Fukuoka is the largest city on Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. A large metropolis, its urban core is found in Tenjin and Hakata, with its suburbs in the surrounding wards. Fukuoka is famed for its delicious food, such as Hakata ramen, and is rich in history due to its close proximity to the rest of Asia. Often referred to as the “international hub” of Japan, you are sure to find both traditional Japanese culture and a good mixture of others in a very modern and thriving city. It is accessible by plane and bullet train and holds a position of prominence in southern Japan.
There are many parks in the area but one of the most famous is Ohori Park. Continuing along Fukuoka’s subway line, Ohori Park changes with the seasons and holds events and festivals accordingly. In the summer you can witness great firework displays and in the spring it becomes a popular destination for hanami for couples, families and friends. Other famous locations in the area include Tojinmachi that has a slightly more Chinese feel to it, hearkening back to its long history. South of Ohori Park lies Fukuoka Zoo and Botanical Garden – a great day out with the family.
Yahoo Dome is also a dominant feature in this area, holding games all year round with its infamous team the Fukuoka Hawks. The eponymous Hawks Town Hall is also a popular part of the area, with bustling shopping malls, a cinema and various entertainment complexes.
Tenjin is the major urban part of Fukuoka and the area that never sleeps. Accessible via the easy-to-use subway or bus, it is well-known for its vast array of yatai (street food stalls) that line the streets at night; its bars, restaurants and night clubs light up the area with a vibrant neon glow. Your shopping spree will never end with massive malls that sell everything you would ever need and want.
If you are travelling down on the Shinkansen, this will be your first port of call. Hakata is one of the most famous parts of Fukuoka city; full to the brim with food stalls, restaurants and shopping centers with its famous shopping street The Kawabata stretching through the area from the Hakata-za theatre to Hakata River. For shopping there is also Canal City, a large shopping mall with a unique design and convenient location not far from Hakata and Tenjin station. Hakata Bay connects you to some of the surrounding islands, such as Nokonoshima Island, that are a short ferry ride away, giving you a chance to witness a quieter and more traditional side of Japan.
Located in the east, south and west respectively, the outlying wards of Fukuoka city offer a different side to the initial image one is shown as they take their first steps off the Shinkansen. These three wards are less urbanized than Tenjin or Hakata and offer a relaxing environment with endless green, beautiful parks and areas of historic significance, such as temples, shrines, and the occasional hot spring, too!
Just next door to Yahoo Dome is Sawara Ward, which is the largest ward in Fukuoka, stretching from the Momochi all the way south to the next city Kurume. Momochi is famous for the tallest building in the area, Fukuoka Tower. Located on Momochi beach, the whole of Fukuoka city and beyond is visible from its observation deck. The beach is an excellent place to visit in the summer and is very popular for couples, singles and families alike with its clean waters and silk-like sand. This area is also famous for its museum and gallery, which holds various exhibitions throughout the year. Mountains stretch the southern part of this ward – the perfect location for nature-lovers.