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1. Dazaifu Tenman-gu
Dazaifu Tenman-gu is one of the many Tenmangu shines that enshrine Sugawara no Michizane. Within the grounds of the shrine, you can find a number of cultural treas-ures, including the main hall, which was built based on the traditional Shinto architec-tural style, Nagare Zukuri, and the torii gate along its path that was built during the Kamakura Period. This is definitely the place to visit if you are looking to learn more about the temples and shrines in Hakata.
The Yanagawa River was orinally made as a moat surrounding Yanagawa Castle. There are boat tours along the river for visitors. In autumn, these boat tours also run at night, giving you a chance to enjoy the river on a moonlit cruise. Nearby, you can find the Yanagawa Ohana, the former residence of the Tachibana Clan, which has been turned into a restaurant and hotel, as well as many other sites. This is definitely the best place to go to experience what Japan used to be like in the good old days.
Akizuki is a historical town about 70 minutes by train from Fukuoka City. This is a well-known place to come and enjoy the cherry blossoms in spring and to see autumn colors. This popular tourist spot is also fondly known as Chikuzen’s Little Kyoto. The black gate on the path to Suiyou Shrine was once the main gate to Akizuki Castle and it is a popular spot that provides visitors a sense of what the Edo Period was like.
4. Canal City Hakata
Canal City Takata is a commercial complex with hotels, a cinema, shops and restau-rants surrounding a canal. There are shows and events held daily here, making it a popular leisure spot. This is a popular place for visitors from abroad that are rushing for time, as they can shop for souvenirs and also some delicious cuisine here.
5. Ramen Stadium
If you want to eat your fill of Hakata’s ramen, then the Ramen Stadium in Canal City Hakata is the place for you. This restaurant was recently renovated in March 2015 and it not only has Hakata’s famous ramen but it also offers famous ramen from all over Japan. You could also challenge yourself to eat every single ramen available here to truly understand the ramen culture in Japan.
Kushida-jinja is a famous shrine that holds the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival in July and the Hakata Okunchi festival in October. Fukuoka also celebrates the Hakata Don-taku festival in May, which is a festival that originated from not from Kushida-jinja but the Matsubayashi procession which starts from Kushida-jinja. If your visit coincides with the festivals, you mustn’t miss them.
In Hakata, udon is known as “uron” and just like ramen, it is a popular dish. Even though this restaurant opened in 1885, it still runs strong, proving that it is well loved and supported by the people here. Each area of Japan makes and serves its udon dif-ferently, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on Hakata’s udon to experience the difference in the texture and the taste of the broth served with the udon.
8. Hakatamachiya Furusato-kan
Hakatamachiya Furusatokan is a facility that serves to introduce the Hakata of the Meiji and Taisho Period. Here you can buy famous local sweets and traditional arts and crafts like the Hakata dolls, Hakata textiles, Hakata spinning tops and Hakata tiger figurines. If you are looking for a wide variety of traditional Japanese souvenirs, this is the best place to go to.
9. Shika Island
If you are looking to enjoy outdoor activities like cycling or driving, we definitely rec-ommend you to head to Shika Island. Here you can enjoy a panoramic view of Hakata Port and the Genkai Sea. On the island, there is the Shikaumi Shrine that is part of the Watatsumi Shrines that house water deities. If you are wondering where to go to eat, just head to the Nakanishi Shokudo that is famous for its sazae (turban shell) dishes.
10. Nokonoshima Islandpark
Nokoshima Islandpark is the place to go to enjoy Japan’s beautiful flora. In spring, you can enjoy the cherry blossoms and rhododendrons, in summer the hydrangeas and sunflowers, in autumn, the cosmos and salvia splendens and in winter, camellias and plums. The landscape here changes according to the seasons with different flowers blooming throughout the year.
11. Itoshima Peninsula
At Itoshima Peninsula, which is about 30 to 40 minutes from Fukuoka City by car, where you can enjoying buying hand-carved seals, getting your hands dirty in some pottery lessons at a craft center or an art gallery, or renting a boat for some fishing. Here you can also find many cafes and restaurants that serve some really good food.
12. Ohori Park
Photo by かがみ～ on Flickr
Ohori Park is a place where local residents come to take a breather after a hectic day. The park has a Japanese garden, a tea-ceremony teahouse and a teahouse garden. The landscape boasts some beautiful ponds and miniature hills, flowing streams and rock gardens. Visitors can come here and enjoy this park that was built for leisurely strolls. This is also the place to come to see black pine trees, oak trees, the highly valuable phoebe zhennan trees, different variants of rhododendrons and Japanese andromedas.
13. Acros Fukuoka
Acros Fukuoka is an international cultural information exchange center in Tenjin. The Fukuoka Symphony Hall in the center has about 1,800 seats and caters for classical music concerts as well as multi-purpose halls and galleries that showcase Fukuoka’s traditional handicraft daily. Don’t forget to visit the Cultural Information Center here that caters to visitors to Fukuoka who would like to know more about the area.
14. JR Hakata Citywikimedia
This shopping center has more than 200 speciality stores that will meet your every need and desire. When it comes to food, you will be spoiled for choices with a variety of dishes, from Hakata’s local delights to cuisine from other parts of Japan. At the rooftop garden, you can enjoy the panoramic view as well as the garden that is full of seasonal flowers. There is a viewing terrace and a Railway Shrine, too.
Tocho-ji is the first temple that Kukai built in Japan and it houses the popular seated wooden Buddha statue that is the biggest in the whole country. Just ahead of the relief of the hell scrolls, there is a dark path with a handrail for visitors to hold on to while walking along, and it is said that if you can find and touch the Buddha’s Ring, you will get to enter paradise.
16. Kawabatadori Shopping Street (Kawabata Shotengai)
This huge arcade has about 100 stores that stretches about 400m from Hakata Riverain to the Hakataza Theatre and all the way to Canal City Hakata. This is the perfect place to come if you are looking to buy some souvenirs, such as Hakata dolls or famous local sweets. This shopping street, with its nostalgic downtown atmosphere, is different to your average shopping mall. The arcade is also decorated with hanging banners that display daily expressions in the Hakata dialect.
Photo by Thomas on Flickr
In Japan, there are 2,129 Sumiyoshi shrines, but this one here in Fukuoka is the oldest of them all. The pavilion here was built based on the oldest ancient Shinto shrine ar-chitectural style known as Sumiyoshi Zukuri, and is recognized as an important cul-tural treasure in the country. There are some must-see spots in the shrine, such as the Shinboku sacred pine tree, the Nohgakuden hall and the Kaguraden hall.
18. Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum is the only museum in the world that systematically dis-plays modern Asian art. At the museum, you are sure to find new inspiration in the unique pieces created by modern Asian artists, that differ from both classical and west-ern pieces.
19. Joten-jiJoten-ji is the birthplace of Hakata’s famous festival, the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festi-val. Even nowadays, during the festival the Yamakasa float is paraded around the streets while being splashed with holy water, and the men carrying the float will stop in front of Joten-ji to pay respects to the chief priest. But of course, even without the festival, this temple has a beautiful rock garden called Sentohtei in front of the main hall.
20. Kashima Honkan, a traditional Japanese inn
If you were thinking of staying in a traditional Japanese inn, we would recommend Kashima Honkan which was built based on the Japanese Buddhist architectural style of the Taisho Period. The rooms are naturally laid with tatami mats and were built ac-cording to the traditional Sukiya Zukuri style that gives patrons a chance to experience the authentic Japanese atmosphere. This inn is located 10 minutes on foot from Canal City Hakata and 5 minutes on foot from Nakasu’s food street.