Fukuoka is, hands down, one of the most exciting and lively prefecture’s in Japan. Activities in the prefecture are limitless with attractions and festivals appealing to travelers of all ages and their varied interests. For a unique and exciting vacation in the prefecture’s vibrant cities, check out our pick for 15 things to do in Fukuoka.
1. Eat at A Yatai Stall
The best way to explore a new location is, by far, through your stomach. At Nasaku, a small strip of land cradled by two rivers in the downtown area of Fukuoka, the culinary nightlife thrives with many local favorite yatai stalls. Dine amongst a sea of neon lights and try some of Fukuoka’s best street food in a location that was once the Edo era’s red light district.
2. See the 8,000 Half Mirrors of Fukuoka Tower
Standing at 234 meters as the tallest seaside structure in Japan, the Fukuoka Tower is the city’s most iconic structure and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Fukuoka landscape. Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the tower are its 8000 half mirrors which decorate the towers exterior and provide a stunning view when lit up. Apart from the observation deck, we recommend that couples pay a visit to the Lover’s Sanctuary for an enjoyable romantic experience.
- Name: Fukuoka Tower
- Address: 2-3-26 Momochihama, Sawaraku, Fukuoka City 814-0001
- Phone: +81 92-823-0234
- Price: ¥800 (Adult), ¥500 (Student/Senior), ¥200 (Child)
- Access: Take a bus from the Hakata Transportation Center No. 5 Platform
- Opening hour: 9:30 – 22:00
- Website: http://www.fukuokatower.co.jp/english/
3. Go Clubbing in Tenjin
Want to experience the craziest clubs that Japan has to offer? Make a bee-line for the lively and vibrant streets of Oyafuko-dori in Tenjin to sample the exotic clubbing lifestyle of Fukuoka. You’ll often see party-goers sporting crazy outfits, wigs and eye-catching make up at Oyafuku-dori, which pretty much translates to “disrespectful child street.” If that doesn’t give you a hint as to how crazy these clubbers can get, then we don’t know what will.
4. Watch the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Race
Where in the world can you find large groups of men running through crowded streets with a one ton float resting on their shoulders? Well, at Fukuoka. Every year, at the five day festival of Hakata Gion Yamakasa, devotees will gather to participate in an early morning race. There are seven teams in total that participate in the race from the seven districts of Fukuoka. Races are so intense that up to a million people come to see them take place.
5. Dig Into A Bowl of Hakata Ramen
While there’s no denying that food at Fukuoka, or Japan in general, is absolutely delicious, when in Fukuoka, the first dish you should tuck into is definitely a nice big steaming bowl of Hakata Ramen. A local favorite, Hakata Ramen features straight and thin noodles in a nearly sinfully creamy broth make from pork bones. Don’t want to take our word for it? Ask for all the other tourists that have tasted this mouthwatering ramen.
6. Explore the Kyushu National Museum
For history buffs and Japanese culture enthusiasts, there is no museum quite as complete and comprehensive as the Kyushu National Museum. Situated in the town of Dazaifu, the museum is maintained by the Japanese national government and offers insight and exhibits the complete history of Japan. Adding to the galleries that educate visitors about the country’s prehistoric times to present day, the Kyushu National Museum is also home to several of the country’s national treasures.
- Name: Kyushu National Museum
- Address: 4-7-2 Ishizaka, Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture 818-0118
- Phone: +81 92-918-2807
- Price: ¥430
- Access: Take a connecting bus from the Futsukaichi Station
- Opening hour: 9:30 – 17:00
- Holiday: Closed on Mondays
- Website: www.kyuhaku.com
7. Visit the Fukuoka Castle Ruins
Travel back in time at one of Japan’s largest castles, the Fukuoka Castle. The majestic castle previously boasted 47 turrets and an incredible moat system. Today, visitors can explore a few preserved portions of the moat along with a handful of its original structures, amazing gates and old walls. The sprawling park grounds also make for an enjoyable stroll.
