12 Must-See Enchanting Nightscapes in Kitakyushu and Fukuoka
This article introduces recommended spots for night views not to be missed in Fukuoka. It may not be that well known that there are many wonderful spots for night views in Fukuoka, especially around Kitakyushu City and Fukuoka City. The nightscapes that can be seen in Fukuoka have a different appeal from those in Tokyo. Be sure to enjoy the nightscapes of Fukuoka, famous for Hakata Ramen and Dazaifu.
Aug 28 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Fukuoka Tower
The 234-meter-high Fukuoka Tower is an iconic building in the seaside area of Fukuoka. There are three observatories in the tower: Observation decks on the 3rd and 5th observation floors and a restaurant on the 4th observation floor. The most recommended spot for night views is the observation deck on the 5th floor, which affords a beautiful view of the city of Fukuoka and Hakata Bay from 123 meters high. The 3rd floor is referred to as "lover's sanctuary" and is recommended for couples.
If you want to enjoy a meal with the night view, go to the Sky Lounge Refuge restaurant on the 4th floor. There is a wide menu selection, such as spaghetti with the Hakata specialty of mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and beef curry. There is also a party plan, which is great for dinner parties. What a treat to have a dinner party with such a stunning view!
2. Hakata Port Tower
Hakata Port Tower is a great spot for night views near the Fukuoka Urban Expressway Circular Route. Its observation deck is at a height of 70 meters, which may not seem that high, but the night view from it of the Urban Expressway and of Fukuoka City in general is beautiful. A surprising feature of this observation deck is that it is free to access, which is rare anywhere in Japan, so this is the place to go if you want to enjoy a night view on the cheap.
One point to note is that the windows of the observation deck have mesh in them, so they are not amenable for taking photographs. This deck is better suited for enjoying the views with your eyes, and storing them in the photo album of your memory. If you must take a photograph, put your camera right against the window so that the mesh is not included. If you want to look afar, use the telescopes on the deck.
3. Atago Shrine
Atago Shrine is a Shinto shrine on a small hill that is 60 meters high. It is known as a shrine dedicated to the fire deity, Kagutsuchi, and from the top, there is a view of Fukuoka Tower that is lit up at night. There are lights on the shrine grounds so it is not dark at night and you need not take a flashlight with you. The shrine is also famous for its cherry blossoms, and in the spring, there is a beautiful view of the cherry blossoms at night.
You can also enjoy the night view from your car in the parking lot of Atago Shrine. It is not as pretty as from the top of the hill, but it is perfect for enjoying a bite in the car with the night view. To get there, exit Fukuoka City Expressway at Atago and go through Marina Dori. Turn left in front of Healthcare Sawara and go up the mountain road to the parking lot.
4. Mt. Abura
Not to be missed among the many spots for night views in Fukuoka City is Mt. Abura. It is about 600 meters high and there is a panoramic view of Fukuoka City from Katae Observation Deck, famous for its night views. The view from Katae Observation Deck is known for the lights that seem to cover the city like a white carpet. It is just about 15 minutes by car from Fukuoka City and is crowded with tourists.
There are many spots on Mt. Abura to supplement the night view with a meal. One is the hot dog stand near the parking lot—a great place to purchase a freshly warmed hot dog to relax and enjoy the night view with. There are also restaurants with views such as Ajiya Kobo Jin. Why not savor the night view together with the great flavors that the restaurant has to offer?
5. Minami Park
Minami Park is located in Chuo Ward in Fukuoka City. During the day, it is crowded with people visiting the zoo, but in the evening, when the zoo closes, the Nishi Observation Deck takes center stage. There are usually not that many people there, but it is a great spot to see the night view of the center of Fukuoka City and Fukuoka Tower. It may not be famous, but it is great for those who want to have the night view of Fukuoka to themselves.
The parking lot at Minami Park closes in the evening so you will not be able to park there at night. If you are going by car, you can park in a nearby parking lot, but it is inconvenient so it is recommended to get there by subway. Take the subway Nanakuma Line to Sakurazaka Station then take the No. 7 exit to Sakurazaka Yamate Dori. The park itself is open all day, so you can visit whenever you like.
6. Mt. Komeno
Mt. Komeno is a mountain away from the city of Fukuoka with a beautiful panoramic view of the city at its peak, which is at an altitude of about 600 meters. At the top, there is a lawn area where you can sit and enjoy the night view. If you really want to relax, lay on the grass and look at the stars. It is not easy to get to, but the view is so fantastic you'll forget about the effort of getting there.
The best thing about the night view at Mt. Komeno is that you can "see a night view at an altitude of 600 meters from the car". It is one of the top spots in the country to see a night view from the comfort of your car. At Mt. Komeno, you can have a fantastic view that is comparable to that of Mt. Sarakura all to yourself. It can get crowded at the weekend, so if you want to park your car, try to get there during the week.
