Translated by Lester Somera
Fukuoka Travel Guide - Things To Do, Food, And Tips
Fukuoka is a vibrant city in Kyushu with many fascinating places to visit - from ancient shrines and Japanese gardens to towers and shopping facilities. This guide explains how to get around Fukuoka, what are the best places to visit, where to find excellent local food, and more!
Written by ニコ
Fukuoka - Kyushu's Most Vibrant City
Fukuoka has a long history, and even today, relics and artifacts from previous areas are excavated in the city. The city was originally a base for contact with foreign nations in the seventh century; around the turn of the 11th century, the Daitogai district was built for Chinese and Korean traders. Rows of internationally styled buildings were erected, and the growing metropolis became a haven for foreign merchants to come and go, taking on the name “Hakata City”.
In later years, Hakata prospered as a port town, and was renamed Fukuoka in the 17th century after Fukuoka Castle was built, taking on the name of the township that surrounds the fortification. In modern times, it’s typical for residents to refer to the old merchant quarters and other areas east of the Nakagawa and Hakata rivers as “Hakata,” and call the former castle town areas in the west “Fukuoka.”
Fukuoka has one of the best food scenes in the country, with fresh seafood and the famous Hakata ramen, temples and shrines with historic pedigrees, energetic festivals, and plenty of shopping. We’d like to introduce some of the best things to enjoy in Fukuoka.
Table of Contents:
1. Fukuoka Area Guide
2. The Best Places to Visit in Fukuoka
3. How to Get to Fukuoka (Hakata)
4. Traveling around Fukuoka City
5. Weather in Fukuoka and What to Wear
6. A Model Itinerary for Fukuoka
7. Fukuoka Festivals and Events
8. The Best Souvenirs from Fukuoka
9. Shopping in Fukuoka
10. Hotels in Fukuoka
11. Dining in Fukuoka
12. Fukuoka Tourist Information Centers
13. Useful Information for Your Trip
Fukuoka Area Guide
1. Hakata Station Area
You might be surprised by the sheer scale of Hakata Station when you arrive. JR Hakata City is connected to the station, and contains more than 200 stores and shopping outlets which handle fashion items and food products, including the Hakata Hankyu Department Store and the Hakata Tokyu Hands. The first floor Miyagemon Ichiba has a selection of Hakata souvenirs for scale.
On the rooftop, the expansive Tsubame-no-Mori Plaza has a liberatingly open garden themed around the four seasons, and you can get an unbroken view of the Fukuoka cityscape and Hakata Harbor from the viewing terrace. You can even witness trains entering and leaving the station from the train-watching spots in the park.
Other popular activities for children and adults alike are visiting the Tetsudo Shrine, for travelers wishing for a safe journey, as well as watching the departures of the Tsubame and Kuro trains. Notable spots around the station include back alleys and side streets that retain their traditional character, the Japanese-style Rakusui Garden, and Sumiyoshi Shrine.
2. Tenjin Area
As Fukuoka’s best shopping area, Tenjin is home to the venerable department store Iwataya, along with many other shopping outlets, restaurants and yatai food stalls. The stylish Tenjin underground shopping mall was created in the image of a European city, and is so well-produced that no one would think it was underground if they didn’t already know. With more than 150 shops, it’s the perfect place to do some shopping and spend a rainy day without getting wet.
3. Nakasu Area
As an area full of yatai stalls peddling Fukuoka’s famous oden, ramen, and yakitori, the Nakasu district still retains much of its historic shrines and friendly working-class vibe. Canal City Hakata has plenty of shopping and restaurants, and the neighboring Kawabata Shopping Street is the oldest shopping area in the city. Kawabata is the birthplace of events like Hakata Dontaku, the Hakata Gion Yamagasa, and Seimonbarai (a pioneering big bargain sale event).
4. Ohori Area
Here, you’ll find the Ohori Park, which contains a Japanese-style garden, as well as the Yukari Kyodo Art Museum and a modern art museum that displays 20th-century art. You can visit neighboring Fukuoka Castle, built in the Edo era, as well as Maizuru Park, which contains sports facilities and remnants of the inner and outer citadel.
