Fukuoka is the sixth-largest city in Japan, the second-largest port city after Yokohama, and the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan.
If you want to spice up your usual Japan itinerary for first-time visitors, include some of the greatest things to do in Fukuoka.
As a big metropolis of over 2.5 million people, Fukuoka’s (also known as Hakata’s) most fascinating tourist sites range from retail malls to temples, shines, and even the remnants of a 17th-century castle.
Not sure where to start when deciding what to do in Fukuoka? Begin your vacation planning with our guide to the best places to visit in Fukuoka…
What to do in Fukuoka: Best places & attractions to visit
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While there are several ancient sites in Fukuoka, one of the greatest locations to visit in Fukuoka is a recent construction. Canal City Hakata is a huge retail area modeled as a tiny town.
The retail mall consists of many multi-story buildings that include hundreds of stores and restaurants, as well as a few hotels, a theater, and a gaming center. It also has a canal with water displays every 30 minutes throughout the day.
The Ramen Stadium is located on the fifth level of the building and has eight different ramen eateries serving meals from all across Kyushu.
You might easily spend a whole day touring this vast facility during your Fukuoka visit.
Get a bird’s eye view of the city from Fukuoka Tower
Fukuoka Tower is one of the most spectacular Fukuoka attractions. It is Fukuoka’s tallest structure and Japan’s tallest seashore tower.
The tower, which was completed in 1989 on the reclaimed ground near Hakata Harbor, provides views of Fukuoka and the bay from three observation decks.
The second observation deck is 120 meters long and has a café and lounge. Enjoy a meal or a drink while gazing out over the city. Just bear in mind that the costs are a little more than in other places.
Try to visit the tower in the evening if at all feasible. As the sun starts to fall, the Fukuoka skyline comes alive with lights.
Explore the Fukuoka Castle Ruins
If you just have 24 hours in Fukuoka, you should not miss a visit to the Fukuoka Castle Ruins.
While nothing of the 17th-century house survives, the grounds have been transformed into a lovely hilltop park with panoramic views of Fukuokabelow.
You’ll come across numerous of the castle’s gates, towers, and turrets while wandering the roads of Maizuru Park. There are also some newer projects in the region, such as a sports complex and an art museum.
The remains of the castle constitute an important element of the city’s history. The town of Fukuoka Castle sprang up around the castle and ultimately joined with Hakata to become the bigger metropolis that it is today.
Catch a gentle Seabreeze at Momochi Seaside Park
Momochi Seaside Park (Shiseido Momochi), located on the reclaimed ground on the southern beaches of Hakata Bay, is one of Fukuoka’s nicest hangouts.
This appealing contemporary waterfront area was first developed for the 1989 Asia Pacific Expo and remains a popular destination for both tourists and residents in Fukuoka.
Momochi Seaside Park, also known as Seaside Momochi, is home to some interesting attractions to pass the time, such as Momochihama Beach, the Fukuoka City Museum, the MARK IS shopping complex, and Marizon, a man-made island with a plethora of great restaurants and local shops for your eating and shopping pleasure.
Stroll around the lake at Ohori Park
Ohori Park is the place to go in Fukuoka if you want to get away from the city and breathe some fresh air. This huge park has a big lake as well as several coastal walks.
It’s a favorite hangout for Fukuoka residents. Residents are likely to be seen walking, running, or cycling around the lake, particularly in the morning.
Because of the park’s immensity, it’s also simple to get some peace. Take a peaceful stroll across the park or hire a paddleboat and explore the lake.
There is also an art museum and a small traditional Japanese garden in the park, giving a few more activities away from the hordes of visitors.
View the colorful festival floats in front of the Kushida Shrine.
Your Fukuoka sightseeing trip will almost certainly include visits to the city’s religious landmarks.
Kushida Shrine is one of the city’s most spectacular shrines.
The shrine, which was built in 757 A.D., has a big stone torii gate and a grayish-white roof, rather than the traditional vivid red colors utilized for Japanese temples.
The temple is also the site of the city’s major yearly celebration, Hakata Gion Yamakasa.
