Everything You Need to See, Eat, and Experience in Fukuoka
Created with Cebu Pacific.
Now that you’ve booked that flight to Fukuoka, what’s next? It’s time to map out your itinerary! We’re here to help you plan that trip you’ve been dreaming of. Check out everything you need to see, eat, and experience in the sixth biggest city in Japan.
Go back in time in Old Town
Start your Fukuoka adventure in Hakata Old Town, which celebrates history, culture, and art. Hakata was the largest port city for trade in Japan in the 12th to late 16th century. The Hakata Sennen No-Mon is open 24 hours and marks the beginning of the hub lined with shrines and temples, shopping arcades, and a celebration of traditional crafts and art of Hakata. Sennen no-mon means “1,000 years gate,” which is inspired by the thousand-year-old wood used to make the gate.
Across the gate, you’ll find the Jotenji Temple, which was built in 1242 by Shoichi Kokushi, also known as Enni Ben’en. The Japanese buddhist monk is believed to be the founder of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, the city’s largest festival. He also supposedly first brought udon to Japan from China. Look for the stone monument that says this is the birthplace of Japanese udon and soba noodles and manju bean-jam buns. A few steps away is the Shofokuji Temple, the oldest zen temple in Japan.
Kazari Yamakasa in Kushida Shrine
Make your way to Kushida Shrine, the home of nationally renowned festivals such as the Hakata Dontaku Festival, Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, and Hakata Okunchi Festival. For ¥100, you can pick out an omikuji or “sacred lot”. These fortunes on rolled strips of paper can range from very good luck to terrible luck. It’s believed that if you don’t get a favorable fortune, you should leave it behind and tie it to a tree in the temple so that bad luck won’t follow you. If you pick a good fortune, keep it in your pocket or your bag. Here, you’ll also find a Kazari Yamakasa, built with intricate details depicting samurai warriors and characters from the Japanese magical culture. The stationary float from the summer festival is displayed year-round until it is rebuilt for the next one. Don’t forget to look up at the entrance to check the Eto Eho Ban, which indicates which of the Chinese zodiac signs is in for a lucky year.
Fukuoka is famous for its Hakata Ori (woven textile) and Hakata Ningyo (dolls). This craft has been passed on from generation to generation and you can see its beginnings at the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum. Admission is free, but there is a shop on the first floor where you can buy handicrafts. There’s also a miniature version of the Kazari Yamakasa on display here!
Kawabata Shopping Arcade
Shop until you drop
Fukuoka is quite the shopping destination. From high end labels to independent boutiques, you’ll find something you like in every store you step into. But make sure to visit the Kawabata Shopping Arcade, a 400-meter long complex that houses over 130 stores in total. It’s a mix of traditional and modern in this merchant space that first flourished in the Hakata area almost 130 years ago. Another must-visit stop is Tenjin Chikagai, which is an underground shopping mall. The cobblestone floors and mood lighting definitely make you feel like you’ve been transported into another era. It’s also a great respite if it’s rainy outside.
This bowl from Hakata Ramen Zen is just half the price of what you would usually pay for a good bowl of tonkotsu ramen -- a Fukuoka must.
Ramen all-you-can and then some
This is the birthplace of Hakata Ramen, thin noodles in rich, tonkotsu broth, so it would be a crime not to enjoy a bowl when you’re in town. Fukuoka is where famous chains like Ichiran and Ippudo began, so their original branches are worth lining up for. But there are local favorites like Shin Shin and Hakata Ramen Zen that are also worthy of your time, money, and, more importantly, tummy space.
Fukuoka is also known for their yatai or the open-air food stalls in the Tenjin, Nagahama, and Nakasu areas. Sample different kinds of yakitori from any one of the stalls you manage to find an empty seat in and wash it down with an ice cold beer. Each spot seats only a handful, so you’re bound to make friends with your co-diners here. Kampai!
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Enjoy the great outdoors
Japan has a lot of beautiful parks and Fukuoka is no exception. If you’re in the mood to explore, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a great option. You can rent bikes at the park or bring your own, so you can explore the massive 300-hectare area. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit as most of their flowers are in full bloom then. The park also has an open animal forest feed and pet some of the cute critters. Admission for entry is ¥450.
Momochi Seaside Park
Explore the seaside
If you’re pressed for time and don’t have an entire day to spend at the park, you can check out Momochi Seaside Park. The beachside attraction is home to the Fukuoka City Museum and Fukuoka Yaofuku Dome, home of Kyushu’s baseball team, the Softbank Hawks. We recommend spending an afternoon by the sea and once the sun sets, head to Fukuoka Tower, which is right across. It takes 70 seconds to reach the viewing deck which has an amazing view of the city especially all lit up at night. Admission is ¥800 but present your passport to get 20% off on your ticket. The tallest seaside tower at 234 meters was built in 1989 on Fukuoka’s 100th anniversary.
Perfect for a day of touring.
Everything is easily accessible by bus, train, or subway. If you’re planning to take public transport, we suggest getting the Fukuoka Tourist City Pass for ¥820 (Fukuoka only) or ¥1340 (Fukuoka and Dazaifu). This one-day pass is available to tourists who are staying in Japan for a short time and may be availed of at ticket counters by presenting your passport. You can even get discounts on museum admission fees and free tokens at certain establishments. Well worth your money if you plan on going around the city all day.