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Fukuoka

A lasting key point of exchange between Japan and the rest of Asia since ancient times - The cradle of culture in the Kyushu region
Fukuoka is situated in the northern extremity of Kyushu, Fukuoka facing Suho-nada (the Sea of Suho) to the northeast, Genkai-nada (the Sea of Genkai) to the northwest and Ariake-kai (the Sea of Ariake) to the Southwest. As the prefecture neighbors the Korean Peninsula to the continent of China with a strait in between, it was the first place to touch the continental culture in Japan. Ever since the Government-General of Kyushu was set up in the place known as Dazaifu in the 7th century, Fukuoka has grown as the hub of the Kyushu region.

At Dazaifu, the ancient capital of the Kyushu region that lasted for 500 years, is the Dazaifu Tenmangu, where about 200 kinds of red and white Japanese apricot trees amounting to 6000, about 40 kinds of irises as many as 30,000 pieces in total and other flowers of each season can be enjoyed. Being a shrine sacred to the god of learning, the Tenmangu is visited by many people, students seeking luck in their entrance examinations mostly, all the year round. Also, the prefecture has the Senbutsu Shonyudo, a limestone cavern with beautiful stalagmite and stone pillars known for the discovery of fossil remains of Naumann elements, and other places of natural beauty. In addition, there are theme parks worth visiting, such as the Space World showing what is envisioned as near-futuristic cities in space and on earth.


The city of Fukuoka, also known by another name Hakata, is not only the center of administration and economy in the Kyushu region but a terminal at which air routes and railroads converge. There, Hakata Dontaku, a gay port festival that is staged every spring, is a spectacle. Highlighted with a parade of children, men and women in fancy costume and on decorated vehicles and posture-dancing people through the streets, this event draws more than 300 groups and about 25,000 citizens, plus more than 2 million spectators.

Getting there
An hour and 45 minutes to Fukuoka Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; 1 hour and 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport . Five minutes to Hakata Station from Fukuoka Airport by subway. Four hours and 50 minutes to Hakata Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Two hours and 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line.
 

  • Hakata
    Important points for traffic and sightseeingBusiness center of Fukuoka City
    Hakata is a district located in Hakata-ku of Fukuoka City, east of the Naka-gawa River, and is one of the central areas of Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu. Fukuoka City is a town which has developed on both sides of the Naka-gawa River, since Nagamasa Kuroda, a general of the samurai army in the17th century, constructed the Fukuoka Castle there. The eastern side of the river has developed as Hakata, a town of merchants, while the western side as Fukuoka, a castle town. Recently with lots of tourists from Asian countries coming, the city has also become an international city.

    Around Hakata Station, lots of office buildings are rising, and restaurants and hotels are standing close together. After Canal City, a large-scale compound institution, was constructed, the city has become vitalized as a commercial town again. That the restaurants are clustering together, which provide most delicious dishes at lowest price you can have only in Hakata, is a characteristic of this area, and young and old flock here together.

    In Kushida-jinja Shrine, the tall Kazari-Yamagasa, a luxiously decorated float is always displayed. The float is constructed without using even a single nail. It is used in the summer festival, "Hakata-Gion-Yamagasa." The Oi-Yamagasa, in which one ton of the float is raced through the streets of Hakata on the shoulders of 26 people, is held in July every year, and its brave dynamism attracts lots of spectators.

    Getting there
    Fukuoka Airport is1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, by plane. Hakata Station is 5 minutes from Fukuoka Airport by the subway. Hakata station is 4 hours 50 minutes from Tokyo station by the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 2 hours 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station.

     

  • Nakasu and Tenjin
    Nakasu, the busiest street in Kyushu - Tenjin, the cradle of top fashion
    Nakasu is the busiest street in Kyushu, located in the eastern part of Fukuoka City, and between the Nakagawa River and the Hakata River. About 3,500 restaurants standing close together in Nakasu, street stalls lined along the Nakagawa River, and large-scale shopping centers such as Hakata Riverain, cooperate with each other to produce the din and bustle of the amusement district.

    Tenjin is a gorgeous area, with the office streets being in harmony with the shopping streets. Large department stores, boutiques, and composite multi-function buildings concentrate there. Fashionable coffee shops, restaurants and everyday goods stores have been opening one after another.

