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5 Great Ways To Experience Japan's Culture, Fukuoka-style!

5 Great Ways To Experience Japan's Culture, Fukuoka-style!

Fukuoka 2016.07.14 Bookmark

Enjoy the sights of Fukuoka's Hakata; the gateway to Kyushu visited by countless tourists. Our one day walking course includes temples and shrines, traditional crafts and delicious local dishes.

Translated by Greg

Written by Norihisa Hasegawa

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Fukuoka city's Hakata area boasts the most tourists of any town on the island of Kyushu. Despite its strong image as a destination for eating and shopping, there are actually many Buddhist temples and Shintō shrines in Hakata, as well as many places close-by where you can have a hands-on experience with traditional culture.

As we tag along with Pierre from France, who was in the middle of his Hakata sightseeing, we'll introduce you to some points of interest and places to enjoy the local cuisine, all within easy walking distance of Hakata Station.

Read also: Taste Fresh Beer At Asahi Beer Hakata Brewery

1. Test Your Strength at Kushida Shrine, Hakata's Guardian Angel

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First let's visit Hakata's guardian angel, Kushida Shrine (Japanese).
Every year, Kushida Shrine takes center stage during one of Hakata's main festivals, Hakata Gion Yamakasa, which runs from July 1st to July 15th. If you are in Hakata at this time of the year, enjoy the power and energy of this festival.

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Within the grounds of Kushida Shrine, there are many things to see and do, including testing your strength with a heavy stone called a tameshi-ishi. When you are in Hakata, we highly recommend that you drop in for a visit.

2. Buy Traditional Hakata Souvenirs at Hakatamachiya Furusatokan

We also suggest stopping in at Hakatamachiya Furusatokan, a short two minute stroll from Kushida Shrine. Here the best of Hakata souvenirs, including traditional crafts and tasty sweets, are available.

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Admission to Furusatokan is free, and in the adjoining Machiya Hall, you can see how a traditional Japanese house is built, watch handicrafts being made and even have a hands-on experience by joining a crafts workshop (additional fee). The workshops vary from day to day, so please be sure to check their homepage (English available) for details.

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You can see Hakata ori (*1) and also have a hands-on cultural experience, free of charge every day at two set times - 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Also, from 2:00 pm a free one-hour guided tour of Hakata is offered. Reservations are not required so feel free to join.
*1 Hakata ori: a thick, silk fabric produced in Hakata that is often used to make kimono obi, or sashes.

3. The Hakata Traditional Crafts and Design Museum: Experience Culture and Take a Short Break

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Photo courtesy of Hakata Traditional Crafts and Design Museum

If you would like to learn more about Hakata's industrial crafts and traditions, we urge you to visit the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum. Here a large number of Hakata ori (silk fabric) and Hakata ningyō (dolls) are on display.

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Photo courtesy of Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum

Inside the Museum Cafe enjoy a cup of organic coffee and rest your feet.

4. See a Five-story Pagoda and Huge Buddha Statue at Tōchōji Temple

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With the red five-story pagoda to guide us there, let's go to Tōchōji Temple, a spot popular with tourists. This pagoda is not the only sightseeing attraction here. You'll also be impressed by the overpowering scale of the Fukuoka Daibutsu statue (Japanese).

Let's Make Use of the Hakata Tour Guide Association

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Members of the Tour Guide Association, in their purple colored happi jackets, give tours of Tōchōji Temple and the surrounding area almost every day. It's free of charge and English-speaking guides are also available. I wonder if these guides reveal the secret delights of Tōchōji Temple only to the tourists?

Also for a nominal fee, the Hakata Tour Guide Association can design an individualized tour for you complete with a guide, so please feel free to check their homepage for more details.

5. Savor Hakata's Local Cuisine!

Now we'll introduce two unique restaurants in Hakata, a town well known for its wide variety of cuisine.

Hakata Aka Chokobe Restaurant

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When you're in the mood for something a little different from the standard fare, how about trying Zubora Udon at Hakata Aka Chokobe Restaurant?

Read also: Eat Udon Noodles From A Kettle? Zubora Udon At Hakata Akachokobe

Tenyamachi Umibare Restaurant

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Photo courtesy of OBU Company

We recommend Tenyamachi Umibare when you want to eat motsu nabe, a popular hot pot dish.

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A typical Hakata motsu nabe hot pot dish starts with either a soy sauce or miso based soup. Then the motsu (the offal from beef or pork) are added, and simmered along with cabbage and other vegetables. But Umibare's motsu nabe is a little different. First, red snapper fish and green onion can be eaten shabu-shabu style in a clear, Japanese-style soup made from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). Next, after fresh, firm motsu are added to the soup, the motsu nabe can be enjoyed, further enhanced by the flavor of the red snapper. This exquisite taste cannot be found at other restaurants and is also suitable for those who do not like a strongly flavored motsu nabe.

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Photo courtesy of OBU Company

You can also eat sushi freshly prepared by the Japanese house chef. Tenyamachi Umibare lets you sample Japanese cuisine and in particular, Hakata's local specialties.

In Closing

Today we introduced you to some of the area's most popular sightseeing spots, all within walking distance of Hakata Station. Don't forget our suggestions when you take your next trip to Hakata!

For more on Hakata and Fukuoka:

Information

Hakata Machiya Furusatokan
Location: Fukuoka City, Hakata, Reisen Machi 6-10
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed: Open every day
Wi-Fi: None
Credit Cards: Accepted
Other Languages: None
Information in Other Languages: None
Nearest Station: Gion Station (祇園駅) Fukuoka City Subway
Access: 5 minute walk from Gion Station
Admission: 200 yen (only for the exhibition hall)
Phone: 092-281-7761
Homepage: Hakata Machiya Furusatokan

Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum
Location: Fukuoka City, Hakata, Kamikawabata machi 6-1
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Closed: Wednesdays, December 29-31
Wi-Fi: None
Credit Cards: Accepted
Other Languages: Japanese, English
Information in Other Languages: English, Chinese, Korean
Nearest Station: Gion Station (祇園駅) Fukuoka City Subway
Access: 5 minute walk from Gion Station
Admission: Free
Phone: 092-409-5450
Homepage: Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum

Tenyamachi Umibare
Location: Fukuoka City, Hakata, Tenyamachi 3-34 (Tenya building-first floor)
Hours: Lunch 11:30-14:00 (reservations required on Sat.,Sun.,holidays) Dinner 17:00-23:00
Closed: Open every day
Wi-Fi: None
Credit Cards: Accepted
Other Languages: None
Menus in Other Languages: None
Nearest Station: Gofukumachi Station (呉服町駅) Fukuoka City Subway
Access: 5 minute walk from Gofukumachi Station
Phone: 092-282-6900
Homepage: Tenyamachi Umibare

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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