Going Solo in Japan Series: FUKUOKA

After spending 3 days in Nagoya, 2 days in Hiroshima, 5 days in Kyoto & Osaka (including 2 separate day tours in Nara & Kobe), I took a 9.5-hour overnight bus ride to Fukuoka Prefecture’s capital city, Fukuoka.

Fukuoka is Kyushu Island’s most famous & populated city. This port city is Japan’s gateway & also the closest hub to mainland Asia. Just like any other Japanese city, it is characterized by developed infrastructure, modern transportation system & helpful & accommodating people. The city is also famous for beautiful cherry blossom sightings every spring season.

Beautiful sunny day in Ōhori Park 😍

I didn’t know about Fukuoka until I was searching for an affordable flight back to Manila. The city is not as famous as Tokyo & Osaka in the Philippine tourism market, but it’s definitely starting to gain attention in the past months. I spent the last 3 days of my 13-day Japan journey here. I will give more details below of how my stay went.

Trivia: Fukuoka is the birth place of tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen. It is also where my favorite Ichiran Ramen originated.

Accommodation

Just like my previous hostels for this trip, I stayed in Hana Hostel Group‘s local branch, Fukuoka Hana Hostel. The hostel is centrally located within the Nakasu-Kawabata Shopping Arcade. It is a 2-3 minute walk to the famous Canal City, 5 minutes walk to Nakasu-Kawabata subway station & about 15 minutes walk to Tenjin’s shopping area. The airport is 4 stops away (about 10 minutes ride) from the nearest subway station. Fukuoka’s main train station, JR Hakata Station, is 1 train stop away or about 15 minutes walk.

I stayed in a 3-bed male dormitory room with private shower & en-suite. Just like any other Hana Hostel branch, each bed includes its own reading light, pillow & sheets, curtains, curtains (for privacy), universal plug & a storage box (plus free Wi-Fi). I paid ¥2,800 per night (¥5,600 for 2 nights). It’s one of the cheapest rates I’ve seen during my stay. For those who do not want to stay in a dormitory room, they also have private rooms with affordable rates.

The staff were super nice & accommodating. They speak good English & they are always ready to help. The hostel stored my luggage before check in & after check out for free. It also has a spacious common area on the ground floor where you can meet other travelers. It also has a kitchen where guests can prepare their own food. I will definitely stay here again when I go back to Fukuoka.

Torii gates in Kushida Shrine grounds 😍

Tip: Fukuoka Hana Hostel accepts bookings up to 3 months before your desired stay. Make sure to book early as they as usually fully booked.

Going Around Fukuoka

Going around the city is easy. The subway system is not as confusing as that of Tokyo’s & Osaka’s. Fukuoka has only 3 subway lines – Kuko Line, Nanakuma Line & Hakozaki Line. Kuko Line is the main city line which starts in Fukuoka Airport Station, passes by Hakata, Nakasu-Kawabata, Tenjin, Ohorikoen, Nishijin up to Meinohama Station. Nanakuma Line starts in Tenjin-Minami Station & services up to Hashimoto Station while Hakozaki Station starts in Nakasu-Kawabata Station & ends in Kaizouka.

Saw this amazing view when I stepped out of Daizafu Station 😍

The city also has JR Lines connected to these subway stations making it possible to connect to nearby cities & towns. By the way, these subway & JR lines also accept IC cards. You can also go around the city by bus (one thing I didn’t try because I’m fond of subways).

Places to visit in Fukuoka

Fukuoka may not have a long list of places to visit but it definitely has some unique places to see. Let me tell you which places I went to in my short 3-day stay.

Ōhori Park

Ōhori Park’s famous pavilion in the middle of the lake

Locally known as Ōhori-kōen, Ōhori Park is Fukuoka’s most famous park located in the center of the city. It features a large pond with a walking path around it & in the middle. The park is an ideal place for strolling, jogging & relaxing. Entrance to the park is free.

You can also find Fukuoka Art Museum a meters walk from Ōhori Park. However, the museum is closed for renovation & won’t be open until March 2019. Later I found out that the Fukuoka Castle Ruins / Maizuru Park were only a few meters away from the park. Unfortunately, I missed out visiting this place.

Access: Ohorikoen Station

Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome

Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome from the outside

Fukuoka Yafuoku! Dome is the home of the locally famous Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks baseball team. The stadium can accommodate close to 40,000 spectators & is the world’s largest geodesic dome. It is also one of the popular places where local & international artists hold their concerts.

Access: 15 minutes walk from Tojinmachi & Nishijin Stations

Momochihama Seaside Park

This is a 1 kilometer stretch of man-made beach in the Seaside Momochi Waterfront. It is located a few meters walk from Fukuoka Tower. The beach was empty when I went there because it was almost winter & it’s too cold for people to swim.

Empty Momochi Beach on a cold but sunny autumn (almost winter) day

Access: 15 minutes walk from Tojinmachi & Nishijin Stations

Fukuoka Tower

View of Fukuoka Tower from the Seaside Momochi Waterfront 🗼

Fukuoka Tower is the city’s tallest building, also Japan’s tallest seaside building. It stands 234 m high & is located by the Momochihama Beach. Entrance to the building’s observatory costs ¥800. They offer 20% discount to foreigners who will show their passports.