5. Seaside Momochi Area
This area contains a cluster of several places popular with tourists, including the Seaside Momochi Beach Park, Fukuoka Tower, and the Fukuoka City Museum. The beach is lined with restaurants and marine sports shops, and also has areas to play beach volleyball and soccer.
6. Dazaifu Area
Dazaifu Temmangu, shrine of Sugawara-no-Michizane - the god of scholars - is in this area, along with Komyozenji Temple (also called Kokedera Temple) and the Kyushu National Museum. In front of the gate to Dazaifu Temmangu, there are gourmet spots where you can snack on treats like umegae mochi and Onigawara monaka.
The Best Places to Visit in Fukuoka
1. Dazaifu Temmangu
Dazaifu Temmangu was built in 919 and enshrines the god of scholars, Sugawara-no-Michizane, also fondly known as Tenjin-sama. There is a story behind the sacred tobi-ume, or “flying plum tree,” located in front of the main hall. Sugawara-no-Michizane would recite poetry to the tree at his home, and when he was demoted from Kyoto to Dazaifu, legend has it that the plum tree took flight and soared all the way to Dazaifu. The area’s sake offerings, plum wine and plum trees are very famous, and in March, the trees are quite a sight when they are in full bloom.
On the road to the shrine, you can see vendors preparing umegae mochi, a grilled rice cake filled with red bean jam.
For more information, check out our Visit Dazaifu Tenmangū Shrine in Fukuoka For Better Academic Resultsarticle, and to see some of the exciting fortunes you can get from this shrine, check out The Three Most Unusual Omikuji You Should Pull At Dazaifu Temmangu.
Address: Fukuoka Prefecture, Dazaifu City, Saifu 4-7-1
Website: Dazaifu Temmangu
2. Yatai Food Stalls
One of Fukuoka’s most famous attractions are the city’s Hakata yatai stalls. Over two hundred stalls are spread out through the Tenjin, Nakasu and Nagahama areas, and their cozy, lantern-lit spaces come to life in the evening, full of steam and amazing aromas. These places are where you can sample Hakata specialties like ramen, gyoza and motsu nabe, along with yakitori skewers, oden and others. Make yourself at home and enjoy talking with the customer next to you.
3. The Tenjin Area
While Tenjin offers Kyushu’s best shopping, there are many other great points of interest in the area, such as the Mizu-kagami Temmangu shrine and the Fukuoka Red Brick Culture Center, with its impressive exterior of red brick and granite.
Another standout is the Sho-fuen Garden, which has tea houses and Japanese gardens that were cultivated after the war. Drop in when you need a break from shopping.
4. Canal City Hakata
Canal City Hakata was built around a concept of a metropolitan theater. Its rounded spaces are filled with colorful buildings that contain shopping malls, movie theaters, playhouses, amusement facilities, two hotels, showrooms, offices and more.
There is a dynamic fountain show at the canal that flows through the center of the complex, and there are events at the waterfront Sun Plaza Stage every day. From November, you’ll be able to see a special show that incorporates the fountain, light, music and a 3D light display, so look forward to it!
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Sumiyoshi 1-2
Website: Canal City Hakata
5. Ohori Park
Ohori Park got its name from the outer moat of Fukuoka Castle, which was built by filling up a part of Hakata Bay. One of the nation’s prominent water vistas, the park scenery features a wild bird forest, a Noh theater, Japanese-style gardens, islands linked by four bridges and a hall that looks like it’s floating on water. Refresh your spirit at this haven in the big city.
