15 Things to Do in Fukuoka, Japan | Fukuoka Guide & Map

福岡 • 日本
Fukuoka Guide + Map

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こんにちは (Konnichiwa)!

Fukuoka is largest city on the island of Kyushu and fifth largest city in Japan. The modern city of Fukuoka was formed in 1889 when Fukuoka and Hakata, separated by the Naka River, were merged. In name, not physically. Although Fukuoka is the official name, Hakata is the name of the central ward in Fukuoka and still widely used. 

Hakata was once a vital western trade port for Japan due to its proximity to mainland Asia, specifically China and South Korea. Today, Fukuoka is a popular destination for visitors from Asia. Did you know Fukuoka is closer to Seoul than Tokyo? You can even take an overnight ferry from Fukuoka to Busan, South Korea!

There are plenty of things to do in Fukuoka that make the city worth visiting. If you’re visiting Fukuoka, stay in the Hakata area and close to Hakata Station, Fukuoka’s main transit station. We stayed at the Canal City Fukuoka Washington Hotel during our time in Fukuoka which was just a 10 minute walk from Hakata Station. Being close to public transportation will allow you to make the most of your time in Fukuoka. 

Related: Useful Japanese Phrases for Travelers

1. Eat tonkotsu ramen where it all began

Vending machine to buy your meal ticket in Japan, very common

Vending machine to buy your meal ticket in Japan, very common

Fukuoka is the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen, or Hakata ramen as locals call it. Tonkotsu means pork bones in Japanese, which makes up the soup base for this ramen dish. Other notable characteristics of tonkotsu ramen include firm noodles and pork belly as a topping. Popular Japanese ramen chains such as Ichiran and Ippudo, known for their tonkotsu ramen, originated in Fukuoka. Eating tonkotsu ramen is an essential thing to do in Fukuoka, consider it a rite of passage. 

2. Get a free view of Fukuoka from JR Hakata City

JR Hakata City is the building that houses Hakata Station. Fukuoka Airport (FUK) just a 5 minute train ride away from Hakata Station, making it easily accessible for visitors. Chances are you’ll arrive at Hakata Station or pass by at lease once. Instead of passing through Hakata Station, stay a while. JR Hakata City has an urban garden on its rooftop that offers a free panoramic view of Fukuoka as well as a shrine dedicated to trains. Great place to catch the sunset in Fukuoka!

1-1 Hakataekichuogai, Hakata, Fukuoka 812-0012, Japan
Hours: Open daily 10AM - 11PM
Cost: FREE 

3. Check out Canal City Hakata 

Canal City Hakata is one of Fukuoka’s largest shopping and entertainment complexes. Built to resemble a canal, this complex offers plenty of things to do in Fukuoka within itself. Often considered a city within a city, you can stay, shop, and dine here during your time in Fukuoka like we did when we stayed at the Canal City Fukuoka Washington Hotel which is part of Canal City Hakata. Visit at night to view one of the amazing fountain shows! 

1-2 Sumiyoshi, Hakata, Fukuoka 812-0018, Japan
Hours: Open daily 10AM - 9PM

4. Visit the oldest shrine in Fukuoka

Kushida Shrine is an ancient shinto shrine that dates back to 757, making it the oldest shrine in Fukuoka. The shrine is home to Yamakasa Gion Matsuri, the biggest festival in Fukuoka, which also makes Kushida Shrine the most important shrine in Fukuoka. The grounds are small but every corner is packed, including a giant float used during the festival and a 1,000 year old gingko tree, making Kushida Shrine a must see in Fukuoka. 

1-41 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata, Fukuoka 812-0026, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours
Cost: FREE

5. Buy mentaiko at Yanagibashirengo Market

Often called the kitchen of Hakata, Yanagibashirengo Market is an early morning market in Fukuoka that sells fresh seafood and produce. This market is loved by both locals and visitors. Though a bit small in size, Yanagibashirengo Market is known for its quality over quantity. It’s a great place for breakfast in Fukuoka with plenty of local snacks to try and the perfect place to pick up mentaiko or pollock roe, a specialty of Fukuoka. 

1-5-1 Haruyoshi, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0003, Japan
Hours: Open daily 8AM - 6PM, closed Sunday

6. Enjoy one of Japan’s most beautiful parks

Ohori Park is centered around a large pond which used to be part of the moat system of Fukuoka Castle, ohori translates to moat in Japanese. The park is one of the most beautiful parks in Japan and registered as an official Place of Scenic Beauty. It’s the perfect place to picnic in Fukuoka or exercise if you want to take advantage of the large walking path around the circumference of the pond. Ohori Park also has its own Japanese Garden (¥240 / adult) and is home to the Fukuoka Art Museum, currently closed until March 2019 for renovations. 

