Is Fukuoka worth visiting? Find out what it has to offer

Tired of the hustle and bustle of city life but cannot let go of the perks that come along with it? 

Look no further; Fukuoka has all the amenities and comforts of life the modern world offers.

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But is Fukuoka worth visiting? 

Of course! Let us check out why you should visit Fukuoka, what to do when you get there, and what sets it apart from other cities in Japan.

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Where is Fukuoka?

Before we get to the exciting part, where I enumerate what’s in store for you when you get to Fukuoka, let’s first talk about where it is in Japan.

Fukuoka is a populous city in southern Japan and is part of the Fukuoka Prefecture, built along Hakata Bay. It is the second-largest port city in Japan after Yokohama and the 6th largest in the country. 

Because of its strategic location and nearness to the Asian mainland, the city has become the center of international commerce and gateway to Japan. This has led to the city’s cross-cultural exposure and development of a unique local culture and dialect.

What differentiates Fukuoka from other cities

Although a populous city and a popular tourist spot on the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka City is laid back and can be enjoyed at a slower pace.

This bustling metropolitan is excellent for tourists looking to enjoy great spots and partake in the local culture without rushing to their next adventure. 

Moreover, even if it offers a traditional Japanese lifestyle, this vibrant city offers modern amenities like big malls, fine-dining restaurants, and incredible art museums.

Don’t forget the beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and innovative culture that allows the locals and tourists alike to use technology that makes living easier.

Moreover, unlike other cities that have traded the environment for technological advancement, Fukuoka has focused on sustainable urbanism and built the city with conservation in mind. 

Fukuoka City has set an example for the living that leaves a minimal carbon footprint and is bent on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

It is also deeply involved with the innovation of microclimate control by incorporating greeneries into city structures. 

Furthermore, Fukuoka City advocates sustainable tourism, where tourism activities do not negatively impact the environment. The city also implements numerous waste management and water treatment initiatives to promote sustainability. 

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What to do in Fukuoka

Fukuoka has many things to offer to different types of travelers. From parks to shrines, malls, and yakai or street food stalls, you will never run out of places to visit and things to do that will take your breath away. 

Here are great places to visit when you go on a trip to Fukuoka.

Ohori Park

If you want to stroll while enjoying the beauty of calming water scenery, Ohori Park is a great place to visit.

The park is in central Fukuoka and features a large pond in its center that used to be the outer moat of the Fukuoka Castle. It was designed after China’s classical garden, West Lake. 

Ohori Park is a Registered Monument of Japan and is home to pine trees that date back to the park’s construction in 1925. 

Though the park is a fantastic spot to visit during summer and spring because of the beautiful flower beds filled with magnolia, tulips, and sunflowers, it is especially outstanding from November to March when hundreds of migratory winter birds from Siberia visit the park.

Locals and foreigners can freely access the park, which is excellent to include in your day trip itinerary.

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Kushida Shrine

Founded in 757, the Kushida Shrine in Hakata, Fukuoka, is an important Shinto shrine in Japan as it houses the guardian deity of Hakata.

The best time to visit the Kushida Shrine is during summer when the Hakata Gion Yamakasa and Hakata Okunchi festivals are held. 

When visiting the shrine, make sure to sip water from the well surrounded by three cranes, which is said to grant eternal youth. Note of caution: the water in this well contains natural salts, so you should not drink too much of it. 

You’ll see religious stationary festival floats you can pray to for protection and peace during the festivals. 

Don’t forget to check your luck this year with the Eto Eho Ban featuring the four cardinal directions and the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. You can find the Eto Eho Ban by the entrance gate, and it is hard to miss. 

You can visit the shrine for free from 4 AM to 10 PM any day of the week. 

Fukuoka Tower

Considered the most popular tourist spot in Fukuoka and Japan’s tallest seaside tower, Fukuoka Tower stands 234 meters tall (768 ft) and is covered in 8000 half-mirrors that reflect the sky. 

It boasts an observation deck that offers 360° views of the city and Hakata Bay. Enjoy 

Fukuoka Tower is open daily from 9:30 AM to 10 PM. 

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Other places to visit and things to do in Fukuoka

If you still have time during your stay, try visiting these places before leaving for Tokyo or Kyoto and Osaka base:

  • teamLab Forest
  • Chikuzen Sumiyoshi
  • Canal City Hakata
  • Tenjin Chikagai

Don’t forget to eat yakitori, hot pot, and Hakata ramen served at the iconic late-night yatai food stalls to complete your Fukuoka experience. 

My Flavorful Ramen and Motsunabe Journey in Fukuoka

Besides my wonderful experience visiting the Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu and other temples in Fukuoka, I loved the divine food scene most during my stay.

If you are a food like me, here are my personal recommendations for the best spots to relish Hakata ramen and motsunabe:

Hakata Ramen

Ippudo

Trust me, you can’t go wrong with Ippudo, which is just a stone’s throw away from Hakata Station. 

It’s a Fukuoka-born chain, and their tonkotsu ramen is a flavor explosion. Ippudo’s tonkotsu ramen boasts a signature broth that is rich and creamy and has a depth of flavor that sets it apart.

What I love about Ippudo is the option to customize toppings. From extra chashu to spicy miso paste, you can tailor your bowl to your liking.

Ichiraku

Wander into Nakasu, and you’ll find Ichiraku, a gem that exudes local charm. The intimate setting and the chef’s attention to detail in every bowl make it a standout choice.

The thin noodles at Ichiraku are a game-changer. They have the ideal texture, holding onto the broth just right. Plus, the atmosphere adds that extra something to the ramen experience.

Shin Shin

For a more traditional vibe, Shin Shin is the spot. With an ambiance that transports you to the heart of traditional Hakata, it’s the place to savor ramen in an authentic setting.

They keep it simple, focusing on nailing the broth and noodles. It’s a classic Hakata ramen joint.

Motsunabe

Yamanaka

When craving for motsunabe, my go-to is Yamanaka in Hakata. The mastery in preparing this dish is evident, with various options allowing me to explore the full spectrum of flavors.

They specialize in this dish, offering various options to suit your preferences. 

The emphasis on fresh, quality ingredients sets Yamanaka apart. It’s a place where each bite feels like a celebration of local produce.

Sakamotoya

In Nakasu, Sakamotoya is a cozy spot celebrated for its motsunabe. Its cozy atmosphere adds a warmth that complements the hearty motsunabe. It’s a place to unwind and savor the meal at your own pace.

Fresh ingredients and a delightful broth make it a local favorite. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Hakata Motsunabe Senmonten Yoshizuka

If you find yourself near Yoshizuka station, don’t miss this gem. 

They’re all about quality and variety, serving an authentic motsunabe experience. Whether you prefer spicy, with extra veggies or a mix of different meats, they’ve got you covered.

To make it even better, I can attest their attention to quality here. From the selection of meats to the balance of flavors in the broth, each element reflects a commitment to excellence.

Pro tip: Check the opening hours and consider snagging a reservation, especially during peak times. You don’t want to miss out on these culinary delights in Fukuoka.