Access: 15 minutes walk from Tojinmachi & Nishijin Stations

Robosquare

Robosqaure is robot showroom located a few meters walk from Fukuoka Tower. It is a place where you can interact & play with robots. I met a few interesting robots acts like humans. I also met a very cute dog robot who knows how to react for every hand gesture you make. There is also a shop where you can purchase & take home these robots.

One of the many robots you can play with in Robosquare 🤖

The showroom is located in the 2nd floor of the TV Nishi Nippon Building. Admission is free. As someone from the Philippines, I really enjoyed interacting / playing with the robots. It’s a must visit for kids & kids-at-heart.

Access: 15 minutes walk from Tojinmachi & Nishijin Stations

Tenjin

Dubbed as Fukuoka’s downtown, Tenjin is the city’s shopping, dining & entertainment hub. This is the place to go to if you want to shop for new clothes, dine in fancy restaurants, drink in bars & party in clubs.

Bake Cheese Tart is a must-try! 😋

Aside from the upscale department stores & shopping malls, it also has an underground shopping area which connects 2 subway stations & various buildings. This place is called Tenjin Chikagai. I think this underground shopping strip is a must-see place in Fukuoka. This is also where I found Bake Cheese Tart, the famous cheese tart chain that originated in Hokkaido.

Access: Tenjin & Tenjin-Minami Stations

Canal City – Hakata

A not-so-busy street of Fukuoka on my way to Canal City

Canal City is a large shopping & entertainment complex in Hakata. Characterized by more than 200 shops & restaurants, the 5 storey structure has a canal running through the complex premises. It also has 2 hotels in it.

What I found interesting in this shopping complex is Ramen Stadium on its fifth floor. This place has more or less 8 ramen restaurants coming from different places in Japan. If you’re a person who’s into ramen, then you should visit Canal City, particularly the ramen stadium.

Access: 10 minutes walk from Nakasu-Kawabata Station & 15 minutes walk from Hakata Station

Yatai

Yatai is a small mobile food stall found in random streets in Japan. These stalls are set up late afternoon / early evening & are packed up usually after midnight. These mobile restaurants serve almost all kinds of food – from ramen, to hotpots & grilled skewers. They also serve sake & alcholic drinks.

Post-drink snack in a yatai with YS, a friend I met in the hostel 🍢

These stalls are scattered all over Fukuoka, but you can find most of them in Nakasu Area. I went to one of these stalls with YS, the friend I met in the hostel for almost midnight snack. The food we had was really good!

Tōchō-ji Temple

Beautiful colors outside Tōchō-ji Temple🍂

The Tōchō-ji Temple is one of the central attractions in Hakata, Fukuoka. It is the Buddhist temple that houses the great statue called Fukuoka Daibutsu. This 10 m sitting Buddha wooden statue was carved for a few years.

Cameras were not allowed inside the hall so I was not able to take a photo of it. The status was really huge; it’s definitely a must-see when in Hakata & Fukuoka.

Access: 2 minutes walk from Gion Station

Kushida Shrine

Fukuoka’s famous Kushida Shrine ⛩️

Kushida Shrine is a Shinto Shrine located in Hakata Ward. Every July, a big festival called Hakata Gion Yamakasa, is celebrated. All the events & activities held at the festival is centered on this shrine.

Access: 5 minutes walk from Nakasu-Kawabata & Gion Stations

Dazaifu Tenman-gū Shrine

Entrance to the main shrine ⛩️

Dazaifu Tenman-gū Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, an important figure during the Heian Period. The shrine was built over Michizane’s grave. There are other structures & places located in the area; that includes the Dazaifu Tenman-gū Museum, Kanko Historical Museum & the Kyushu National Museum.

Entrance to the shrine grounds is free; but the museums charge a few yens.

Crowded Dazaifu Tenman-gū main shrine ⛩️

Access: From Tenjin Station, take the Nishitetsu-Tenjin-Omuta Line train towards Nishitetsu-Yanagawa. Get off at Nishitetsu-Futsukaichi Station & transfer to the Nishitetsu-Dazaifu Line towards Dazaifu. From Dazaifu Station, head right. Follow the crowd & walk for 5-7 minutes to the shrine.


Aaannd this concludes the Going Solo in Japan Series. It’s definitely a trip for the books – solo travelling at its finest. If you haven’t read the previous blogs in this series, just check the following posts: Nagoya, Hiroshima, Kyoto & Osaka & Nara & Kobe. I also blogged about how I managed to overcome the ₱50,000 x 13 days & 7 cities challenge for this trip. Flying to Japan soon? I’ve also blogged about my previous trip to Tokyo, Kyoto & Osaka & I made a 4-step guide on how to apply for your Japan tourist visa.

One last photo about Fukuoka! Empty Momochi beach 🏖️ 

Japan will always be one of my favorite countries. I have visited the country for 2 years in a row & I am looking forward to my third, fourth & upcoming visits. It’s a country I won’t get tired of coming back. 💗

Is there something you want to know more about Fukuoka or anything you want to ask about the places mentioned above? Is there topic / content you want to see in this blog in the future? Feel free to comment below or send me an email to contact@thewkndtravel.com. You can also send me a message on Facebook, drop a comment on Instagram or send me a tweet on Twitter.

Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます) 🇯🇵 😃

PS. All photos above were shot using my HTC Re & HTC One M8.

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