For more information, check out our article on Ohori Park.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Chuo, Ohori Park
Website: Ohori Park
The island of Shikanoshima, floating in Hakata Bay, is easily accessible by car or bus, and occupies an important space in Japanese history. Visitors can see historical shrines and stone monuments, which exist on Shikanoshima because the island had ties to the continent in ancient times. The island is now a resort area offering beach swimming, yachting, windsurfing and other ocean activities, as well as diving spots off the east coast. From the island’s Shiomi Observation Platform, you can get a sweeping view the islands floating in the waters of Genkai-nada and the Fukuoka cityscape.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Higashi, Shikanoshima
7. Nokonoshima Island Park
The island of Nokonoshima is 10 minutes away from Meinohama in Fukukuoka by ferry, and Nokonoshima Island Park is 13 minutes away from the ferry terminal by bus. You can revel in the sight of seasonal flowers at the park, including rape blossoms in spring, sunflowers in summer, cosmos in fall and narcissus in winter. Other park attractions include the mini-zoo, athletics facilities, places to try tempering and decorating ceramics, and there are 10 cottages for visitors to stay.
For more information, check out our Seasonal Flowers in Full Bloom! Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka article.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Nishi, Nokoshima
Website: Nokonoshima Island Park
8. Fukuoka Tower
At a height of 234 meters and covered in 8,000 half-mirrors, Fukuoka Tower is fondly known as the Mirror Sail. Visitors can get an amazing view of Fukuoka from the fifth-floor observatory, located 123 meters above the ground. The tower is also lit up at night with displays timed to go together with seasonal events like Christmas. The first floor has a souvenir corner where you can pick up Hakata specialty items like traditional sweets and mentaiko, so drop by on your way out.
This tower is a great place to visit both during the day and during the night, and has a romantic atmosphere that couples will love. For more information, check out our Enjoy A View Of Fukuoka's Gorgeous Scenery From Fukuoka Tower! article.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Sawara, Momochihama 2-3-26
Website: Fukuoka Tower
9. Seaside Momochi Beach Park
This man made beach park spreads out to the north of Fukuoka Tower, and the Marizon facility is located at its heart, with a variety of restaurants and marine sports shops. The park is split into two areas: Momochihama, with courts for beach volleyball and beach soccer, and Jikyohama, which hosts music concerts and other events.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Sawara, Momochihama 2-3-26
10. Hakata Riverain
With a relaxing atmosphere tailor-made for the mature traveler, the Hakata Riverain commercial facility is home to cultural hubs, with a theater and an art museum, as well as gourmet restaurants, shopping outlets and hotels. At Hakata-za, you can enjoy more than just kabuki performances and musicals; they also have a store which handles Hakata-za original products and Hakata souvenirs. In addition, it’s directly connected to the Nakasu-Kawabata subway station, so it’s very convenient to visit.
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Shimokawabata-machi 3-1
Website: Hakata Riverain
11. Rakusuien Garden
Originally the mansion of a Hakata trader 100 years ago and later a Japanese inn, Rakusuien is a stunning public garden that is conveniently located near Hakata Station and the Canal City Hakata shopping center. To learn more about this garden and historical home, take a look at Enjoy Japanese Culture in Fukuoka - Rakusuien Garden By Hakata Station.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Hakata, Sumiyoshi 2-10-7
12. Atago Shrine
From the top of the hill where Atago Shrine is located, visitors can overlook the symbol of the city, Fukuoka Tower, as well as the ocean. The night view here is also amazing, and is especially popular among couples. Enjoy the View over Fukuoka from the History-rich Atago Shrine has more on this shrine.
Address: Fukuoka, Nishi, Atago 2-7-1
Website: Atagao Shrine
13. Marine World Uminonakamichi
In Fukuoka, when you mention the word aquarium, Marine World Uminonakamichi immediately comes to mind. From the coastal waters to the distant oceans, comprising some 450 different species, there are about 30,000 living creatures on display at Marine World. Celebrating their grand re-opening from April 12th, 2017, read all about the Amazing Shows At Marine World Uminonakamichi, Fukuoka here.
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Higashi, Saitozaki, 18−28
Website: Marine World Uminonakamichi
14. Kushida Shrine
Home to the protective god of Hakata, Kushida Shrine is a popular and well-loved place that hosts the majority of the famous festivals held in Hakata each year. This shrine is fascinating for many reasons, and a must see spot in Fukuoka. There are many things to see and do at Kushida Shrine, but 5 Things You Should Do At Kushida Shrine In Hakata has our top recommendations.
