Resting along the northern shore of Kyushu Island, Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture and the largest city on the island. With a rich history dating back to medieval Japan, the once former residence of the daimyo of Chikuzen Province is now a modern city showcasing both the past and the future. From ancient temples to shopping malls, Fukuoka Japan is versatile and charismatic. The extensive city infrastructure has the Fukuoka Airport and the subway system connecting the main attractions and sites between Hakata, Meinohama, and Tenjin.
Some of the ancient sites include the ruins of 17th-century Fukuoka Castle which can be found inside Maizuru Park. There is also the central Hakata district where you will find the main train station. Hakata, one of the oldest cities in Japan holds the Tochoji Temple where a large wooden Buddha stands at 32.8 feet high. Other highlights include the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum with artifacts dating back to the Taisho and Meiji periods.
Things To Do in Fukuoka
Standing some 234 meters high, the Fukuoka Tower is situated in the Momochihama area of the city and is the tallest tower on the Japan seaside. It has a unique structure that is covered in 8000 half-mirrors, creating an illusion of a skyscraper. The tower is appropriately nicknamed “Mirror Sail” given its unusual shape and reflective siding. Due to its impressive architectural structure, it is famously known for appearing in the 1994 “Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla” film in which the tower is annihilated. This landmark is enjoyable to visit both during the day and at night when it is lit up.
2-3-26 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka 814-0001
The oldest Shingon temple in Kyushu was founded in 806 by Kukai. There is also a temple cemetery on site, known as the Tadayuki, where the past feudal lords were buried. You will see the biggest Buddha wooden statue along with the thousand-armed Kannon statue. Next to the temple, there is also a 5-story Pagoda structure. To access the temple, you will need to walk through a pathway which at times can be very dark, but don’t worry it is worth it at the end once you arrive at the temple.
2-4 Gokushomachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0037.
Ohori Park is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet stroll or a contemplative moment in the park. Found quite close to the Fukuoka Castle, Ohori Park is a beautiful Japanese garden overlooking the waterfront, where you will also find boats. In the middle of the city, this outdoor space invites peace and quiet amid the natural surroundings. It’s a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city pace.
1-2 Ohorikoen, Chuo-ku, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0051
Nanzoin Temple and the Reclining Buddha
Head to the Nanzoin Temple to witness one of the most peaceful yet impressive attractions. The very large-scale reclining Buddha structure aims to bring serenity and calmness to those who visit. This site itself is free to visit, but if you want to see the Buddha inside you have to pay about 1000 yen. It is a very relaxing activity and definitely worth a visit if you are in Fukuoka.
1035 Sasaguri, Sasaguri-machi, Kasuya-gun 811-2405
The Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine is a peaceful and tranquil shrine with a small koi pond. It is easily accessible from the nearby Watanabedori Subway station, and just a quick 5-minute walk to access the shrine. On weekends you will find a market selling small handmade goods, vintage items, and different Japanese foods. This is certainly a special place to come for quiet when you are near the shrine and a way to connect to the old traditions of the area.
3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0018
Hakata Gion Yamakasa
If you happen to visit Fukuoka in July, you can see the streets filled with floats celebrating the five-day festival of Hakata Gion Yamakasa. This event brings some 1 million visitors who come to participate in the festivities. Men from all 7 districts of Fukuoka city will come and carry the floats as a sign of strength and unity. The festival is from July 1 to July 15 and is mostly takes place around the Kushida Shrine.
How To Get to Fukuoka
There are many ways to get to Fukuoka, but perhaps the easiest and most popular choice is to take a Shinkansen. It is possible to travel directly to Fukuoka from Tokyo along the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. Another popular option is to travel to Fukuoka via air transportation since it has its own airport. Many low-cost airlines fly daily to and from Tokyo. From Fukuoka Airport there is an accessible subway which takes you to the city center in just 5 minutes.