Explore the Good Vibes of Fukuoka
It’s time to adventure on the road less travelled and explore a different part of Japan. Fukuoka is your authentic Japanese experience with fewer crowds. The best way to travel around Fukuoka Prefecture is by car or coach. On your travels be sure to allow time to try some of the incredible dining experiences on trains, ride along designated cycle baths, wander the Olle trekking courses or meander the canals of Yanagawa in your donkobune (river boat). Get ready to immerse yourself in this fascinating region and feel the good vibes of Fukuoka!
Fukuoka’s ultimate road trip must-see’s
FLAVOURS OF FUKUOKA
Fukuoka’s food scene is as fascinating as it is diverse, and there is plenty there to reward anyone willing to travel just that little bit further to discover it. Spend time eating Tonkotsu style ramen as well as other must-have dishes while you discover historic landmarks and shrines set amongst the most beautiful of sceneries.
Start your day at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, one of the most important Tenmangu Shrines throughout Japan. There are various shops along the way to the shrine, where you can buy the local specialty, Umegaemochi (a bean-jam cake).
Walk 5 minutes by foot to the Kyushu National Museum and learn about the history of Japan and its cultural exchanges with its neighbours throughout Asia.
Enjoy lunch at Dazaifu City.
Head to Ichiran, a Tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen specialty store that is popular throughout Asia. Just steps from the Dazaifu rail station, this special Ichiran has a unique take on solo dining. Select what you would like to order on paper (strong, medium, soft noodle), hit the buzzer and your order will be ready in no time. A ramen noodle experience not to be missed!
Walk to Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station, and then take the 52 minute train to Yanagawa.
Unagi no Seiromushi (steamed eel) is the best- known local dish of Yanagawa. Grilled eel coated in a salty-sweet sauce over fluffy white rice makes for a fantastic flavour combination. Enjoy this local specialty in one of the many long- established eel restaurants around the city. Spend the night at Yanagawa city.
Start the day with a riverboat ride in a donkobune along the Yanagawa canals and enjoy the onboard entertainment with your boatman singing traditional Japanese trot songs.
After the river cruise, discover the history of Yanagawa Tachibana-tei Ohana. The Ohana Estate, former residence of the Tachibana family, is an impressive estate with over 400 years of history and it’s the perfect example of blended Western and Japanese architecture.
One of the best parts of this visit is the trip to Shoto-En Japanese Garden, a sprawling inner sanctum of rocks and carefully pruned pines that can be viewed from many different rooms and angles. In the afternoon rent a bicycle from Yanagawa City Tourist Information Center to see more sites, including Kyomachi shopping area, Okinnohata, where the canal ends or continue further to see the banks of the Ariake Sea.
Head back to Fukuoka city and try the famous yatai food stalls. There are over one hundred yatai food stalls spread out through the Tenjin, Nakasu and Nagahama areas. You can sample various Hakata specialties such as ramen (noodles), yakitori (chicken skewers) and gyoza (dumplings).
Stay at Fukuoka city.
Kitakyushu lies on the northernmost coast and offers beautiful coastal views, historic buildings and exceedingly fresh seafood.
Start your day at Mojiko Retro and wander around this area. Since its opening in 1889, Mojiko has flourished as a international trade port. The area has exotic Western-style buildings and other historic structures that still have the feel of the old days, while equipped with modern interiors. Grab a map of historic buildings at the newly refurbished Mojiko Station, then head out on a historic city walk.
For lunch make sure to taste the Yaki Curry, a popular local delicacy and a must-try food in Mojiko. The Yaki Curry is baked curry topped with cheese and eggs on rice. Stop by at Bear Fruit, the most well-known Yaki Curry restaurant, located nearby JR Mojiko Station.
After lunch head to Tanga Ichiba Market which has over 120 stalls lined in a narrow little street in Kokura. Locals come to Tanga Ichiba market to get their daily fresh local produce such as seafood, vegetables and fruits. Its colourful atmosphere and tantalizing aromas make it a great stop.
