Introducing Japan: Fukuoka City
Dr. Soma Purkait
Fukuoka is Kyushu’s largest and Japan’s
seventh most populated city. It is the capital of
Fukuoka Prefecture. The city and its environs
are well connected by subway; it takes only 10
minutes to reach the center of the city’s Hakata
district from Fukuoka Airport, which has flights
to both domestic and international destinations.
With its friendly atmosphere and rich food
culture, Fukuoka ranks the 12th most livable city in Monocle’s 2015 Quality of Life Survey.
Many of the city’s best tourist attractions
are located in the Gion district, which is full
of historical temples and shrines, including
the Tocho-ji temple with its 10.8-meter Great
Buddha; Shofuku-ji temple, Japan’s first Zen
temple; and the 8th century Kushida Shrine, the
starting point for the famous float-pulling race
featured as part of the 700-year-old Hakata
Gion Yamakasa Festival. A short walk from
Gion takes one to the Kawabata shopping
arcade, Hakata’s oldest shopping street, which
connects to yet another attraction, Canal City
Hakata. Fukuoka city also has several nice
parks. For example, the Fukuoka Castle ruins
and Ohori-koen park are two of the best places
to view beautiful cherry blossoms.
Though not a typical tourist attraction, the
Itoshima area where Kyushu University’s Ito
campus (Japan’s largest campus) is situated
is a wonderful place surrounded by mountains,
rice fields and the seaside. It’s a place where
people enjoy several outdoor activities such as
hiking, camping, beach walking, and surfing.
You can also purchase fresh Itoshima fruits and
vegetables at the “Ito Sai Sai” marketplace, one
of Kyushu’s largest farmers’ market.
Another interesting spot in Fukuoka
Prefecture is Dazaifu city, located on the
outskirts of Fukuoka. The city also has several
beautiful temples and shrines, the most
famous of which is Tenmangu that enshrines
Sugawarano Michizane, the deity of education.
Having over 6,000 plum trees it is one of the
most popular spots for enjoying fragrant plum
blossoms during the period from late February
For eating, I recommend that you visit
city’s famous yatai food stalls in the Tenjin and
Nakasu areas where you can have Hakata
ramen, thin noodles in a thick, creamy tonkotsu
pork-bone soup. You can enjoy a teishoku lunch
containing fresh seafood and mentaiko spicy cod roe at a very reasonable price at Chikae
restaurant in Akasaka. Near the Ito campus,
I would recommend Pizzeria da Ciruzzo for a
great pizza bash.