Fukuoka was the last stop on my month-long tour of Japan. I wanted to visit Fukuoka because I intended to fly onwards to the Philippines and also wanted to visit nearby Nagasaki. Fukuoka is also a good point of entry/exit to other destinations in Asia as it has links to South Korea by ferry and several airlines fly here too. This city is the largest in Kyushu and has been an important harbour city for many centuries. In 1889 Fukuoka became what we see today after the merging of two existing cities, Hakata and the former castle town of Fukuoka. Some of the highlights when visiting Fukuoka include pretty Ohori Park, Fukuoka Castle Ruins, Fukuoka Tower and Momochi Beach.
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- Visa – As a British National I was exempt from requiring a visa to visit Japan for less than 90 days, however, some nationalities will require a visa. For the most up to date information visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
- Immunisations – some are required, check out my go-to website for up to date information: https://nathnac.net
- Safety – Just like London, Fukuoka is a very safe place to visit. You should use usual common sense, around protecting valuables to avoid pick-pocketers, and staying safe at night.
- Currency – Japanese Yen
- Language – Japanese
To reach Fukuoka I travelled from Hiroshima by JR train on the Shinkansen Sakura. The journey took a little over an hour and was very straightforward. I arrived at Hakata station, and then it was just a short walk to my hostel. Hakata is the Main station serving Fukuoka and is the largest on Kyushu Island. The subway is also located here, and there are several shops and food outlets to grab a bite to eat before your journey. I especially loved visiting ‘Macrobiotic Deli Evah Dining’, they make the best vegan Japanese bento boxes I’ve ever had!
I stayed at a homely, reasonably priced guest house, ‘Yasuragi Hakataekimae’. It provided basic amenities and comfy beds, but the best part was the location. Being so close to Hakata station meant it was extremely convenient to visit nearby Nagasaki as well as reaching the airport to fly on to my next destination which was only one stop of the airport subway, taking just 6 minutes!
It was very straight forward getting around Fukuoka, only spending one day in the city, I used the subway and also the bus service, both of which were very efficient. I travelled on the subway for only £1 or £2 to reach Ohori Park, getting off a few stops later at Ohorikoen. There’s also a bus which can take you directly to Momochi Beach and Fukuoka Tower, which was very easy to use also.
Fukuoka Castle Ruins
All that remains of the once grand Fukuoka Castle are its ruins consisting of a few gates, guard towers, and turrets. The castle used to be the largest castle on Kyushu, however, after the Meiji Restoration, it was almost completely torn down as an unwanted symbol of the feudal past. Now though you can walk along its ruined walls and see some of the towers around Matsui Park. The best time of year to visit is during the cherry blossom season (late March and early April) as several of the walkways are lined with cherry trees.
Built between 1926-29, Ohori Park is a pleasant outdoor space to visit on a sunny day in Fukuoka. It has a huge pond in the centre, with a walkway around the edge, popular with tourists as well as joggers, and cyclists. There are three islands in the middle which are connected to the mainland via bridges. The pond was actually part of the moat system which served nearby Fukuoka Castle.
Created in 1984 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ohori Park, in this pretty Japanese garden you’ll find miniature mountains, trees and a central pond surrounded by a walking path, to wander through and enjoy the views.
There is also a waterfall running on the north-west side of the garden, coupled with the thick foliage you wouldn’t even realise you were in the middle of a bustling city. When I visited there was a newly married couple having some of their wedding photographs taken here, it’s that pretty.
This huge building is described as the tallest seaside tower in Japan, measuring 237 metres! There are illuminations in the evening, where the building is lit up in different designs, and several different floors within the building. Including shops and services, sky lounge and restaurant, and of course an observation deck. For the most up to date information on opening times and admission fees, check out the official website here.
Along the seashore of Fukuoka, you’ll find a public art gallery ‘Aero Gallery DUNE’ located just close by to the Fukuoka Tower and other high rise buildings. There are several sculptures on display here, one of which being this pastel pink bulbous poodle! Also just outside Fukuoka Tower in the main square area, you’ll find a giant camera
There is a one kilometre long stretch of sand, called Momochi Beach found in Fukuoka. It is not a natural beach, but instead, man-made. The area is very popular for sports, and when I strolled along the water’s edge I saw lots of joggers, swimmers, and people playing volleyball on the beach. Int he centre of the beach area there is also a collection fo restaurants, shops and cafes, as well as a ferry port with connections to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park across Hakata Bay.
For day two of my stay in Fukuoka, I headed back to Hakata Station and boarded a train for Nagasaki. You can read more about my day trip here, ‘How to spend a day in Nagasaki‘.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my weekend in Fukuoka, and that I have given you some inspiration for your own visit here. If you have any queries or questions, please do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.
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