No one really thinks about Fukuoka when planning a trip to Japan. Tokyo and Osaka are the usual suspects but after discovering what Fukuoka has to offer, plans for a return trip are definitely in the works.
Fukuoka is quite the bustling cosmopolitan city. It is also quite the spot for art museums, historical temples, as well as many outdoor activities and contemporary attractions.
In terms of cuisine, attention: ramen fans! Fukuoka is known as the ramen capital of Japan. They have the Ramen Stadium that offers different kinds of ramen as well as Ippudo in almost every corner. With regard to the famous Japanese meat, their steaks are from the Kyūshū region and deserve their place next to Wagyu and Matsusaka beef.
Here is a brief list of places to visit:
- Fukuoka castle or Maizuro castle
If you visit during cherry blossom season, this is a great viewing spot. The ruins of the castle and the surrounding grounds are wonderful to stroll around in. Unlike Osaka or Tokyo, the crowds are quite small so your picture taking opportunities are endless (not only in this area but around the whole city).
Maizuro park adjoins the castle’s grounds. Take a leisurely stroll and if you are lucky, you might catch an outdoor food festival.
- Ohori Park
In the middle of busy Fukuoka, Ohori Park is a wonderful refuge. The grounds are large, the pond is huge and the walking paths and benches lining the pond are perfect. There are swan rides available, a playground for kids, and a café on one side. One fun fact about the pond is that it used to be part of the moat of Fukuoka castle.
- Ohori Japanese garden
At one end of the park is a lovely Japanese garden that deserves its own mention. It is 3 acres of tranquility and beautifully arranged trees and greens. It has a water garden, a Zen garden, and a tea garden. It is hard to believe that just beyond the walls is a bustling city. Next to it is an art museum that has an eclectic collection of ancient and modern art.
- Kushida shrine
This rather small shrine is located in the heart of downtown Fukuoka next to a huge shopping mall. It makes up for its size with its interesting monuments and structures. You’ll see many locals dropping by and offering their prayers. This shrine is one of the oldest shrines in the whole of Japan so it is worth a visit.
- Marine World Uminonakamichi and Seaside Park
Whether or not you have kids, this is a great place to check out. The marine world was newly renovated last April and offers up close and personal meetings with penguins, dolphins, and other marine animals. The park is another charming place to stroll around and relax in while enjoying the outdoors.
Day trips outside Fukuoka
- Nokonoshima island park
This is an island that is filled with colorful flower fields (and even a tiny petting zoo and a couple of museums). Only a few minutes by ferry from the city center, it is a pleasant and relaxing day trip spent outdoors. The types of flowers on the island change depending on what season it is but you are certain to always have a pretty view with the ocean as the backdrop so make sure to get your camera ready.
- Huis Ten Bosch
A quirky theme park a train ride away from Fukuoka, Huis Ten Bosch looks as if it was transplanted straight from the Netherlands. It has canals, windmills, and tulip gardens. The architectural structures are quite interesting too. If you are a kid at heart or have kids, there are mirror mazes, horror houses, theme park rides like the ferris wheel, the carousel with 4D effects, and gondola boat rides, as well as shows to enjoy. There was even a Teddy Bear museum, a chocolate museum, and a trick eye museum.
Shopping malls to check out:
- Canal City Hakata shopping complex
- JR Hakata City shopping complex
- Tenjin Chikagai underground shopping complex that connects the major department stores in the area
There is more to see and do beyond our list. Fukuoka also has many seasonal festivals, holy temples, beaches and other day trip options, and even more shopping destinations. Be sure to let us know if you do visit. Don’t forget to tag your posts, #wherejuanagoes to be featured in our Instagram and Facebook pages too!