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Kamikawabatamachi 1-41
Other Places to Check Out in Fukuoka
There are just too many places to mention in a single article, but those traveling to Fukuoka should not miss out on some of the fascinating spots you can find just outside the city itself.
The furthest from Fukuoka city at about two hours by car, Kitakyushu is home to an interesting mix of traditional Japan and ultra modern culture. Here you will find Mojiko Retro, a stunning port city full of historical buildings from over 100 years ago, as well as the Aruaru City shopping center, home to numerous anime and manga related shops, and the Kitakyushu Manga Museum, where visitors can learn all about the history of this pop culture phenomenon.
Known as the 'city of water', Yanagawa in Fukuoka is famous for its rivers and charming retro atmosphere. Here you can enjoy numerous Japanese traditions, such as the mari balls in the above photo, cruises along the waterways, and even tour the palatial home of the former feudal lords.
Izuka once prospered as a coal mining town and now thrives as a city rich in historical structures from various eras of Japanese history. Two we would like to mention are the Ito Denemon Residence, a home that combines both Western and Japanese architecture, as well as the Kaho Theater, the largest wooden Japanese theater in Japan, that seats anywhere from 750-1200 guests.
You may consider visiting Kurume, where you will find the traditional Japanese Ikat weaving method called Kurume-kasuri, a recognized UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage since 1957; this textile has been in production in much the same manner for 200 years. Or, you might want to head to Chikugo city, an hour's drive south from Kurume, to pray at Koi no Ki, a shrine dedicated to the unusual Love God Koi-no-Mikoto. This heart-covered shrine draws visitors from all across Japan and is a must see for those looking for love or in a relationship.
Check out activity tickets for Fukuoka and Kumamoto
How to Get to Fukuoka (Hakata)
From Tokyo to Fukuoka
There are more than 50 flights a day from Haneda Airport to Fukuoka through ANA, JAl, Skymark, and Starflyer; there are 12 flights a day from Narita Airport through ANA, JAL, Jetstar, and Peach. The flight is two hours long.
The base fare for a one-way ticket on ANA or JAL will be around 41,000 yen, but you can get that reduced to around 26,000 yen if you buy more than three days in advance, and if you book early enough, you can get a special discount where the lowest fare starts at 9000 yen. Skymark’s fares with early booking discounts start at 8,000 yen, and Starflyer has special tourist-friendly fares starting at 9000 yen if you buy through their Fly Japan program. Peach and Jetstar fares change daily, and can be as little as 5000 yen.
If you plan on going by train, the Nozomi Shinkansen train goes all the way to Hakata Station in about five hours. A one-way ticket in reserved seating is 23,000 yen. However, traveling on the Nozomi is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you’re a JR Pass holder, you’ll need to take the Hikari to Shin-Osaka Station and travel to Hakata from there. Getting from Shin-Osaka to Fukuoka is explained below.
From Osaka to Fukuoka
Six Fukuoka-bound flights leave from Kansai International Airport (KIX) every day, through ANA, JAL, Jetstar and Peach. Ten flights a day leave from Osaka International Airport (Itami), through ANA, JAL, and IBEX. The flight is one hours and 15 minutes long. The base fare for a one-way ticket on ANA or JAL will be around 24,600 yen, but you can get that reduced to around 13,300 yen if you buy more than three days in advance, and if you book early enough, you can get a special discount where the lowest fare starts at 9,100 yen. Fares through Jetstar and Peach and other low-cost carriers start at 4000 yen, and IBEX offers early booking discounts on fares, which start at 9400 yen.
There are several sShinkansen options from Shin-Osaka Station to Hakata Station.
Mizuho and Nozomi - two hours and 30 minutes; Kodama - five hours.
One-way fares in regular reserved seating:
Mizuho and Nozomi - 15,310 yen; Kodama - 15,000 yen.
The JR Pass cannot be used on Mizuho or Nozomi trains so make sure you plan accordingly.
Getting to Fukuoka from Asian Airports
Fukuoka Airport handles the third-highest number of air travelers to Japan, only surpassed by Haneda and Narita. That’s why there is regular service between Fukuoka Airport and many other regional airports, with nine routes to China, three to Korea, two to Taiwan, and two to Vietnam, as well as routes to Bangkok in Thailand, Manila in the Philippines, and Singapore.