    In the evening, from Haruyoshi-bashi in Nakasu to Daimaru Department store, or along Showa Street, the street stalls which are the feature of this district, stand side by side to serve variety of dishes such as Chinese noodles, oden, tacos, and pizzas to you in a casual manner. Young or old, men or women, whoever sitting next to you are your friends. Such an atmosphere is enjoyment at stalls.

    Getting there
    Fukuoka Airport is 1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, by plane. Hakata Station is 5 minutes from Fukuoka Airport by subway. Hakata Station is 4 hours 50 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 2 hours 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station. Gion Station is 2 minutes, and Tenjin Station is 6 minutes each from Hakata Station by subway.

     

  • Kashii and Shikanoshima Island
    Nakamichi which extends drawing an arch, and the island at the top of the arch The site where the golden block seal of a national treasure was lying
    Shikanoshima is an island, located at the end of the spit, Umino-Nakamichi, extending long and narrow between the Sea of Genkai and Hakata Bay. The island is known as the spot where the golden block seal (stamp), a national treasure, was excavated. It is about 11 kilometers around and connected with Umino-Nakamichi by a bridge.

    On the hill commanding the whole view of Hakata Bay, is a spot where two farmers found the golden seal, which is now laid out as Kin-in (golden block seal) Park. It is said that about 2000 years ago, Kobu Emperor of Go-kan, a country in ancient China, granted an envoy from Japan, a golden block seal, on which words "Kanno-Wano-Nano-Kokuo", (King of Japan, Chinese colony) were engraved. It can be seen in the Fukuoka City Museum.

    At highest spot in Shikanoshima Island, 176 meters above sea level, is Shiomi Park, and from the observation platform there, you can get a fine view of Hakata Bay, the Sea of Genkai, and at night of lights and illumination of Bay Side Place at Hakata Bay, Fukuoka Dome, and Fukuoka Tower. You can also get a view there in summer of squid fishing boats drifting on the waves with a fire lit on it to lure squids.

    In Kashii, in the northeastern part of Fukuoka City, is Kashii-gu Shrine, whose main shrine is marvelously colored red. In Kashii-en Flower Garden which extends over the vast site of 100,000 square meters, facing Hakata Bay, you can enjoy the sights of flowers in four seasons.

    Getting there
    Fukuoka Airport is 1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Hakata Station is 5 minutes from Fukuoka Airport by subway. Hakata Station is 4 hours 50 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line, and 2 hours 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station. Saitozaki Station is 25 minutes from Hakata Station by the JR Kagoshima Honsen and Kashii Line.

     

  • Chikugo-gawa Hot Spring
    Radium Spa Popular Among Spa-visitorsCormorant Fishing Masters Wearing Black "Kazaori Eboshi" (Cap) and Straw Skirt
    The Chikugo-gawa Hot Spring in a southwestern part of Fukuoka is situated near a mid-stream section of Chikugo-gawa River which runs through the Chikushi Plain and pours into the Ariake Sea. The spa together with the Minou mountainous region and the primeval box tree forests of Mt. Kosho belongs to Chikugo-gawa River Prefectural Nature Park.

    The Chikugo-gawa Hot Spring opened in 1955 is a new hot spring resort. Its hot water containing radium, a rarity in Japan, is reportedly helpful in curing neuralgia and rheumatoid diseases and attracts many spa-visitors - some of them from far away off.

    Many inns at this spa resort own Japanese-style houseboats available for reservation for a cruise on Chikugo-gawa River. From spring to autumn, the traditional cormorant fishing which dates 1,200 years back is performed on this river. Masters wearing a traditional black fold-back cap called "Kazaori Eboshi" and a straw skirt aboard a boat lit with torches keep a few fish-catching cormorants under their skillful control. People on hired houseboats watch cormorants catch a sweetfish under the light of torches, which is reflected in the water. The cormorant fishing is performed in those parts of the river near the Harazuru Hot Spring and the Yoshii Hot Spring. Another spectacle is the grand Chikugo-gawa River Fireworks Display held in August every year.

    Getting there
    An hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. An hour 15 Minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Five minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station. Four hours 50 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station by train on the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Two hours 20 minutes from Shin Osaka Station. Thirty minutes from Hakata Station to Kurume Station by a Limited Express on the JR Honsen Kagoshima Line. An hour 20 minutes by bus from Kurume Station to Chikugo-gawa Eigyosyo bus stop.

