8 Reasons You Need To A Trip To Fukuoka

Amping to make up for lost travel time and finally book that well-deserved trip to Japan? Heck yeah, you are. If you’re looking for a melting pot of culture, cuisine and scenic wonders off the beaten track, look no further than Japan’s hidden gem — Fukuoka Prefecture.

Located in the northern part of Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, Fukuoka ticks all the boxes — complete with hot springs, breath-taking scenery, outdoor adventures, and epic bees.

So you can make the most of your adventures, we’ve teamed up with Discover Fukuoka to round up everything you need to tick off on your travels.

Feast Your Way Through Yatai

Dig into the street eats of Fukuoka City at the open-air yatai — food stalls — that pop up across the city every night. Showcasing the best of the local foodie scene, expect to find yakitori skewers, oden hot pot, tempura and gyoza across over 100 stalls.

Boasting a warm, buzzing atmosphere not to be missed. From 6 pm until late— you’ll find yourself sitting alongside locals, with a splash of sake in hand and slurping up Tonkotsu style ramen as they share a story or two. For your planning — the main areas serving up the goods are Nagahama, Tenjin and Nakasu.

Explore The Florals Of Fukuoka

While Japan is famously known for the iconic cherry blossoms that blanket the country each spring, lesser-known are the posy plum blossoms in Fukuoka are a must-see. The ‘gram-worthy pink blossoms bloom at the end of February until early March and signal the start of spring. Best seen at the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine just 30 minutes from Fukuoka City, over 6,000 plum trees awash the grounds in lush pinks.

Not in town for spring? Check out the Kawachi Wisteria Garden — home to two 100-meter long, whimsical wisteria tunnels — or visit the 500-year-old wisteria at the Jozenji Temple in Fukuchi Town.

Soak In Paradise Beachside At Itoshima

Just under an hour from the city center, the sunny peninsula of Itoshima is a favorite among locals. Boasting sprawling sandy beaches, hikes through the Shiraito Waterfalls and a rad surf scene, it’s not hard to see why.

Other must-dos include checking out Keya Beach, Nogita Beach, treating yourself to fresh seafood at the local cafes and visiting Meoto Iwa — a pair of sacred ‘husband and wife’ rocks linked together with rope and framed at the shore through a torii gate . Better yet, the open flat roads make for a perfect cycling route.

Image source: Kyoko Ueda

Hit A Festival

Immerse yourself in the local culture and hit up one of the many festivals throughout the year. Our top pick is the dazzling Tobata Gion Oyamakasa festival. The over 200-year-old festival is firmly on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List and is held at the end of July and takes over the Tobata Ward of Kitakyushu City.

Impressive Nobori Yamakasa floats are paraded through the city throughout the day before 33 feet tall lantern floats accompanied by performers with gongs and drums take over the town in the evening, making it a magical must-see on any itinerary.

Take A Trip Through History

An easy hour car ride or train trip away, Akizuki Castle was once the home of the Akizuki clan. Today, the town is packed with over 800 years of history — think ancient Samurai houses, shrines and moss-covered stone walls.

Stroll around town, check out the cherry blossom-lined Sugi-no-Baba boulevard and visit the Kuromonchaya tea house. A must for Star Wars fans — strap in for a three-hour hike up Mt. Kosho to the ruins of the Akizuki Fortress, which served as one of George Lucas’ main inspirations when writing the first Star Wars films

Or, head to Munakata— home to three ancient world heritage shrines where Shinto practices are believed to have dated back to the 7th or 8th century.

Discover Hidden Gems In Yanagawa

Board a donkobune — traditional Japanese gondolas — and make your way through the waterway network of the city on a Yanagawa Kawakudari ‘going downstream’ punt tour. The journey will take you through the nooks and crannies of the old town along the canals, giving a picturesque tour of the Venice of Fukuoka.

Photograph provided by Yanagawa Kanko Kaihatsu KK

Island Hop From Hakata Bay

The sprawling peninsular park offers travelers the perfect respite from the bustling city center with flower gardens aplenty, cycling tracks to explore the playgrounds and green open spaces perfect for picnicking, and opening this spring, the park’s first glamping accommodation offering.

Photograph provided by Fukuoka City

Hit Up Mt. Hiko

One of Kyushu’s most scenic hikes, Mt. Hiko is two hours from Fukuoka City and stands at an impressive 1,200 meters above sea level. The seven-hour long hike is the perfect challenge for those looking to make their way off the beaten track. Ascending an ancient stone staircase, you’ll make your way past ancient shrines such as Hohei-den, the largest and most majestic along the route as well as Ominami-jinja which has been built into the rock-face itself. Accessible all year-round, autumn offers vivid, brightly colored leaves and winter, a spectacular snowy wonderland.

Packing your bags already? Same here. Japan’s hidden gem bursting with adventure, whether it’s slurping up ramen or venturing through ancient ruins, you can always count on Fukuoka to bring the good vibes. Head here for more inspo.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by the Fukuoka Prefecture Tourism Association and proudly endorsed by the Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.

Image credit: Fukuoka Prefecture Tourism Association

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