After Beppu, initially, we were supposed to visit Mount Aso – the largest active volcano in Japan and one of the largest in the world. However, to my disappointment, we found out that we would be traveling for 8 hours one way to reach it, only to see the mountain for an hour and then we would have to go back. So we changed our plans and, after googling a little, decided to check out Fukuoka.
Fukuoka is Kyushu’s largest and one of Japan’s ten most populated cities. The city consists of two former towns that merged in 1889 – the castle town of Fukuoka on the west bank of the Naka River and the merchant town of Hakata on the east bank. The city is well known for its cuisine, especially for a special kind of ramen called Hakata ramen, street food, shopping, and nightlife.
We only had half a day in the city, but we enjoyed it a lot and will most probably visit again.
Check out Yatai
When the sun sets, Yatai, mobile food and drink stands, pop up scattered across the city. The southern end of Nakasu Island is the best place to find them. However, there are over 100 stalls all over the city. Click here to see Fukuoka Hakata Yatai map.
Many yatai offer famous Hakata ramen, but you can also enjoy other delicacies like oden soup (hot pot), gyoza dumplings, yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), tempura, and more.
Try Hakata ramen
Hakata ramen is a specialty of Fukuoka and is one of the three most loved kinds of ramen in the country. It has rich, milky broth made of pork bones called tonkotsu and thin, curly noodles.
Personally, I was not a big fan of it; however, it was nice to taste the different ramen bowl.
Tenjin area has a lot of different karaoke bars, with many big chains located there. We couldn’t resist the temptation and went to one of the establishments. Even though we struggled a little with remote control, being nerdy otakus, we sang many songs from memory and had a blast!
Visit Canal City Hakata
Canal City Hakata is a colorful shopping complex, ranking amongst the world’s largest shopping malls. It is nicknamed “city within the city” and features shops, restaurants, cafes, an artificial canal, which runs through the complex, and even two hotels.
Check out Fukuoka Tower
Measuring 234 meters, Fukuoka Tower is the tallest seaside tower in Japan. There is an observation deck from where you can see a spectacular panoramic view of Fukuoka. The building is decorated with 8000 half mirrors and is illuminated at night with seasonal illumination themes.
Visit Ohori Park Area
Ohori Park is a beautiful historic park around the lake that was once used as a moat for Fukuoka Castle. Take a walk in the area, and relax in nature.
Adjacent to Ohori Park, you can find beautiful Ohori Koen – a Japanese Garden. We encountered two couples taking their wedding pictures among the trees when we walked there.
Check out Fukuoka Castle Ruins
Fukuoka Castle, built in 1601, used to be the largest castle in Kyushu. Unfortunately, it was torn down during the Meiji Restoration period, and nowadays, you can only see the remnants of ruined walls, a few guard towers, some gates, and parts of the moat system. From the top of the walls, you can see a pleasant view of the city, and according to the internet, during spring, the castle grounds are covered with sakuras trees, making it a perfect spot for cherry blossom viewing.
When we were there in November 2019, teamLab transformed Fukuoka Castle Ruins into an interactive art space during the evenings. We didn’t make it to the evening show, but even during the day, gigantic eggs looked really cool. Take a look at how it looked in the night on the official website.