From the Airport to the City Center
Use the subway Airport Line to get from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station in five minutes, and to the Tenjin district in 11 minutes. The fare is 260 yen, and the fare up to Ohori Park is 300 yen. There is also a Nishi-Tetsu bus service that runs two buses an hour from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station. The trip takes 15 minutes and costs 260 yen. If you want to head all the way to Tenjin, the trip takes 30 minutes and costs 310 yen.
For more information, check out our How to Get to Hakata from Fukuoka Airport article.
Traveling Around Fukuoka City
Fukuoka has excellent public transportation, and its subway lines, JR trains and buses make it a breeze to travel around the city.
Fukuoka’s subway has three lines: the Airport Line, the Hakozaki Line and the Nanakuma Line. A one-day all-you-can-ride pass is 620 yen for an adult, and the passes are sold at every station ticket counter.
JR trains operate out of Hakata Station, the transport hub for all of Kyushu. The Nishi-Tetsu Tenjin Omuta Line - convenient for tourists going to Dazaifu Temmangu - leaves from Nishi-Tetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station in Tenjin. If you’re going to Dazaifu Temmangu, pick up a Nishi-Tetsu roundtrip ticket from Fukuoka Station or Yakuin Station for 1000 yen (680 yen for children); it also comes with a coupon you can exchange for an umegae mochi snack.
Nishi-Tetsu buses leave from Hakata Station and the Tenjin area, and the 100-yen loop bus that runs between Hakata and Tenjin is a boon for tourists.
Travelers can get a one-day bus pass, limited to routes within the city, for 900 yen. Another pass includes travel on the Dazaifu Liner buses for 1500 yen; yet another pass allows riders to travel on both Nishi-Tetsu’s trains and buses for 2060 yen. These passes can be purchased at train ticket counters and bus ticket offices.
Fukuoka is mostly flat, so rental bicycle services are popular with visitors. A popular service is Poi Chari, which will deliver a bicycle to your hotel or your preferred drop-off spot, and pick it up when you want to return it. A rental is 1500 yen for a day, 2500 yen for two days, and 3500 yen for three days. Every additional day after that is another 1000 yen, and the mandatory security deposit is 300 yen.
Another rental service with the same system is Migrant Cycling, which charges 1500 yen for six hours and 2000 yen for a day, with a 300 yen delivery charge. Migrant’s website offers helpful support in English and Korean.
Seaside Bike is another easy-to-use, convenient alternative. You can rent a bicycle from any of nine ports within the city, and return it to any of the ports whenever you like. The first hour is 200 yen, with each subsequent hour being another 100 yen and capping at a maximum of 1000 yen a day.
To learn more about transportation within Fukuoka, take a look at How To Get Around Fukuoka City! 4 Means of Transportation +1.
Weather In Fukuoka and What to Wear
The weather in Fukuoka is quite pleasant, if you are prepared for the conditions. Fukuoka is in Kyushu, which means that the summer temperatures are regularly over 30℃. Temperatures that exceed 35℃ are common, so be careful to avoid heat illness.
While most people think Fukuoka winters are warm, there are also days with temperatures that are low enough for snow, so bring protection against the cold. In the summer, sand particles might flutter through the air, so you should use a mask. In addition, there are windy days all year round, so bring a windbreaker, especially when going to Momochi.
A Model Itinerary for Fukuoka
There is a lot to see and do in Fukuoka city and the surrounding area, so here we have compiled our most basic itinerary, which will give you a general idea of the city, as well as provided links to some of our more detailed, or thematic trips through Fukuoka.
Morning: Go shopping in the vicinity of Tenjin
Daytime: Visit Kushida Shrine, a local favorite
Afternoon: Head to Tochoji
Evening: Eat at the Yatai Stalls in Nakasu
Morning: Stroll Around Ohori Park
Afternoon: Drop by Dazaifu Temmangu
Evening: Have some of Ichiran’s hit tonkotsu ramen
For more information about this tour in particular, please see Enjoy Sightseeing and Delicious Food In Fukuoka! A Two-Day Itinerary.
