Fukuoka (福岡, Fukuoka) is the largest city on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, was the home of the samurai and today is the terminus of the famous Shinkansen Line bullet train from Tokyo, 730 miles (1,168km) away. Originally the town of Hakata was the centre of the area, acting as a gateway to Japan from the rest of Asia, which lies just across a short strait. The feudal town of Fukuoka, however, grew rapidly just across the Nakagawa River, clustered around a castle. In the late 19th century the cities united under the combined name of Fukuoka. The modern city is busy and bustling, with an international flavour and plenty of innovative architectural development.
The Tenjin underground shopping arcade brings the wares of the world to Fukuoka, while a sandbank in the bay has been turned into the largest entertainment district in western Japan with more than 2,000 eating and drinking establishments congregated under the neon lights. The Naka River promenade and riverfront park make for pleasant strolls, while top class theatres, theme parks and art establishments abound. There are some sightseeing attractions in the city itself, and the surrounding area in Kyushu Island has plenty to offer within easy reach of the city.
|(Japan) – Travel to Fukuoka|
|(Japan) – Travel to Fukuoka|
Because of its closeness to the Asian mainland (closer to Seoul than to Tokyo), Fukuoka has been an important harbor city for many centuries and was chosen by the Mongol invasion forces as their landing point in the 13th century.
Today's Fukuoka is the product of the fusion of two cities in the year 1889, when the port city of Hakata and the former castle town of Fukuoka were united into one city called Fukuoka. Hakata remains the name of one of Fukuoka's central districts and of the main railway station.
|(Japan) – Travel to Fukuoka|
1. Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
Fukuoka’s Asian Art Museum is housed in a new complex in the Shimokawabata district of Hakata Ward, in the heart of the city. The museum houses a collection of more than 1,000 works including paintings, sculptures, prints and handcrafts. It also serves as a centre for art education.
|Fukuoka Asian Art Museum|
- Address: Riverain Complex, 3-1 Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku
- Website: faam.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/eng/home.html
- Telephone: (0)92 263 1100
- Transport: Subway to Nakasu-kawabata station.
- Opening time: Daily 10am-8pm. Closed Wednesdays, and from 26 December to 1 January.
- Admission: ¥200 (adults), ¥100 (children). Admission for special exhibitions varies.
2. Fukuoka Castle
Fukuoka's castle is in ruins, but it is still a favourite spot for tourists to congregate (mainly for the view). Built by the feudal lord in days of old, it was composed of 47 turrets of various sizes. Today the Otemon gate, Tamon turret and a few walls remain.
- Transport: Bus to Otemon or Heiwada stops, or subway to Ohorikoen Station.
- Opening time: Daily
3. Kushida Shrine
One of Fukuoka’s best-known shrines is Kushida, founded in 757. It is situated in the heart of ancient Hakata with a huge gingko tree, said to be 1,000 years old, shading its forecourt. The shrine honours the grand deity, OhataNushina-mikoto, and was built during the Heian Period for the common people. Today it is very much enjoyed by locals and visitors alike during the summer’s major event, the Hakata GionYamakasa Festival. On the last day of the festival the Kushida Shrine becomes the starting point for the Oiyama fun run when hundreds of young men clad only in loin cloths carry heavy wooden shrines through the streets along a set route, vying to clock the fastest times. The shrine itself contains several items of interest, particularly the Eto Arrow plate bearing carvings of the Chinese zodiac and a brace of anchor stones, recovered from the harbour, that were once attached to ships of the Mongolian invasion fleets.
- Address: 1-41, Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata-ku
- Telephone: (0)92 291 2951
- Transport: Subway to Nakasu or Gion station.
4. Shofukuji Temple
The Shofukuji Temple was the first Zen temple to be built in Japan. It was founded by the father of Japanese Zen, Eisai, in 1195. In the temple grounds are the remains of two other ancient temples, Jotenji and Tochoji.
- Address: 6-1 Gokuso-machi, Higashi-ku
- Telephone: (0)92 291 0775
- Transport: Subway to Gion station.
- Opening time: Shofukuji Temple is always open.
- Admission: Free
- Transport: There are trains from Fukuoka city.
2. Mount Aso
The composite active volcano of Mt Aso lies almost in the centre of Kyushu Island and boasts the world's largest caldera, stretching 11 miles (18km) from east to west and 15 miles (24km) from north to south. Inside the caldera are five volcanic peaks, with one of them, Naka-dake, still being active and regularly emitting smoke and ash. The rest of the landscape inside the caldera is green and grassy, grazed by cows and horses and inhabited by about 50,000 people in several towns and villages, seemingly unphased by living inside a volcanic crater. In the town of Aso there is a museum dedicated to the volcano. Visitors can watch large screen presentations about Aso and the associated geology, in addition to viewing a live image from a camera positioned at the active crater site.
|Mount Aso, Fukuoka|
- Telephone: (0)96 734 2111
- Opening time: Aso Volcano Museum open daily 9am-5pm.
The beautifully situated port city of Nagasaki lies at the southern end of Kyushu Island, 95 miles (152km) southwest of Fukuoka. Nagasaki was open to the world for centuries between 1639 and 1859 while the rest of Japan was secluded from foreign contact by governmental decree. The exposure to foreign cultures has left the city with a sophisticated and liberal air that makes it popular for tourists, enhanced by the many attractions in the city itself and surrounding prefecture. Feudal castles, samurai houses, smoking volcanoes, hot spring baths, rugged offshore islands, beautiful beaches and friendly people are all here to be enjoyed. The most important site in the city is the Peace Park (Heiwa Koen), commemorating Nagasaki's darkest hour on 9 August 1945, when a nuclear bomb intended to be dropped on the Mitsubishi Shipyards exploded instead over the Urakami district, killing 150,000 people. A black stone column marks the blast's epicentre, alongside the Atomic Bomb Museum.
- Opening time: Atomic Bomb Museum: daily 8:30am-5:30pm
- Admission: Atomic Bomb Museum: ¥200 (adults), ¥100 (children)
(Japan Guide, Word Travels)