Japan is one of the most brilliant tourist destinations in the world with Fukuoka being the ultimate portrayal of its elegance. This coastal city is the capital of the larger Fukuoka Prefecture and the biggest one on the island of Kyushu; it also serves as the cultural, economic, and administrative center of Kyushu. Although Fukuoka is very modern and quite possibly the most progressing city in Japan, it has a rich historic and cultural heritage that’s filled with many fascinating tales. If you’ve never been to Japan before, this is probably the best place to start your adventure; the city is dotted with both contemporary and historic attractions that are sure to excite visitors of all tastes.
Another admirable aspect of Fukuoka is how connected it is to other parts of the world. You can fly to Fukuoka from numerous capitals of the world using Cathay Pacific, which makes traveling very convenient. What’s more, despite being pretty huge, it’s quite easy to get around in Fukuoka thanks to its state-of-the-art subway system that runs throughout the city. This enables tourists to visit as many attractions as they can in a short period, which is very convenient if you have limited time.
A Guide to Exploring Fukuoka for First-Time Visitors
For those who’re visiting Fukuoka for the first time, there’s no denying that it’s quite easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the numerous attractions it has. Even so, here’s a useful guide for every novice visitor who’s planning a trip to Fukuoka.
Explore the Numerous Japanese Shrines
There are numerous shrines in Fukuoka that showcase the cultural heritage of the locals. For instance, Kushida-Jinja Shrine is the oldest and arguably the most popular Shinto shrine in Fukuoka. It was built in AD 757 and is mostly famous for hosting the Hakata Gion Yamakasa every year. Another shrine that’s worth visiting is the Sumiyoshi shrine; unlike most of its counterparts, this shrine wasn’t built in the traditional Buddhist style which is unusual for such types of buildings. Other noteworthy shrines include the Tochoji Shrine that houses the largest wooden statue in Japan and the Dazaifu Tenman-gū Shrine which covers a total area of 3,000 acres.
Enjoy a Stupendous Day at Ōhori Park
Despite having an array of contemporary amenities and a generally modern demeanor, Fukuoka also has lots of public parks that are filled with lush greenery. Perhaps one of the most popular parks is the Ōhori Park that’s conveniently located a stone throw away from the city center. The park consists of a large pond that used to be the moat surrounding Fukuoka Castle, a trail that surrounds the pond, and a Japanese garden among other fascinating features. There are a number of fun activities that are suitable for the whole family including cycling, jogging, and birdwatching. The large pond also has islands that are connected using various bridges where you can relax and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
Visit the Tenjin Underground Shopping Center
Whether you like going out on shopping sprees or looking for a great place to find the perfect souvenir, this complex is sure to tickle your fancy. The shopping heaven stretches for a whole kilometer and consists of more than 200 outlets that sell all sorts of products including fashion items, cosmetics, and food. Moreover, Tenjin Underground Shopping Center is connected to Tenjin-Minami and Tenjin subway stations, making it quite accessible from other subway stations. The fact that this remarkable shopping center is underground makes it possible for people to shop for their favorite items even during extreme weather conditions. Additionally, the natural light that’s drawn from the surface helps in reducing the claustrophobic feeling that may arise from being underground.
Excite Your Taste Buds at a Yatai
There’s no denying that one of the best ways to explore the local culture of a particular place is by trying the local cuisines. In Fukuoka, the best place to do this would be at the various food stalls commonly referred to as a yatai. These outstanding food establishments serve some of the best signature dishes from Fukuoka and are quite popular among both tourists and locals. Some of the delicacies you can expect to find at such stalls include yakitori, ramen, and oden. Even so, there are several yatais that serve cuisines from numerous other countries such as Italy and France.
It’s very easy to be intimidated when visiting Fukuoka for the first time; the numerous streets and the large crowds of people may be a lot to take in at first. Still, utilizing the knowledge presented above can help you make the most out of your first trip to this magical place.