If you're looking for some variation, Fukuoka is a great choice, with beach resort destinations and indoor shopping malls (no need to worry about the weather!) ideal for dates. You could also relax in style in the pool of a luxury resort hotel at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park or take a romantic walk in the beautiful Yusentei Garden from the Edo period. If you and your partner are gastronauts, make sure you check out the food stalls of Nakasu and spend a tasteful evening in Hakata. Or if night views are more your thing, head to the illuminated Fukuoka Tower and share a drink while looking out at the dazzling cityscape. Here's our selection of top spots for memorable dates in Fukuoka and its Hakata ward.

    1

    The Luigans Spa & Resort

    Just 20 minutes by automobile from the city centre, The Luigans Spa & Resort (located within Uminonakamichi Seaside Park) is a perfect getaway location where you can relax away from the hustle and bustle of Hakata. The vast 540-hectare site features ocean-view rooms, lawn gardens, spas, pools and restaurants. The summer pool is open to non-staying guests from 7 pm onwards. And at the luxurious restaurant you can taste the seasonal flavors of Kyushu, including fresh vegetables from the resort's own farm, seafood, and high-quality free-range local chickens. From spring to summer, there's also a BBQ area on the lawn by the pool. And after a meal, you can chill out at the cocktail bar - what more could you ask for? The best way to get here is by using the free shuttle bus.

    Location: 18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 811-0321, Japan

    Open: Open all year round

    Map

    photo by そらみみ (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Marine World Uminonakamichi

    Marine World Uminonakamichi is an ideal spot for couples to enjoy a date. The huge "Kyushu Ocean" aquarium reproduces the warm sea waters where the Kuroshio Current flows. You'll be blown away by the sight of about 20,000 fish bathing here. Up on the 2nd floor you'll find the "Amami Coral Reef" area, which is made up of colorful coral and tropical fish, you can enter the mythic world of the undersea Palace of the Dragon King. The all-weather show pool also holds lively shows featuring dolphins and sea lions all day long, so there's always something cool to see.

    Location: 18-28 Saitozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 811-0321, Japan

    Open: March―November: open from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm December—February: open from 10 am to 5 pm

    Map

    photo by yuki5287 (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    JR Hakata City

    Fukuoka's landmark JR Hakata City is one of the largest station buildings in Japan. With fashion shops and large department stores such as Tokyu Hands and Hakata Hankyu, it's much more than a typical railroad station. it even has Japan's largest restaurant zone - "City Dining Kuten" - which is full of great places to eat. There's huge variety, too, with Hakata delicacies such as Hakata Mizutaki and Hakata Ramen as well as wider-ranging Kyushu flavors including Miyazaki Prefecture's famous charcoal-grilled chicken and Kagoshima's sublime Kurobuta Shabu-shabu (Berkshire pig hot pot). After enjoying a meal and some shopping, head to the "Tsubame no Mori Hiroba" rooftop garden for a completely different experience. The views are great up here, with the "Train Observation Space" overlooking the trains entering and exiting Hakata Station, and an "Observation Terrace" looking out over the city and mountains of Fukuoka and Hakata Bay.

    Location: 1-1 Hakaekichuogai, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0012, Japan

    Open: Hours vary by store. Please check the websites for details.

    Map

    photo by ぱちょぴ (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Canal City Hakata

    The Canal City Hakata complex brings many fashionable stores to Kyushu for the first time. A canal runs through the building, and at night there's the "Canal Aqua Panorama" fountain, music and video show adding to the romantic atmosphere. Canal City's movie theater is the only IMAX® venue in Kyushu, so this is a great place to catch the latest movies in their full glory. Alternately, there are Shiki Theater Company musicals staged at the Canal City Theater. After some entertainment, take a leisurely stroll along the canal and maybe pop in to your favorite shop along the way. Getting here is a 7-minute walk from the nearest station, which is Gion Station on the Subway Kuko Line. You can also take a bus from JR Hakata Station.

    Location: 1-2 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0018, Japan

    Open: Shops open from 10 am to 9 pm Restaurants open from 11 am to 11 pm Open all year round

    Map

    photo by z tanuki (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Yusentei Park

    Yusentei Park is a purely Japanese-style garden where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Japanese aesthetic. The villa here was built by the feudal lord of the Chikuzen Kuroda family in the middle of the Edo period, and it was later opened as a historical park by Fukuoka City. The main attraction is the view from the large hall facing the pond. Looking out over the pond from the traditional Japanese-style hall reflecting samurai culture and social standing of the day, it's easy to imagine yourselves as the lord and his wife. The garden also has many perfect photo opportunities, such as from the lantern next to Horai Island. After taking a walk in the garden, head to the teahouse. Here you can try matcha made with Kyoto Uji tea and some seasonal candies. Iced coffee and cold matcha are also available in the summer. To get here, take Nishitetsu Bus No. 12 and get off at the Yusentei stop. The park is a 5-minute walk from there.