Even if you miss the celebration, you may be able to see the floats. The enormous floats are usually on exhibit at the shrine for most of the year. You may easily go to the temple from Canal City Hakata.
Visit the wooden Buddha at Tochoji Temple
Tochoji Temple is a must-see if you wish to include prominent temples on your Fukuoka itinerary. It is famous for housing the world’s biggest wooden Buddha statue. The temple is close to the Kushida Shrine and a smattering of other shrines and temples along the river. You could go around the numerous holy places and never leave a four-block radius.
On weekends, there will be a greater throng at the temple.
If you want to appreciate the temple’s tranquillity without having to stand shoulder to shoulder with other visitors, go early in the morning or on weekdays.
Unwind with drinks and karaoke in the Nakasu Nightlife District
Visit Nakasu towards the end of the day if you’re wondering what to do in Fukuoka. This little island in Hakata Ward is Fukuoka’s primary nightlife center.
It has hundreds of taverns, nightclubs, and karaoke bars crammed between tiny streets.
Several footbridges link the island to the rest of downtown. The majority of the bridges are really short. In fact, you may not even realize you’re crossing water.
The red-light district here is a bustling location throughout the night and a great place to try the local food.
Aside from pubs and clubs, the region is home to a plethora of yatai food vendors that provide delectable street cuisine to late-night revelers.
Dazzle at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is the biggest Shinto Shrine in Fukuoka and one of the most significant Tenmangu Shrines in Japan. It is a must-see when in Fukuoka.
This serene and quiet shrine is devoted to Tenjin, a god who enshrines Sugawara no Michizane, a 9th-century Japanese poet, statesman, and intellectual. Exploring Dazaifu Tenmangu begins with Shinjiike (Lake Shinji), a heart-shaped pond that marks the inner shrine’s boundaries. It is crossed by a lovely pair of bridges that link to islands symbolizing the past, present, and future.
Keep an eye out for the main hall after you’ve entered the shrine through the bridges (honden). Although it was initially constructed in 919, the edifice you see now “only” dates from 1591. Because of its almost 400-year history, the honden is rightfully designated as a Japan Important Cultural Property.
Aside from the temple structures, Dazaifu Tenmangu is also a fantastic spot to see spring plum blossoms. The grounds are home to around 6,000 plum (ume) trees of 200 distinct types!
For history aficionados, the neighboring Kyushu National Museum, which details the history and culture of the Japanese island of Kyushu, is well worth a visit.
Watch the dolphin and sea lion shows at Marine World
Aside from temples and historic places, there are other things to explore in Fukuoka, such as the city aquarium. Marine World Uminonakamichi, located in Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, boasts a broad array of marine life and a stadium-sized pool with daily sea lion and dolphin exhibitions.
The aquarium houses around 350 marine species in 70 tanks, including sharks, sea otters, and spotted seals. It also features a variety of interactive games that are enjoyable for both youngsters and adults.
The largest tank is 2,000 square meters in size and is utilized for sea lion and dolphin shows, while the second-largest tank holds approximately 120 sharks.
Where to stay in Fukuoka
As one of Japan’s major cities, deciding where to stay in Fukuoka might be difficult. Chuo Ward and Hakata Ward, where you’ll find the major railway station, are the two finest regions to stay for most visitors. To get you started, here are a couple of the best hotels in Fukuoka…
Richmond Hotel Fukuoka Tenjin: Located only steps from Tenjin Station, this budget-friendly hotel is well-liked by customers for its big and comfy rooms.
Hotel Okura Fukuoka: Located in the center of Hakata Ward, this luxurious hotel offers a plethora of facilities such as 10 dining choices, an indoor pool, and an on-site microbrewery. Book early since this is one of Fukuoka’s most popular hotels.
Grand Hyatt Fukuoka: If you’ve ever been to a Grand Hyatt, you’ll understand what awaits you at this top Fukuoka luxury hotel. This 5-star hotel, located in the Canal City complex, features spacious rooms furnished in the chain’s signature warm tones, as well as a variety of facilities such as a fitness center, hot tub, restaurant, and two on-site bars.