     

  • Dazaifu
    City Famous for Shrine Dedicated to Great ScholarSeat of Regional Government Approximately 1,300 Years Ago
    Approximately 1,300 years ago, Dazaifu, the regional government for entire Kyushu, was situated in present-day Dazaifu positioned in a central part of Fukuoka Prefecture. Dazaifu, together with Mt. Homan and Mt. Sangun behind the city belongs to Dazaifu Prefectural Natural Park. The city abounds in historical sites reminiscent of the prosperity of Dazaifu in the old days. It is now a tourist spot representative of Fukuoka.

    The Dazaifu-tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to a great scholar in the olden days, Sugawara Michizane(845-903). When the entrance examination season comes around, applicants for entrance examinations and students wishing for a good academic achievement from all parts of Japan visit the shrine and pray before the altar. The approach to the shrine is lined with teahouses offering Umegaemochi, a local-specialty rice-cake which is believed to keep away illness. The shrine is famous for its "ume" (plum) trees. "Tobiume" trees which, according to a legend, followed Michizane Sugawara to Dazaifu from Kyoto, come into bloom before the other plum trees every year. Homotsu-den, a treasure house containing cultural properties of national treasure rank is located on the premises.

    One hundred ceremonies are conducted at the shrine each year. These ceremonies include "Onisube", "Usokae" and "Jinkoshiki Taisai", which is the most important ceremony at this shrine. The "Onobori" ceremony was designated as a National Intangible Properties.

    Getting there
    An hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. An hour 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Five minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station. Four hours 50 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station on the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Two hours 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station. Thirty minutes from Hakata Station to Tenjin Station on a subway and from Nishitetsu-Fukuoka Station to Dazaifu Station.

     

  • Kita-kyushu
    Retrospective District of Moji Port With Old Grand BuildingsA simulated adventurous space trip of NASA
    Kita-kyushu, located in a northern part of Fukuoka, is the doorway to Kyshu, opposite to Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi across the Kanmon Strait. While it has developed into the largest heavy-industry city in Kyushu, Kita-kyushu has many scenic spots such as the Kanmon Strait, Kanmon-kyo Bridge and Hiraodai noted for its Sembutsu Limestone Cave, a Natural Monument.

    In the early 20th century, Moji was prosperous as the doorway for trade with Mainland China. Old Western-style buildings reminiscent of the prosperity in those days, after repair and restoration, are all present in the retrospective district of the city. Shops, restaurants, art museums and others have been opened there to turn the district into a tourist spot representative of Fukuoka. The Space World, a theme park specializing in space, offers attractions featuring a simulated adventurous space trip and provides opportunities for training similar to the one given to NASA astronauts.

    In 1998, Kokura Station was renovated into a multi-purpose station. The Kita-kyushu Media Dome with many multimedia attractions and other new places of interest have been constructed while the Tanka-ichiba Market and the eating places in Torimachi are still crowded as in the past and Kokura Castle with a long history and a distinctive character, etc. are retained. Thus things new is coexistent with things old, making the city very attractive.

    Getting there
    An hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. An hour15 Minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. An hour 25 minutes by bus from Fukuoka Airport to Kokura Station. Four hours 32 minutes from Tokyo Station to Kokura Station by train on the JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Two hours from Shin Osaka Station.

     

  • Kurume
    Castle Town With Suitengu Shrine Dedicated to God for Easy Birth - Textiles Town Dating Back to 18th Century
    Kurume, in a southwestern part of Fukuoka, lies in the Chikushi Plain surrounded by the Minou mountain range, with Chikugo-gawa River running through the plain. There are many old temples and shrines including Suitengu shrine dedicated to the God of Water and the God for Easy Birth worshiped by the public and the Bairin-ji Temple noted for its plum trees.

    Kurume is well known for its Kurume Gasuri, a fabric with splashed patterns, which is an Important National Intangible Properties and a Traditional Craft Product. Kurume Gasuri is a cotton fabric with white splashed patterns on the dark blue background. It is believed that Kurume Gasuri was originated in the latter part of the 18th century. It was warmly accepted throughout Japan as the material for casual working clothes for the common people. Rantai lacquer ware is also a product indigenous to Kurume. This is traditional bamboo ware woven from bamboo grown in the area and coated repeatedly with lacquer. The bamboo ware is available in about 1,000 varieties ranging from chopsticks to chairs. Tourists can inspect the production process for each of these items.