Non-Japanese speakers and those who are looking to make some friends while on their trip may consider taking part in a guided tour of the area, which is why we recommend the Tomodachi Guide program. Fans of tour buses will definitely want to take the Fukuoka Open Top Bus to see the sights instead. Those on a tight schedule might consider following this route, as each location is within walking distance from Hakata Station. And finally, beer fans might consider adding this to their itinerary: the Asahi Beer Hakata Brewery where you can learn how beer is made, and enjoy a sample afterwards.
Fukuoka Festivals and Events
Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
This annual festival is held at Kushida Shrine from July 1st through the 15th. Banners are hoisted atop floats called yamakasa, and doll figures stand on top of the floats; there are tall yamakasa decorations known as kazariyama, and smaller ones known as kakiyama. Float decorations take many forms, with traditional styles as well as decorations which incorporate that year’s fads and trends.
The people carrying the floats come from all age ranges, from children to adults. At the climax of the festival, teams carrying floats race each other to see who can complete the fastest lap around the shrine.
For details on the Yamakasa Festival check out our article: Fukuoka: Hakata Heats Up With Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival 2017
Daizaifu Temmangu Iris Festival
In June, the Iris Pond at Dazaifu Temmangu in the eastern garden is blanketed with more than 30,000 irises of around 55 varieties floating placidly atop the water’s surface. The sight of these variously-colored irises - with shades of white, purple, light violet and more - is incredibly romantic, and they are illuminated at night.
Hakata Dontaku Festival
The Hakata Dontaku Festival happens every year on the 3rd and 4th of May, near Hakata Station. At the festival, men and women of all ages parade through the streets wearing whatever costumes they like, and street stages and plazas are set up for dance performances.
The festival is said to be derived from the New Year’s celebration, the Hakata Matsubayashi parade, which began in 1179. A young boy, accompanied by three lucky gods, would visit areas around Fukuoka to commemorate the New Year. Now, this celebration is the event that opens the Hakata Dontaku parade. In addition, flower-bedecked trucks with decorative lights hold processions around the city. Any tourist visiting Fukuoka in May should jump at the chance to experience as much as possible of the unique atmosphere and dancing at Hakata Dontaku.
Website: Hakata Dontaku Festival
Fukuoka Castle Cherry Blossom Festival
Fukuoka Castle’s Maizuru Park is famous for the sight of its thousand cherry blossom trees in full bloom, and the cherry blossom festival runs from late March to early April. Naturally, the blossoms form a great contrast against the castle backdrop. When they are lit up at night, the flowers look like they’re floating above the city, and their reflection in the waters of the castle moat creates a scene straight out of a fairytale.
During the festival, there are guided tours that explain the history of the castle and the cherry blossoms, as well as a flea market and yatai stalls, and people turn out in droves.
For more information, check out our 5 Great Sakura Viewing Spots in Kyushu article.
The Best Souvenirs from Fukuoka
Fukuoka has an amazing food scene, which means there are so many delicious souvenir options that it’s difficult to choose; but if it goes bad before you have the chance to take it home, it will have all been for nothing! We’ll introduce you to eleven Fukuoka souvenirs that have a somewhat longer shelf-life than the norm.
1. Menbei (Mentaiko Rice Crackers)
This collaboration between senbei and Hakata’s famous mentaiko (cod roe) has an addictively spicy flavor, and the crisp seafood cracker is perfect as something to munch on its own or as a beer snack.
2. Hakata Torimon
This creamy, flavorful Western-style manju is filled with red bean jam, and got its name from the Hakata Dontaku festival. Torimon refers to the costume-clad festival performers who play the shamisen, flute and taiko as they parade through the city.
3. Hakata Nakanaka
We recommend Hakata Nakanaka from Nakajima Shoten for tourists who can’t bring fresh mentaiko home. The mentaiko is dried through a unique process, and in addition to being a great snack to eat with alcohol, it can also be used as a topping for ochazuke, pasta, and salad.
