Translated by Shinji Takaramura
JR Hakata Station: A Gateway to Fukuoka and Kyushu
Written by Osawa Kumi
JR Hakata City, a large commercial building, is directly connected to the JR Hakata station. This article will describe how to enjoy its facilities.
Hakata station is the main entrance to Fukuoka, and the whole Kyushu area. JR Hakata City, a commercial building directly connected to the station, opened in 2011. Since then, it has become a major attraction, not only as a train station, but also as a place to enjoy shopping, movies, and restaurants.
Tourists should visit the Information Center, located inside the station. It is open from 8:00 to 21:00. The resident staff can speak English and Korean, and there is also a Chinese translation machine. Free Wi-Fi service, provided by Fukuoka City Wifi, is available in the area near the Information Center. The staff will help you with Wi-Fi registration.
Hakata Station Information Center
Address: 1-1, Hakata Eki Chuo Gai, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City
Phone Number: +81(0)92-431-3003
Location: In the middle of the JR Hakata Station concourse
There is a large pamphlet corner on the opposite side of the Information Center, where you can find pamphlets in several languages.
There is also a touch-panel monitor in the pamphlet corner, and it can be operated in Korean, Chinese (both traditional and simplified characters), and English.
Many tourists from abroad enjoy shopping at the Hankyu Department Store, located inside JR Hakata City.
The tourist counter is on the first floor, with English-, Chinese-, and Korean-speaking staffs. Tax-free counters are located on the first and seventh floors. Tourists can also exchange US dollars, euros, and wons at the seventh floor counter.
Hankyu Department Store
From the underground floors thru the fourth floor/ 10:00–21:00
From the fifth floor thru the eighth floor/ 10:00– 20:00
Phone Number: +81(0)92-461-1381
AMU PLAZA Hakata is a shopping mall with a wide variety of shops. T-Joy Hakata, a cinemaplex, is located on the ninth floor, and the restaurants, nicknamed "City Dining Kooten", are located on the ninth and tenth floors.
AMU PLAZA Hakata
*The restaurant hours differ according to the proprietors.
Phone Number: +81(0)92-431-8484
Tsubame no Mori Hiroba [sparrow forest plaza] is located on the rooftop of JR Hakata City. It is a unique spot, and after getting off the elevator, a wall covered with Arita ware tiles jumps into view. Some tourists take photographs of this charming wall. Arita ware is traditional Kyushu earthenware, and it is famous overseas as the brand ARITA.
The stairs lead to the observation terrace. Its height is about 60 meters, and visitors can enjoy the panoramic view.
After taking in the view, visit the Railway Shrine to pray for a safe journey.
Go through the first torii [archway], which is called Hoshi Mon [star gate], and you will see old-style shops on both sides of the approach.
This is a wind-chime shop, where the ceramic bells sway to the wind.
In Japan, the wind-chimes are synonymous with summertime. While the chimes in this shop are made from ceramics, there are also wind-chimes that are made from glass and steel.
There is also an old-fashioned penny candy store. A wide variety of candies, along with household goods, is sold here, so it may be a good place to buy souvenirs.
After the second torii, which is called Fuku Mon [gate of good fortune], a rice paddy, something you might not expect on the rooftop of a building, comes into view. Throughout its history, Japan has valued rice, and the rice paddy is a symbol of that value.
This is the third torii, called Yume Mon [dream gate]. The yashiro, where the deity is enshrined, is located beyond this torii. The rooftop is filled with greenery, and it is an ideal place to spend a quiet moment, while praying for a safe trip.
Waganse Gassho Jizo is placed on the right-hand side. This statue was commissioned in the hopes of Japan recovering from the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. It was carved from a pine tree of Rikuzen Takata in Iwate Prefecture, a prefecture devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.
Jizo is a Buddhist saint and a guardian deity of travels and children.
After visiting the Railway Shrine, ride the Tsubame [sparrow] Train, which runs around the Tenku no Hiroba [sky plaza]. This cute small train is popular among both children and adults. Eiji Mitooka, who has designed unique railroad cars for JR Kyushu, is also the designer of Tsubame Train.
The visitors can enjoy this view from the observation terrace.
Children under two years of age can ride the train for free, but parental assistance will be required.
There will be no service between 14:30 and 15:30
Hakata station is not only a terminal, but a place where you can spend a whole day. If you plan to visit Fukuoka, go to Hakata Station to gather information, shop, and enjoy delicious food.