This week’s Exploring Japan goes to Kyushu with Fukuoka.
Fukuoka is on the northern end of the island of Kyushu in western Japan. It has a population of 5,071,732 and is a major industrial centre in Japan. The capital is Fukuoka. The 5 largest cities are:
Fukuoka and Kitakyushu are both designated cities, so they are divided into wards. Fukuoka is growing in population, while Kitakyushu is shrinking.
Fukuoka Castle – This castle in Fukuoka city was dismantled during the Meiji Era, and the main tower was never rebuilt. Several buildings remain, though most of the grounds were converted into a park.
Kokura Castle – This reconstructed castle is in Kitakyushu. The reconstruction isn’t faithful to the original design, though.
There are several professional sports teams in Fukuoka. In baseball, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks are based in Fukuoka city. As for J-League soccer, Fukuoka has Avispa Fukuoka and Kitakyushu has Giravanz Kitakyushu.
Things to see and do
Fukuoka has a lot to see. It has one of the oldest histories in Japan, and Fukuoka is one of the oldest cities in the country. Outside of the cities, Yabahita Hikosan is a quasi-national park that includes Mt. Hiko.
Fukuoka, being one of the largest cities in Japan, has an incredibly large amount to see and do. The Gion area has many very old temples and shrines. The Nagahama area is famous for its ramen. Ohori Park and Nishi Park are beautiful places to go. Fukuoka Tower has an amazing view of the city. Atago Shrine has a great view of the bay and city. Nokonoshima is an island in the bay with great hiking and camping, as well as beautiful gardens. Kabuki and Noh are great to watch, as well. I’d love to see Canal City in Hakata. It looks very interesting. In Tenjin, there’s a lot of shopping. To learn about the traditional Hakata way of life, the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum is good to see.
In Kitakyushu, there’s also plenty to see. Moji-ko has a lot of old buildings, and it’s also famous for yakicurry, a baked curry and rice with egg and cheese. Hiraodai is a karst plateau with a great view. Mount Sarakura also has a great view of the city. Iwaya beach is a nice beach. You can also see Sugao no taki waterfall. Space World would be a fun place to go, having a space camp and plenty to do. Kanmon pedestrian tunnel is an easy 10 minute walk under the strait between Kitakyushu and Shimonoseki, which is on Honshu. I’d also like to see the Zenrin Map Museum, the Museum of Natural and Human History, and enjoy one of the Gion festivals in July.
In Kurume, I’d like to see the Jibo Kannon Statue, a 62 metre concrete statue at Naritasan Temple. Bairjinji temple and Suitengu shrine would be nice to visit. It also has an annual flower festival.
Yanagawa is a beautiful small city which you can tour on its system of canals.
Yame is a small city where you can find tea plantations.
Fukuoka is famous for tonkotsu ramen. The broth is made from boiled pork bones, and you can find many local varieties in each of the cities.
What would you recommend in Fukuoka?