4. Mentaiko-Flavored Snacks
Mentaiko snacks are the regional specialty snack of Fukuoka. Enjoy taste testing mentaiko Jagariko, Pretz, senbei, kaki-no-tane rice crackers and more.
5. Najima-Tei Ramen
Najima-Tei developed its flavor offerings by studying the noodles from Hakata Nagahama, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, and from Kurume, the holy land of ramen, before establishing itself as a business. The taste of Najima-Tei’s ramen is faithfully recreated in this package, so you can skip the line and you can enjoy the shop’s famous noodles in the comfort of your own home.
6. Niwaka Senbei
Hakata Niwaka has been long-beloved as Hakata folk entertainment, and Niwaka senbei are shaped like the half-masks worn by the performers. These popular egg-flavored crackers are crisp and flaky.
7. The Famous Hiyoko Cookies
It’s a common misconception that the Hiyoko sweets are a souvenir from Tokyo, but actually, it was first a manju (sweet bun) created by Yoshino-do in Fukuoka in 1912. The third-generation owner advanced the business into Tokyo, which is how it became a Tokyo souvenir. This sweet is made of a thin dough skin, wrapped around a heaping helping of egg custard. Be aware that Hiyoko has a shorter shelf life than other souvenir items, at only 15 days, so eat it before then.
This spread also contains Hakata mentaiko, and goes well on anything, like toast or salad.
Uma-kacchan, the tonkotsu-flavored instant ramen, is an essential item for any child from Fukuoka. The package contains Hakata’s famous karashi mustard greens and the rich umami of Kurume tonkotsu broth, for a Fukuoka flavor you can easily enjoy.
10. Tsukushi Mochi
Tsukushi mochi is sprinkled with kinako flour made from high-quality soybeans, and you can season them as you like with brown sugar syrup. Steam has been kneaded into the mochi dough, which is said to keep them soft even when cold. They are also individually wrapped in cute Hakata shibori cloths.
11. Fukuoka Sake
Sake, the alcoholic drink produced from rice, is another popular, traditional item produced in Fukuoka. At Hakata Hyakunengura, you can purchase several different varieties of sake straight from the source.
Non-food souvenirs are also quite popular, and one that we recommend are the textiles made in various parts of Fukuoka. To learn more about souvenirs in Fukuoka, take a look at 10 Popular Fukuoka Souvenirs You Can Get At The Airport!.
Shopping in Fukuoka
If you’re going to go shopping in Fukuoka, you should go to the Tenjin area.
Daimaru, with branches all over the country, has automatic foreign currency exchange machines that accept US dollars, British pounds, Chinese yuan, Korean won, Taiwanese dollars, Hong Kong dollars, Singaporean dollars, and Thai baht. You’ll be heartened by the fact that there are English, Chinese and Korean-speaking staff at the first floor information counter.
Within Canal City Hakata, an area with many types of shops, you will find a tax exemption counter, foreign currency exchange machines, and free wi-fi. If you show your passport at select stores, you can receive a 10% discount as well as other special privileges.
The easily-accessible Fukuoka PARCO is directly connected to Tenjin Station on the subway Airport Line, and has duty-free shopping and wi-fi services. Even Tenjin Core, which caters to a younger crowd, has duty-free shopping.
Hakata Hankyu inside JR Hakata Station has almost anything you could ask for, so we recommend it for people who don’t have time to spare or who don’t want to travel for shopping. This place also has duty-free services, international tourist counters, currency exchanges and free wi-fi. Finally, at the Tenjin underground shopping mall connected to the Tenjin subway station, some stores have duty-free services, and the mall is equipped with wi-fi, so you can enjoy shopping.
For more information about shopping spots, check out our Shopping In Fukuoka? Check Out Hakata's 6 Best Spots article.
Hotels in Fukuoka
As Kyushu’s biggest city, Fukuoka has plenty of hotels and other places to stay. Its most highly-rated hotels include the five-star Hotel Okura Fukuoka , the four-star Hotel Nikko Fukuoka, and With The Style Fukuoka by Hakata Station.
