Fukuoka, Japan Mar. 26 Sun 8:35AM
Fukuoka is the most populous prefecture in Kyushu, and Fukuoka city numbers among Japan’s major urban centers. While Fukuoka city legitimately has some of the best cuisine, shopping,and nightlife in Japan, its access to great beaches, a variety of nature, and the rich culture and historical legacy of Kyushu as a whole make many consider it one of the best hubs in Japan, whether to live or just visit.
For starters, Fukuoka city itself is an undeniable urban force with an extremely vibrant original culture. Originally a city of its own, but now a district within Fukuoka city, many people may have heard the name of Hakata before, especially in regard to its famous food culture, perhaps the most internationally famous example of which is Hakata ramen, beloved for its rich and creamy tonkotsu (pork bone) soup. The visual image associated with Hakata cuisine is invariably that of a crowded line of street stalls, each dishing out some special local dish, a scene unique in Japan. The Nakasu region, one of the three major entertainment districts in Japan along with Tokyo’s Kabukicho and Sapporo’s Susukino, is one of the best places to experience with yatai, or food stall culture.
Huge shopping complexes are located in many areas of Fukuoka city, and many of them, as well as some transportation hubs, are connected by a network of underground walkways, themselves lined with shops. But for those looking to get away from all the bustle Fukuoka also offers several sprawling, beautiful parks for relaxation and exploration, and all of them are in pleasant proximity to a body of water. Uminokamichi Park is located, on a peninsula jutting into the bay, and Ohori Park encircles a peaceful pond. The famous Fukuoka tower is the central landmark of the futuristic Momochi Seaside Park district.
All of the above rightly depicts Fukuoka as a thoroughly contemporary, hip and dynamic, but one shouldn’t ignore its deeply ingrained history either. One example of a spot with such interest is Shofukuji Temple, the first Zen Buddhist temple built in Japan nearly a thousand years ago, which is also a testament to the city and Kyushu’s international character, as Zen was of course transmitted to Japan through China.
While being such a comfortable, cutting edge city, the easy access to Kyushu’s many wonders push Fukuoka over the top as one of Japan’s greatest destinations. See some of this page’s related articles to explore just a few of the many destinations you can visit without even leaving Fukuoka prefecture.
There are a number of options for accessing Fukuoka. For travelers coming from Tokyo, flying is definitely the fastest way, and cheapest as well, unless you have a JR Pass, in which case it can be reached by train, but it will be a serious time investment, so plan accordingly!