- Name: Fukuoka Castle
- Address: Jonai, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0043
- Phone: +81 92-711-4666
- Price: Free admission
- Access: 15 minute walk from Ohori Koen Subway Station
- Opening hour: Always open
- Holiday: No closing days
8. Attend the Mitama Matsuri
As a nation, Japan is home to dozens of festivals that attract thousands, if not millions, of guests year round. In Fukuoka, one such festival is the Mitama Festival, which is typically held for three days in the middle of August. The festival celebrates the return of spirits visiting from the afterlife, each spirit represented by about 6,000 beautiful decorative lanterns hung around town. The lanterns provide a lovely display of light for festival goers to admire.
9. Explore the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
The most important of Tenmangu Shrines in Japan, the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, a prominent scholar and politician from the Heian Period. Apart from its historical significance, the shrine offers photo worthy views and grand architecture such as the beautiful courtyard and the well maintained bridge. Various tori can also be found around the shrine grounds and an ox statue sits somewhere in the shrine’s complex.
- Name: Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
- Address: 4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka 818-0195
- Price: Free admission
- Access: 5 minute walk from Dazaifu Station
- Opening hour: 6:00 – 19:00
- Website: http://www.dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/en
10. Watch A Traditional Sumo Match
Are you a fan of Sumo? If you happen to be traveling in Fukuoka between November 13 to 27, you’re in luck. During this time, one of six national grand tournaments take place in Fukuoka and boy are the matches exciting. The biggest stars in Sumo participate in the tournament and you may even catch them roaming the streets or digging into some chankonabe during this time.
11. Shop for Souvenirs at Kawabata Shotengai
Whether you’re looking for unique Japanese snacks to take home or traditional garments like kimonos or yukatas, we’ll bet you that you’ll find the perfect souvenir at Kawabata Shotengai. An old and long roofed shopping street, Kawabata Shotengai is home to roughly 50 shops selling various items. Most of the stores are family owned and offer awesome bargains for quality goods.
- Name: Kawabata Shotengai
- Access: 1 minute walk from the Nakasu Kawabata Station
12. Interact with Robots at Robosquare
Discover the best that Japanese innovation has to showcase at the busy Robosquare center. Always relatively busy and frequented by young and inquisitive minds, Robosquare is home to hundreds of experimental and commercial robots and located in the thriving Momochi Seaside area. Apart from their robot exhibits, Robosquare is also a hub for robotics researchers and groups preparing for robot competitions on both regional and national levels.
- Name: Robosquare
- Address: 2-3-2 Momochihama, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 814-0001
- Access: Take a 30 minute bus ride from the Hakata Station
- Opening hour: 9:30 – 18:00
- Website: http://robosquare.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/english/
13. Watch A Live Show in Fukuoka
Ready for your neck for some head banging cause Fukuoka’s rock concerts can get pretty gnarly, folks. More colloquially referred to as a “Live House,” small concerts or gigs in Fukuoka are typically held in the Tenjin area. Local artists, although not always popular on a national scale, can draw incredible crowds and diehard fans exude an energy that make the atmosphere electric. Make sure to stick around for the after party!
14. Chow Down on Motsunabe
After a full day of navigating the busy streets of Fukuoka during the winter, there’s nothing more comforting and satisfying than a hot, filling meal. Better yet, do as the locals do and chow down on a heaping serving of a prefecture specialty, Motsunabe. Comparable to a stew, Motsunabe is a hotpot traditionally enjoyed during the winter. It’s feature ingredients? Beef or pork offal. While the thought of offal might turn some travelers away, it’s actually very delicious and heart warming. Even better? Most Motsunabe restaurants are great drinking spots.
15. Sing Your Heart Out at Karaoke
Are you a fan of screaming your lungs out or enjoy bellowing to your favorite song? If so, then there’s no better to wind down and let loose in Fukuoka than by hitting up a karaoke. While karaokes can be found on nearly every street corner in the prefecture, the largest number of these establishments are located in the Tenjin area. Find one that looks comfy then hunker down for hours of singing, drinking and merrymaking.
Whether you’re looking for the best shopping in the region, some unusual local dishes to savor or simply want to enjoy the sights and sounds that the area has to offer, Fukuoka will definitely have something that will appeal to your desires and interests. Don’t be afraid to try new and unusual experience, because it’s normally what you’re afraid to try that will result in the fondest memories.
Have a good trip and travel!