7. Mt. Sarakura
Mt. Sarakura is the No. 1 spot for night views in Fukuoka and is not to be missed. It is a mountain in the center of Kitakyushu City and is attracting attention as one of the New Three Major Night Views of Japan. The night view from the observation deck at the apex is so vast, you can see the whole of Kitakyushu. You'll be floored by the impressive night view that is hard to believe is Fukuoka. Take the Slope Car to get to the observation deck.
The slope car is meant to get you to the observation deck of Mt. Sarakura, but the view from it is just as fantastic as from the observation deck. It is so beautiful, the car is often referred to as "the moving observation deck". The slope car runs at night on weekends and during special periods, so take a ride on it during the weekend and enjoy the majestic panorama of Kitakyushu City.
8. Mojiko Retro Observation Room
Mojiko is a port that flourished as a key port during the Meiji Period. Today, it has a retro feel to it and has a wonderful spot for night views called Mojiko Retro Observation Room, which costs 300 JPY to enter. The appeal is the view of the port and Kanmon Bridge from a height of 103 meters. What a fun experience to enjoy a view of this retro port from an observation room!
There is much more to the observation room, such as a cafe. Airs Cafe is a place to enjoy the same nightscape as the observation room where you can relax with a cup of coffee. It is open till 9:00 pm, so perfect for taking in the night view. There is also an event called Tenku Jazz—the perfect opportunity for music lovers to enjoy jazz with the beautiful night view in the background.
9. Mt. Kazashi
Mt. Kazashi, known as a hidden gem of Kitakyushu City, has different night views from the peak and from the parking lot. The peak has a view of Kanmon Straits, but the walk from the parking lot there is dark and is about a kilometer long. If you want to go to the peak, be sure to research directions in advance and take a flashlight with you.
While the view from the parking lot isn't as expansive as from the peak, you can still see a stunning night view that comprises Shimonoseki and Mojiko. You can even see the view from safely inside your car, but there are lots of trees, so it might be better to leave your car and try to see from a position a bit higher up.
10. Mekari Park
Mekari Park is located at the tip of Kitakyushu. It is famous for the view of Kanmon Bridge when it is lit up at night, and there are also murals of the Battle of Dan-no-ura. The Second Observation Deck in this park is highly recommended for the night views. The sight of Kanmon Bridge at night is one of the most beautiful views of Japan, rivaling that from Mt. Sarakura. In addition to the Second Observation Deck, the Observation Plaza is also popular as a hidden gem. The bridge is lit up at different times depending on the season.
If going to Mekari Park by car, leave the car in the parking lot inside the park. Take the expressway that goes through Kanmon Bridge and exit at the Mojiko Interchange. It takes about 13 minutes from the Interchange to the park. If going by public transportation, take a bus that leaves from Mojiko Station. *Access is restricted starting November 30, 2017 due to road work on the expressway.
11. Mt. Takato
Mt. Takato is a famous spot for night views in Wakamatsu Ward of Kitakyushu City. From it, there is a view of Wakamatsu Bridge lit up in orange. In addition to the bridge, there is a 180-degree view of the area around Wakamatsu City. There are benches so it is perfect for dates. It is easy to get to by train and car, so be sure to visit if you are a fan of beautiful nightscapes.
It is noteworthy that Mt. Takato is designated as one of the Japan Nightscape Heritage sites. There have been three Japan Nightscape Heritage sites in Fukuoka, including the Kokura Illumination, and Mt. Takato is the fourth. It is a relatively less known spot for night views in Fukuoka, so why not go first and reconfirm the appeal of nightscapes.
12. Mt. Komonji
Mt. Komonji is a 366-meter-high mountain, similar in height to Mt. Adachi in Kitakyushu. The night view from here is actually incredibly beautiful, and is on a par with the famous view from Mt. Sarakura. There is, of course, also an expansive view that covers Kokura City and Mojiko. In the summer, there is an event called Komonji Yaki, so if you are a festival lover, be sure to visit.
Mt. Komonji is famous for the beauty of its night view, but it is difficult to get to. There are no street lights, so be sure to carry a flashlight if you are going. You are more likely to get lost or meet a bear at night, so be sure to reach the peak by dusk and leave before sunset.
The Night Views of Fukuoka
This article has introduced major places to go to for night views in Fukuoka. At these spots, you can see beautiful nightscapes of Kitakyushu City and Fukuoka City. In particular, the views from Mt. Sarakura and Mt. Komeno are so beautiful, they are worthy of being Japan Nightscape Heritage sites. Places to see the night views of Fukuoka are key sightseeing elements of Kyushu, so why not go to see them to experience the appeal for yourself? And why not treat yourself to quality accommodations to relax in after seeing the sights of Fukuoka? Hotels and ryokan inns carefully selected by travel experts are introduced on Relux. With Relux, you, too, can enjoy a special trip like never before.
Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.