In 2012, the smallest and least known of the two towers of Fukuoka was a 10 minute walk from my home. I thought it was a good starting point to visit the city and went many times. Here is my report of my visits。
Hakata Port Tower 博多ポートタワー() was built in 1964 by the architect Naito Tachu, who also plans five other Japanese towers in Tokyo, Nagoya, Beppu, Sapporo and Osaka. The Hakata one was the last built and is affectionately known as "the little sister of the Japan family tours" (タワー６兄弟の末っ子). She changed names many times and definitively adopted the name "Hakata Port Tower" after the construction of the biggest tower of the city, the Fukuoka Tower
Hakata Port Tower is fairly uncrowded despite its admission price : free. Since it's free, it was my daily output for many weeks.
It really makes me think about the Tokyo Tower due to its architecture, with its central elevator and its beautiful red color. For a total height of 100m, Hakata Port Tower has two observation decks :one is at 70m zhich is open to the public and one above, only for monitoring the surroundings and radio communications with the boats.
We enter in the tower through a small museum : the Hakata Port Hakata Bayside Museum (博多港ベイサイドミュージアム). This pretty and small museum (also free) tells the story of the port of Hakata, what is being done here or the products passing through. It's a very fun place with lots of photos, diagrams, models and even games ! There are explanations in English, Chinese and Korean but not everything is translated so is is better to ask for a brochure.
About the tower itself, you have to take the elevator by yourself. On a clear day we can see the surrounding islands (north side) and mountains (south, southwest) but the nicest view is the city's one (on the seaside we hardly see more than large cargo ships and containers). I also love the night view, that is really magical. About night, the tower is not light up at night, there is just the edges of the observatory that have little red lights. For illumination, it is better to go to her big sister the Fukuoka Tower.
On leaving, if you are lucky, the exit will not be made throught the museum but on the side, via a small road where you have a beautiful view of the tower (see the second photo of the article). There, two choices are available: cross the street to go to the souvenir shops or grab a bite at Bayside Place complex, or continue the way to the sea through a small park which offers a beautiful view on the tower.
Continuing towards the sea and you will find a small shrine, the Kushida Jinja Hama Miya (櫛田神社浜宮). It's funny to come across a small shrine in a place like this. I do not know what to pray but it is quiet and relaxing (if you ignore the noise of the factory next door). A few more steps and you are leftto the sea. There's no beach as it is surrounded by factories. The water is green / gray but there's wind and it is quite pleasantl. There is also a lot of fishermen. I wonder what they catch?
I liked eating a nikuman (肉まん, meat and vegetables bun) facing the sea while watching the boats leave the harbor. It was early fall and the weather was still warm, it was very nice.
14-1, Chikko Hon-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Tower opening hours:
10am to 10pm (last entry at 9:40pm)
Museum opening hours:
10am to 5pm (last entry at 4:40pm)
Bus line number 99 from Hakata station or number 90 from Tenjin (ride until the final stop for both).