1-2 Ohorikoen, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0051, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours
Cost: FREE

7. Visit the Fukuoka Castle ruins 

Fukuoka Castle was once the largest castle in Kyushu, but was destroyed during the Meiji Period. Only the base and a few turrets of Fukuoka Castle remain, providing tourists with great vantage points of Fukuoka. The ruins of Fukuoka Castle sit in Maizuru Park, home to an abundance of cherry blossom trees which makes it a popular spot for hanami, or flower viewing in the springtime. 

Jonai, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0043, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours
Cost: FREE

8. Check out Fukuoka’s waterfront park

Momochi Seaside Park is Fukuoka’s waterfront park with a manmade beach and popular attractions such as Fukuoka Tower, Robosquare, and Fukuoka City Museum nearby. Convenient beach close to Fukuoka with plenty of things to do in the surrounding area, Momochi Seaside Park a great place for families and all visiting Fukuoka. 

2-4 Momochihama, Sawara, Fukuoka 814-0001, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours

9. Shop all day in Tenjin

Tenjin is the central area of downtown Fukuoka. Centered around Tenjin Station is a network of above and underground shopping streets and complexes. Be sure to check out the Tenjin Underground Mall and Tenjin CORE when you’re in the area!

Tenjin, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0001, Japan
Hours: Open daily 5:30AM - 12:30AM

10. Relax for a bit in Kego Park

Kego Park is the perfect place to relax for a bit after shopping in Tenjin. This urban space is surrounding by the buildings of Tenjin and offers a modest shinto shrine, Kego Shrine

2 Tenjin, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0001, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours

11. Immerse yourself in ACROS Fukuoka

The ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is a more than just a center for the exchange of international and cultural information, it’s a work of art. The building has a spectacular step-shaped roof top garden that’ll leave you speechless and is home to the Fukuoka Symphony Hall, International Conference Hall and a cultural information center.  

1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0001, Japan
Hours: Open daily 8AM - 10PM

12. Take a stroll in Tenjin Central Park

Located next to ACROS Fukuoka and bordering the Naka River is Tenjin Central Park. The park offers a nice green space in Fukuoka and is perfect for picnics or just a stroll. The rows of cherry blossoms trees next to the river makes Tenjin Central Park a great place for hanami in the springtime. 

1 Tenjin, Chuo, Fukuoka 810-0001, Japan
Hours: Open 24 hours

13. Eat at a yatai food stall

Fukuoka is known for its yatai food stalls that line the Naka River late at night. These makeshift dining establishments offer some serious street food and provide a great atmosphere to meet locals and grab a few drinks. The stalls are tiny and don’t allow for much seating so be prepared to go early or wait!

14. Check out Fukuoka’s Red Light District

Nakasu is Fukuoka’s red light district nestled between the Naka River and Hakata River, next to Tenjin. The area is a shabbier part of Fukuoka but offers a great nightlife scene with plenty of dining and entertainment options. You can find numerous yatai food stalls in Nakasu area next to the Naka River. 

15. Go flower viewing at Uminonakamichi Park

Uminonakamichi Park is away from the Fukuoka city center, but worth visiting if you love nature. This extensive park is home to millions of flowers, offering blooms year round for seasonal flower festivals. You can easily spend a day here taking it all in, the park offers a very family friendly thing to do in Fukuoka. Just a short walk from Uminonakamichi Park is Marine World Uminonakamichi (¥2160 / adult), an aquarium that focuses on Kyushu’s aquatic life. 

18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi, Fukuoka 811-0321, Japan
Hours: Open daily 9:30AM - 5:30PM
Cost: ¥410 / adult

Do you need a place to stay in Fukuoka?

We had an amazing time in Fukuoka and it was partly thanks to where we stayed in Fukuoka, the Canal City Fukuoka Washington Hotel. This hotel is conveniently part of Canal City Hakata, offering an incredible amount of things to do, see, and eat in Fukuoka right at our fingertips. With Hataka Station just 10 minutes away and the Nakasu and Tenjin areas across the Naka River from the hotel, staying here allowed for easy access for many of Fukuoka's attractions! If you're looking for a fun and convenient place to stay in Fukuoka, we recommend the Canal City Fukuoka Washington Hotel.

1-2-20 Sumiyoshi, Hakata, Fukuoka 812-0018, Japan
Check in: 2PM
Check out: 11AM
Phone number: +81 92-282-8800
For more information, visit the official website.  

Check out our full review of the Canal City Fukuoka Washington Hotel

Map of Things to Do in Fukuoka

Which of these things would you do in Fukuoka?  

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