyushu region to see a side of Japan travellers often miss.