Fukuoka is a youthful fun loving city with good shopping, live music, a major baseball team and great restaurants. Although I loved living in the Japanese countryside, I couldn’t resist the bright lights of this exciting city and visited most weekends.
Matt Spiller, Travel Consultant
Over the past ten years Fukuoka, the biggest city on Kyushu, has transformed itself into one of the most cosmopolitan and internationalised cities in Japan. Although it is not as big as Tokyo or Osaka, it still manages to possess the same vibrant buzz.
Because of its proximity to South Korea and the rest of eastern Asia, the city has always been an important port with an international flavour. It is thought to be where tea and Buddhism were first introduced to Japan.
Fukuoka, however, is not a place to visit for traditional Japanese culture. There are a few important temples, shrines and museums but it’s the excesses of modern urban life that draws people to the city.
The downtown area of Tenjin is packed full of shops, restaurants, karaoke boxes and bars and attacks all of the senses with neon lights, music, crowds of people and the smell of ramen drifting from a yatai stall.
‘Yatai’ are mobile food stands set up in the early evening on pedestrian walkways and cleared away by the early hours. The ones in Fukuoka are famous for selling a pork broth noodle soup known as tonkotsu ramen. The stalls are usually frequented by salary men having a few drinks with their colleagues on their way home from work.
Fukuoka is also a great place to see the Softbank Hawks baseball team play and is also a usual destination for Japanese pop concerts.