    Location: 1-46 Yusentei, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0122, Japan

    Open: Open from 9 am to 5 pm Closed on Mondays and New Year vacations

    Map

    photo by STA3816 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Marinoa City Fukuoka

    Marinoa City Fukuoka is one of the largest outlet malls in Kyushu. Many stores are open until around 9 pm, so there's no need to rush. After shopping, don't forget to view the beautiful illuminations of the "Sky Hall" seaside Ferris wheel. A cycle on the Ferris wheel takes about 12 minutes and gives stunning night views. And once you're back on the ground, head to the Brucière restaurant at the adjoining Hotel Malinois Resort overlooking the sea for a truly special dinner.

    Location: 2-12-30 Odo, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0001, Japan

    Open: Open all year round

    Map

    photo by STA3816 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Nokonoshima Island

    Surprisingly, there's a remote island you can access on a short boat trip direct from Fukuoka City. Board the ferry from Meinohama and enjoy the sea breeze for about 10 minutes. Before you know it, you'll be at Nokonoshima, a small island in Hakata Bay. Shaped like a gourd, the island is a tourist spot full of nature, and it even has accommodations and restaurants. Nokonoshima Island Park is one of the island's highlights. There's a carpet of seasonal flowers such as rapeseed flowers, Livingstone daisies, poppies, azaleas, sunflowers, and cosmos. In summer you can enjoy bathing at the white sandy beach surrounded by palm trees at Nokonoshima Camp Village.

    Location: Nokonoshima, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka 819-0012, Japan

    Open: Hours vary by facility. Please check the official website for details.

    Map

    photo by そらみみ (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    Fukuoka City Zoo

    The popular Fukuoka City Zoo has been going for more than 60 years and has recently been renovated to provide innovative new ways of showcasing animals. The animals here are now presented in ways that you'll never have seen before. In the "Asia Tropical Canyon Neighborhood", orang-utans play in the tower while Japanese river otters traverse underwater tunnels. Over in the "North Garden" you can see the protected Tsushima leopard cat and watch northern giraffes eating with their long tongues sticking out. Meanwhile the "South Garden" has hippos bathing leisurely in a pool together with Australian animals such as kangaroos, emus and cassowaries.

    Location: 1-1 Minamikoen, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0037, Japan

    Open: Open from 9 am to 5 pm Closed on Mondays (or on the next day if Monday is a public vacation) and over New Year vacations

    Map

    photo by yuki5287 (CC BY 2.0) modified

    9

    Fukuoka Tower

    Located in the Seaside Momochi District, Fukuoka Tower is Japan's tallest seafront tower. Standing 234 meters tall, Fukuoka Tower's top-floor observation room offers 360-degree panoramic views of the cityscape of Fukuoka, Hakata Bay, and the night view of downtown neighborhoods such as Hakata Station and Tenjin. At the "Lover's Sanctuary" photo spot you can take a picture with a heart-shaped light that appears when two people hold hands and touch a switch, and with magnificent views in the background. There's a dedicated fence of vows on which you can lock a "love key" for all time. So if you're looking for a way to commemorate your date, look no further. The Le Fouget café-restaurant is also a perfect date venue. The view from the corner seats is exceptionally romantic, as it looks like you're out at sea.

    Location: 2-3-26 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka 814-0001, Japan

    Open: Open from 9.30 am to 10 pm Closed on Monday and Tuesday in the last week of June

    Map
    10

    Nakasu Food Stalls

    Hakata is a paradise for foodies. The Nakasu area is full of food stalls, making it hugely popular with tourists and the international crowd. Since there are so many stalls, and such variety, it's a good idea to visit a few different places. If this is your first time in Nakasu, you might want to stick to stalls that offer receipts so that you can check what you've actually been charged for. Hakata Yatai Chushu Juban is a restaurant where you can enjoy local Hakata foods such as ramen, broiled ramen, mentaiko (salted cod roe), Motsunabe (offal hot pot), and gyoza dumplings, and you can even pay with credit card or e-money. You can expect to spend around 1,500 yen. The official Fukuoka City Guide contains a downloadable map of Nakasu food stalls, so grab this and you'll be good to go.

    Location: 1-8 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0801, Japan

    Open: Open from 6 pm to 2.30 am Irregular vacations

    Map

    photo by Eejyanaika (CC BY 3.0) modified

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