Despite being three stars, these hotels give off an air of luxury: Richmond Hotel Fukuoka Tenjin, Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel and Nishi-Tetsu Hotel Croom Hakata . A night’s stay at one of these places will cost from 9000 to 15,000 yen.
Three-star hotels we recommend which cost under 10,000 yen a night include the Hotel Accent Fukuoka in Tenjin, Hakata Green Hotel Tenjin and Hotel Sunline Fukuoka Ohori near Ohori Park.
For travelers looking for a more reasonable hotel stay, the guesthouses Fukuoka Hana Hostel Fukuoka Hanajuku and And Hostel are near Kushida Shrine. If you want to stay in a traditional Japanese inn, there is Kashima Honkan, two minutes from Gion Station on the subway Airport Line. For more information, check out our Stay at Kashima Honkan, a Ryokan in Downtown Fukuoka article.
Appearing unexpectedly in the middle of downtown, this temple building from the early 19th century was designated as a national cultural property, and contains a garden inside. While it is a two-star establishment, a night’s stay starts at only 4000 yen, and Canal City is only a ten-minute walk away.
An easily reserved and returnable by post Wi-Fi rental service. PUPURU>
Dining in Fukuoka
Fukuoka is a paradise for food lovers, with its famous mentaiko and Hakata ramen. Mentaiko was adapted from the Korean dish of pollack roe pickled in chili pepper, known as karashi mentaiko, and altered to fit Japanese tastes. It can be eaten straight, or lightly grilled before eating. You can even make your own custom mentaiko! Find out how here: Make Personalized Mentaiko (Fish Roe) At Hakuhaku in Fukuoka!
Hakata ramen is identifiable by its milky-white tonkotsu broth and thin noodles. In Fukuoka, customers can choose how hard they want their noodles, and there is a system called kaedama for customers to order noodle refills after their first small serving, since the noodles lose their springiness during the meal.
For more information, check out our Know Your Noodles - The Uniqueness of Hakata Ramen article.
Those wanting to try something very unique to Fukuoka should taste the zubora udon which is cooked in a kettle, at Hakata Akachokobe, near Kushida Shrine in Hakata. Read more about this delicious dish at Eat Udon Noodles From A Kettle? Zubora Udon At Hakata Akachokobe.
Fukuoka Tourist Information Centers
Fukuoka has several Tourist Information Centers to assist you if you need help.
Fukuoka City Tourist Information Center (Hakata Station General Tourist Information Center)
Hours: 8 AM to 9 PM
Address: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Hakata, Hakata Station, Chuo-gai 1-1
Languages spoken: English, Chinese, Korean
Kyushu Tourist Information Center Fukuoka (Tenjin)
Hours: 9:30 AM to 7 PM
Address: Fukuoka, Chuo, Tenjin 2-1-1, inside Lion Plaza
Languages spoken: English, Chinese, Korean
Fukuoka Airport International Tourist Information Center
Hours: 8 AM to 9 PM
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Aoki 739 Fukuoka Airport International Terminal 1F
Languages spoken: English, Chinese,, Korean
Acros Fukuoka Cultural Tourism Information Plaza
Hours: 10 AM to 6 PM
Address: Fukuoka, Chuo, Tenjin 1-1-1 Acros Fukuoka 2F
Hakata Port International Terminal General Information Center
Hours: 7:30 AM to 6 PM
Address: Fukuoka, Hakata, Okinohama-cho 14-1
Languages spoken: English, Korean
Dazaifu City Tourist Information Center (Dazaifu Tourism Association)
Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM
Address: Dazaifu City, Saifu 2-5-1
Other Useful Information For Your Trip
How much can you expect to spend on food while traveling in Japan? Figure out your budget before you set out on your journey.
For when you want to exchange foreign currency and yen, use bank exchange counters and Seven Eleven ATMs.
When you’re out of pocket money, look for any ATM with a Plus insignia to use cashing services with no hassle.
Here are some useful Japanese phrases you can use when you’re staying at a hotel.
To use the convenient free wi-fi services in Japan, download this app beforehand.
An easily reserved and returnable by post Wi-Fi rental service. PUPURU>
Main image courtesy of pixta