Fukuoka is the main city in Kyushu and is located only a short distance from the airport, and many of the best things to do are easily accessible from the city centre. You'll find waterside parks that are typical of Fukuoka along with nature and spectacular night views. Traditional temples, shrines and castle ruins are also nearby. Thanks to its compact nature, a trip to Fukuoka is very efficient way to use your time.

    There are also many seasonal attractions such as cherry blossoms in springtime, festivals and beaches in summer, and autumn leaves later in the year. Join us as we check out Fukuoka's most photogenic sights.

    1

    Fukuoka Castle Ruins and Maizuru Park

    Castle ruins famous for seasonal flowers and autumn leaves

    The main landmark in Maizuru Park is the site of the Fukuoka Castle Ruins, also known as Maizuru Castle, which was built by the Japanese military leader Nagamasa Kuroda in 1601. The ruins of the castle, with its mounds and stonewalls, preserve the atmosphere of those ancient times. On vacations, families gather here for picnics on the large lawn.

    One of Fukuoka's best cherry blossom viewing spots, it attracts crowds of people from all over Fukuoka when the blossoms are in full bloom. The seasonal flowers and autumn leaves are also gorgeous, so you should definitely consider a taking a walk here when the sun is out. The museum exhibits artifacts excavated from Korokan, a guesthouse of the ancient Yamato Imperial Court.

    Location: 1-4 Jonai, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0043, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)92-781-2153

    Map
    2

    Hakata Gion Yamakasa

    An energetic festival with huge floats

    Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ritual performed at Kushida Shrine to pray for the eradication of plague and disease dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333). The festival's climax is the Oiyama on the final day, when large decorated Yamakasa floats march through the city from early in the morning and compete to see which can reach the goal in the fastest time.

    The energy of the men called “Kakite” who carry the Yamakasa is really impressive. In Hakata, the festival takes place over two weeks in the run-up to Oiyama Festival.

    Location: 1-41 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 812-0026, Japan

    Open: July

    Phone: +81 (0)92-291-2951

    Map
    3

    Kushida Shrine

    Hakata's local guardian deity since 757

    Kushida Shrine is one of Fukuoka’s essential sights. Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a traditional festival in Fukuoka listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, is a Shinto ritual dedicated to Kushida Shrine. The large decorative Yamakasa floats used in the festival are displayed in the precincts of the shrine.

    The shrine is located in the middle of Hakata, close to Nakasu, with easy access to the rest of the city. Don't miss the Chikara Ishi (power stone), which is believed to have been used by young men and wrestlers to test their strength, and the large tree known as Kushida no Ichou (Ginkgo of Kushida). At the entrance, pick up some umegae mochi (rice cakes) from the Kushida Chaya (teahouse).

    Location: 1-41 Kamikawabatamachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 812-0026, Japan

    Open: Daily from 4 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)92-291-2951

    Map
    4

    Tochoji Temple

    A temple with plenty to offer, from a Great Buddha to a five-storey pagoda

    Tochoji Temple is an esoteric Buddhist temple known for its wooden Fukuoka Daibutsu (Great Buddha). It’s believed that this was the first Buddhist temple in Japan, built by Kukai in 806, and visitors can enter beneath the Daibutsu to experience a ”tour of hell and paradise”.

    The temple is also famous for its vermilion five-storey pagoda and Rokkakudo Hall, with its extraordinary roof structure. In cherry blossom season, visitors can enjoy the architectural beauty of the temple against a gorgeous pink backdrop. Many visitors also come to the park to pray because it’s the graveyard of the Kuroda family, the three feudal lords of Fukuoka.

    Location: 2-4 Gokushomachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 812-0037, Japan

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 4.45 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)92-291-4459

    Map
    5

    Ohori Park

    Take a walk or cycle around this large scenic pond

    The nationally renowned Ohori Park is a favorite place for the people of Fukuoka to relax. Together with the adjacent Maizuru Park, it's a great spot to visit for a stroll. The paved jogging course that circles the pond is always crowded with runners and cyclists. The park has a Starbucks, vending kiosks, restroom facilities, and benches, so you can easily spend the whole day here just taking a leisurely break.