    The Kurume azalea, which is the flower of the city, is adored by people in Japan and overseas. Kurume azalea in Kurume Forest Tsutsuji Park, World Azalea Center of Kurume and other spots in the city are in bloom from late April to mid-May.

    Getting there
    An hour and 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. An hour and 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Five minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station. Four hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station by train on the JR Tokaido- Sanyo Shinkansen and Shinkansen Line. Two hours and 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka. Thirty-five minutes from Hakata Station to Kurume Station by a Rapid Train on the JR Main Kagoshima Line.

     

  • Waterfront
    The Fukuoka tower covered with 8000 pieces of half-reflecting mirror.A gigantic aquarium keeping some 1200 fishes.
    The Waterfront is located alongside Hakata Bay, extending between the Chikkou ramp way and the Momochi ramp way of the Toshi Expressway. The site is an amusement theme park filled with futuristic architecture, which is divided into several zones such as the Seaside Momochi, the Hawks Town, the Bayside Place Hakata Pier.

    At the Seaside Momochi, a futuristic city space zone, the 234 m tall Fukuoka Tower is covered with 8000 pieces of half-reflecting mirror, illuminated in all kinds of colors depending on the season. There is a coffee shop atop the tower overlooking the city of Fukuoka and Hakata Bay. You can enjoy a 360 degree, panoramic view from the tea room. The Hawks Town, centered around the swivel-roofed all-weather ball park, is basically catering facilities for visitors' convenience.

    A variety of shops, elegant restaurants serving Japanese, European or Chinese cuisine and cozy cafeterias are lined up side by side for your selection. The Bayside Place Hakata Pier is the marine terminal for the regular service ferries for Tsushima island, and also for chartered cruise boats. Inside the fashionable terminal building are many restaurants and boutiques and, above all, the gigantic 8 m tall "Aquarium", which keeps some 1200 fishes, attracts the attention of the visitors. In the evening, a bayside show takes place, using fountains and laser beams. Visitors from every corner of the country never miss it.

    Getting there
    An hour 45 minutes flight from Tokyo Haneda Airport or 1 hour 15 minutes flight from Osaka Itami Airport to Fukuoka Airport, then 17 minutes from Fukuoka Airport to Tojinmachi Station and 19 minutes to Nishijin Station, both by subway. Four hours 50 minutes ride from Tokyo Station and 2 hours 20 minutes ride from Shin-Osaka Station to Hakata Station by JR Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen Line, then 11 minutes from Fukuoka Station to Tojinmachi Station, or 13 minutes to Nishijin Station, both by subway.

     

  • Yanagawa
    Riverside District Near Mouth of Chikugo-gawa River - Old Town Scenes Viewed from "Donko" Boat on Downstream Cruise
    Yanagawa in a southwestern part of Fukuoka lies in the riverside district near the mouth of Chikugo-gawa River pouring into the Ariake Sea. Cruise on a poled boat called "Donko" down the river is the chief attraction of this old castle town. The boat goes through the canal around the old Yanagawa Castle, in which willow trees on its banks are reflected. As the boat slowly goes downstream, the passengers can enjoy a view of red brick warehouses of the early 20th century and traditional Japanese-style storehouses with "Namako" walls. The cruise takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes. The boatman's masterly use of his pole is a sight to see. He addresses to the passengers from time to time, making a brief explanation of every notable sight on the way. The boat service is available all the year round. Blue flags, irises, cosmoses or other flowers of the season please the eyes of the passengers. In winter, braziers called "hibachi" are placed on the boat. The passengers can warm their hands over them.

    Boats for clam-digging or sightseeing are put in service on the Ariake Sea. Boats for clam-digging are in service from early spring to early autumn. These boats go 2 to 4 km offshore. After the tide ebbs, the passenger get down to the tideland and dig out "asari" clams and ark shells. Sightseeing boats are in daily service, going on a cruise for approximately 3 hours at high tide. All these rely on the nature's resources in the Ariake Sea.

    Getting there
    An hour and 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport. An hour and 15 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. Five minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Station. Four hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station by train on the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Two hours and 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station. Forty-eight minutes from Hakata Station to Tenjin Subway Station, to Fukuoka Station of the Nishitetsu Railway Limited Express and then to Yanagawa Station.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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