To end the day, take a cable car to the top of Mt Sarakura (622 metres high) and enjoy the fascinating view of Kitakyushu city.
Stay in Kitakyushu.
Relax and take a ride on the luxurious Coto Coto Train. Designed by renowned designer Eiji Mitooka, it is based on the concept of “relaxation, delicious food, and fun”.
Enjoy the amazing combination of the radiant deep crimson exterior, the warmth of the wooden interior and the stained glass ceilings of the train, as well as a 6-course French dining experience that uses ingredients from the nature-rich surrounding area of the train line.
The Japanese-French fusion meal is prepared under the direction of Tsuyoshi Fukuyama, owner-chef of La Maison de la Nature Goh in Fukuoka (one of Asia’s Top 50 restaurants). Using seasonal ingredients and served in local Aganoyaki pottery, the dining experience is not only delicious but a worthy match to the lovely scenery. Running only on weekends and public holidays, be sure to plan your ride accordingly.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN FUKUOKA’S CULTURE
Visit historical buildings such as a castle, temples and parks full of traditional Japanese ambience as well as renowned flower-viewing spots and natural sites.
For the first day, start in Fukuoka, the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture, and visit Maizuru Park, featuring the 17th-century Fukuoka Castle Ruins.
The ruins date to 1601 and once claimed close to 50 observation towers. Visitors can tour around some of the preserved towers and gaze at the Wild Cyperus ohwii Kukenth, which grows wild in the moat surrounding the castle.
The gorgeous vegetation is designated a Natural Treasure of Japan. The best time to visit the castle ruins is between March and April when a thousand cherry trees are in full bloom.
Fukuoka Castle Ruins are connected to Ohori Park, one of Fukuoka’s most popular places to visit. The park contains scenic walking paths around a lake that once formed part of the castle moat. Rent a boat and cruise around the water or wander along the many peaceful trails.
The Park also contains a Japanese-style garden and the Fukuoka Art Museum, a modern art museum that displays contemporary art by Yayoi Kusama, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and other acclaimed names.
If you’re in need of some refreshments, overlooking the park’s pond and right next door to the Japanese garden is Ohori Terrace. With a focus of Yame tea (green tea from Yame) they offer a variety of Yame Teas, sake, craft beers from Fukuoka Prefecture and popular local bites.
Itoshima is a quiet seaside resort town less than an hour by car, west of Fukuoka that offers a relaxing escape from the city.
Start by visiting the Shiraito Waterfall, a gorgeous natural wonder. The area offers hiking, fishing and some restaurants. Shiki no Chaya, a restaurant nearby serving soumenchiri, a famous Itoshima specialty, and soumen nagashi, a famous summer dish, can also be enjoyed near the falls.
Shiki no Chaya, a restaurant nearby serving soumenchiri, a famous Itoshima specialty, and soumen nagashi, a famous summer dish, can also be enjoyed near the falls.
For sunset head to Sakurai Futamigaura of Meotoiwa, a natural landmark known as the “couple rocks,” united for eternity with a Shinto rope.
This is the perfect spot to watch a dreamy sunset by the beach as the sun sets right behind the wedded rocks.
Kitakyushu lies on the northernmost coast and offers beautiful coastal views, historic buildings and exceedingly fresh seafood.
Dive into the city’s history at Kokura Castle, which gives insight into the region’s illustrious past as well as a panoramic view of the area’s present. Make the most of your visit by booking a tea ceremony experience at the Kokura Castle Japanese Garden.
The castle grounds are a famous spot for cherry blossom viewing in the early spring.
Continue to TOTO Museum – if there is one thing Japan does well, it’s toilets, and this museum is dedicated to the history of them. TOTO Museum is a must-see attraction in Kitakyushu!
Finish your day at Kawachi Wisteria Garden and walk under two 100-metre tunnels of flowers. The garden is a famous viewing spot for wisteria, and the best time to visit is from mid- April to mid-May. Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance.