    Boat rentals are another popular feature, especially among families. There’s also a good selection of playground equipment for children to let off some steam. Other attractions include a Noh theater, a Japanese garden, and Ukimido gazebo.

    Location: 1 Ohorikoen, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0051, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)92-741-2004

    Map
    6

    Nanzoin Temple

    A spiritual spot guarded by Buddha statues

    Nanzoin Temple is the general head temple of the "Sasaguri Shikoku Sacred Temples” Buddhist pilgrim route. The nearest station, Kido-Nanzoin-mae Station, is about 20 minutes from Hakata Station. It’s renowned for its 41-metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha, one of the world's largest bronze statues. Other impressive attractions include the main hall of Nanzoin Temple and the Daifudo Myo’o (a Buddhist deity).

    According to an anecdote, the priest won the prizes for adjacent numbers in a lottery, making this place a famous mystical spot for would-be lottery winners. The nearby Nakamise-dori is a pleasant shopping street with restaurants.

    Location: 1035 Sasaguri, Sasaguri-cho, Kasuya District, Fukuoka Prefecture 811-2405, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)92-947-7195

    Map
    7

    Fukuoka Tower

    Night views from a high-rise overlooking the city

    Fukuoka Tower is one of Fukuoka's leading night view spots. The spectacular view from the observation deck, 123 meters above the ground, has been listed as one of Japan’s top 100 night views. Visit at sunset for views of the beautiful sparkling sea. Fukuoka’s seasonal illuminations are another highlight.

    The restaurants here also offer great views. If you want to enjoy a romantic lunch or dinner, this is a great option. You’ll find a wide variety of candies, including the towering "Rainbow-coloured roll parfait" that’s a big hit on Instagram.

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

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)92-823-0234

    Map
    8

    Kyushu National Museum

    A new museum telling the history of Kyushu

    Kyushu National Museum opened in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, as the fourth national museum based on the concept of “mapping the formation of Japanese culture within an Asian historical perspective”. Its unique glass entrance design is eye-catching, and the building’s architectural aesthetics are also highly acclaimed.

    With a wide range of special exhibitions and permanent exhibits, this museum is full of attractions that keep visitors coming back for more. Its valuable collection is unique to Kyushu, thanks to the area’s close ties to Asian countries.

    Location: 4-7-2 Ishizaka, Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture 818-0118, Japan

    Open: From 9.30 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +81 (0)50-5542-8600

    Map

    photo by Nick-D (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    9

    Shofukuji Temple

    Amazing silence in the city

    • History
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    Founded in 1195, Shofukuji Temple is known as the first Zen temple in Japan. The founder, Zen Master Eisai, was the person who introduced tea to Japan from China. The temple adopted its current layout when rebuilt in 1589, and in 1969 the entire grounds were designated as a National Historic Site.

    The temple has many attractions such as the Chokushi-mon (imperial envoy gate), Musein-Ike Pond, Sanmon (temple gate), Butsuden (Buddha hall), and Hojo (priest's room), and sutra-copying and Zazen meditation sessions are also held here. The aroma of incense and the tranquil gardens are deeply soothing. The springtime cherry blossoms and the fresh greenery of summer are also exceptional. The temple is also famous for the number of cats that can be seen in its precincts.

    Location: 6 Gokushomachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 812-0037, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +81 (0)92-291-0775

    Map
    10

    Momochi Seaside Park

    A seaside destination with an international feel

    Momochi Seaside Park is a pleasant urban oasis with a long stretch of artificial sandy beach. The waterfront is a lovely, romantic place to stroll.

    Local bathers fill the beach and enjoy beach sports here in summer. Barbecues and picnics are also popular. The beautiful sunset view is truly spectacular.

    Location: 2-902-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 814-0001, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)92-822-8141

    Map

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