The 10 Top Things to Do in Fukuoka, Japan

Fukuoka Cityscape

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An essential harbor for centuries, Fukuoka today is the result of the 1889 merge of the port city of Hakata and the castle town of Fukuoka. The city is one of the largest in Japan and is located on the southern island of Kyushu. Famous for its impressive street food and restaurant culture, there are endless local dishes to try, including tonkotsu ramen and seasoned cod. From shrines to green open spaces and access to the glorious coastline and islands, here are some of the best things to do in Fukuoka.

01 of 10

Visit the Buddha at Nanzoin Temple

Buddha at Nanzoin Temple

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Address
1035 Sasaguri, Kasuya District, Fukuoka 811-2405, Japan
Phone +81 92-947-7195

Pay a visit to one of the world's largest bronze statues, weighing more than 300 tons at Nanzoin Temple. This colossal statue is one of few in Japan that depicts a reclining Buddha, a pose that is more popular across Southeast Asia. Many people visit Nanzoin Temple as part of the picturesque three-day Sasaguri Pilgrimage, which takes you over Mount Wakasugi, and reaches 88 different sites. Still, Nanzoin Temple can also easily be visited by itself and is accessible by train. Don't miss the 500 statues of the Buddha's disciples and the Inari Shrine within the complex.

02 of 10

Try Hakata Ramen

Hakata Ramen Fukuoka

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Trying the local ramen is a must wherever you are traveling in Japan. Fukuoka is a true food-lovers dream, and the hearty Hakata-style ramen, also known as tonkotsu, is one of the most beloved styles of ramen in the country. Born out of the vibrant street food culture of the city, tonkotsu ramen's signature creamy broth is made from slowly simmered pork bones and served with thin ramen noodles, spring onions, braised pork belly, and pickled ginger, amongst other vegetables. This is a must-try dish in Fukuoka, in any of the hundreds of restaurants in the city.

03 of 10

Visit Hakozaki Shrine

Fukuoka Shrine interior

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Address
1-chōme-22-1 Hakozaki, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka, 812-0053, Japan
Phone +81 92-641-7431

Dedicated to the god Hachiman in 927, Hakozaki Shrine is one of Japan's most culturally important Shinto shrines. Majestic to visit at any time of the year, the shrine hosts two of Fukuoka's biggest festivals: the Tamaseseri Festival in the new year and the Hojoya Festival in the fall. Each festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. In the evenings, during the Hojoya Festival, you can also visit more than 600 stalls selling souvenirs, handmade crafts, and street food on the path leading to the shrine.

04 of 10

Visit Uminonakamichi Seaside Park

Beach at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park,

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Address
18-25 Saitozaki, Higashi Ward, Fukuoka, 811-0321, Japan
Phone +81 92-603-1111

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a perfect location to enjoy Fukuoka's green beauty and coastline. Originally a Japanese military base, it became a park in 1972 and is a particularly great destination if you are traveling as a family. With an outdoor waterpark in the summer, a giant outdoor playground, go-kart rides, and a slew of other activities, the park has more than enough things to do to occupy an entire day. The park spans more than 700 acres and is lined with trees that blossom in the spring, making it a perfect spot to celebrate the hanami season. On-site bike rentals are also available for anyone who wants to take advantage of the park's numerous bike paths.

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05 of 10

Take the Ferry to Ainoshima

Brown and black cat walking on a stone wall

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Address
Ainoshima Island, Ainoshima, Shingu, Kasuya District, Fukuoka 811-0118, Japan

Ainoshima, nicknamed Cat Island due to the incredible number of furry felines who live there, is an easy and popular day trip from Fukuoka. The island is so small that you can traverse the entire circumference in less than two hours while enjoying some key sights like shrines and historic features, all lined with the dramatic coastline. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to rest in, and no matter where you go, you will get to see the famous cats lounging and walking around. The 40-minute ferry ride to the island departs from Shingu Port.

06 of 10

Wander Ohori Park

Lake and gazebo at Ohori park in Fukuoka, Japan

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Address
1 Ohorikoen, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka, 810-0051, Japan
Phone +81 92-741-2004

Ohori Park lies in central Fukuoka and is the perfect place to take a break from the city and enjoy the scenery. The large pond at its center was once part of the moat of Fukuoka Castle, which can be easily walked around in about 40 minutes. Visitors can also enjoy time on the water by renting swan-shaped paddle boats and rowing boats. You can also access the Fukuoka Art Museum and the Ohori Park Japanese Garden within the park. The garden requires a small fee to enter but treats you to scenery typical of a Japanese garden. Think gorgeous maple and cherry blossom trees, a path leading to a shrine, a torii gate, and a tea house.

07 of 10

Soak in an Onsen

Picture of a landscaped hot spring park in Japan with a pink blooming tree. The photo has a subtle pink tink to it
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If you've been enjoying the many outdoor activities of the city and surrounding area, then you will want to take some time to recuperate in a local hot spring. There are many options to choose from, including the rustic Hakata Onsen, which was opened in 1958 after the owners accidentally discovered thermal waters while digging a well. If you would prefer to be surrounded by nature, then Kirara Hoshino Onsenkan offers baths overlooking the surrounding mountains, as well as meals and rooms. You will be provided with towels and space to place your things at whichever hot spring you decide to visit.

08 of 10

Travel to Nokonoshima

Field of colorful flowers with a few of water and islands in the center of the frame.

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Address
Japan, 〒819-0012 福岡県福岡市西区能古島
Phone +81 92-881-2494

Nokonoshima, located in Hakata Bay, is another small island worthy of a day trip from Fukuoka. It's small enough to walk or cycle around and offers incredible views of the ocean. The island is most famous for its flowers, found in Nokonoshima Island Park, with more than 300,000 species that bloom all year. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also popular as they are cheaper on the island than in the city. Visitors can easily enjoy the local produce at the market restaurants, where you can also try dishes such as the Noko burger, freshly caught fish, or bento. The 10-minute ferry to Nokonoshima departs from Meinohama Ferry Passenger Terminal.

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09 of 10

Shop at Tenjin Underground Mall

people standing in front of small street stalls in Fukuoka at night

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Address
Japan, 〒810-0001 Fukuoka, Chuo Ward, Tenjin, 2-chōme−11, 地下1・2・3号
Phone +81 92-711-1903

Opened in 1976, this sprawling underground mall is easily accessed through Tenjin Subway Station and is directly linked to most major stations, including Fukuoka Airport. With more than 150 shops, cafes, and restaurants to enjoy, visiting the mall is perfect for souvenir shopping and to escape rainy weather. The underground mall is also connected at basement level to the many department stores of the Tenjin area, making it a very convenient, and beautiful way to get around. Don't forget about the above-ground stalls.

10 of 10

Catch Some Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling Fukuoka

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Sumo is an important part of the sports culture in Fukuoka, and it's one of six Japanese locations to host the Sumo Grand Tornumant (Kyushu Basho) each year. The tournament lasts two weeks in November, and if you're lucky, you'll likely be able to spot off-duty sumo wrestlers around the city. Be proactive about booking tickets; they go on sale in October and tend to sell out very quickly. If you can't make it in November, there are qualifying matches you can catch all year round.

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The 10 Top Things to Do in Fukuoka, Japan