Harazuru Hot Spring, also called Harazuru Onsen, is one of the largest hot spring villages in Fukuoka. Located on the banks of the Chikugo River with more than 12 hot springs facilities in the area, there are plenty of places to enjoy an open-air bath.
Yanagawa is a city in southern Fukuoka prefecture, about 56 km south of Fukuoka City. Sometimes referred to as the “city of water” or the “Venice of Kyushu”, it’s famous for its network of canals totalling around 930 km in length.
Take a leisurely ride on gondola-like donkobune through the canals that crisscross the city.
In the afternoon head to Yame Central Tea Garden and enjoy a cup of green tea.
Yame city is Japan’s leading tea producer. Blessed with the ideal climate for growing tea leaves, lush green tea fields stretch out before your eyes.
EXPERIENCE FUKUOKA OUTDOORS
Fukuoka is a paradise for nature lovers with its stunning countryside and unique landscape with forests, mountains and stunning seas. Fukuoka prefecture offers a more relaxed experience of Japan, giving you a break from the hustle and bustle of the more popular and larger cities in the country.
Choose your adventure and explore Fukuoka prefecture by walking one of its 6 trekking courses. The trails are called “Olle”—a concept originating on Jeju Island, South Korea, as a way to experience the coast and nature with all five senses. Walk at your own pace and discover Fukuoka’s rich natural environment of ocean and mountains. Each Olle course showcases a different element of Fukuoka culture and will take around 3 to 5 hours.
Munakata – Oshima Course
This was the first Olle trekking course set in Fukuoka Prefecture, where trekkers can enjoy the history and beautiful landscapes of Oshima Island (the only course accessible by ferry), which is full of natural beauty.
This course features Yame’s rich natural environment, history and culture. Trekkers will enjoy the scenic views of real tea country and the ancient culture found on the Yamekyoryu Hill.
Kurume – Mt. Kora Course
Full of natural and historical spots, such as Kora Taisha Shrine, Moso Bamboo Forest, Kurume Forest Azalea Park and Myokenjinja Shrine.
Fukuoka – Shingu Course
Highlights include views of Ainoshima Island and Fukuoka City. The course also passes through the town centre and then into a pine forest.
Miyama – Mt. Kiyomizu Course
This course includes historical and cultural sites such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple Honbo Garden, the 500 Rakan statues (arhat) and Kiyomizu-dera Temple’s three-storied pagoda.
Chikuho – Kawara Course
This course starts at Saidosho Station that was constructed 103 years ago, before heading up into the mountains where beautiful panorama views can be enjoyed.
Go on a fun and delicious fruit picking experience around one of Japan’s most popular fruit-producing areas, Fukuoka!
Fukuoka Prefecture is a leading fruit producing prefecture in Japan, boasting bountiful fruit orchards particularly in the southern Chikugo area. It produces huge volumes of strawberries, kiwis, grapes, and persimmons.
Many of the fruit orchards in the prefecture are open to the public for ‘pick-your-own’ fruit activities.
The best time to visit for fruit picking activities is between late summer and late autumn, with many orchards open from August to December.
The only exception is strawberry picking season, which is in winter from January to April.
For more information on picking seasons, fruit types as well as orchards and farms open to public, please visit Japan Fruits.
Camping is a great way to truly immerse yourself in nature. Ikenoyama campground located inside Hoshino Furusato Park in Hoshino-mura (village), offers peace and quiet a short 45-minute drive from Yame City’s Interchange.
Floating on the large Asoike Pond are ogura kohone, a member of the water lily family. Ogura kohone is designated as a prefectural natural treasure.
Overnight and day-use campsites along with mountain cabin-style bungalows and lodges are available. This is a great spot to enjoy nature and outdoor activities.
Fukuoka is a city which is easy to get around by bicycle. The city is full of safe and pleasant cycling paths, particularly around Ohori Park and Fukuoka Castle Ruins.
There are several areas around the city, including Shikanoshima Island and Onga District, where you can rent bicycles for a ride in nature. Feel the brisk ocean breeze as you bike along coastal landscapes!