Fukuoka : my advices and secrets

5:19 AM Béné (ベネ) 0 Comments

In addition to guide books,  I always liked to have reviews from people living or people who have visited a place I want to visit. They often have good advices to share that can dramatically change a journey. That's why I decided to deliver you all my secrets and advices on Fukuoka.

Béné no Fukuoka !

three places you shouldn't miss in FUKUOKA city

Nonokoshima island | my visit

Located at a 10 minute boat off Fukuoka, the island is the perfect place to see seasonal flowers  all the year long. The large Nokonoshima Island park has of gigantic flowers fields  overlooking the sea making it a popular spot for photos. Cosmos fields in October and sunflowers ones in summer are especially impressive.

Tocho-ji temple | my visits

Not far from Hakata Station, the temple is easily recognizable thanks to its 5-storey pagoda.
On the second floor of the temple, there is the largest wooden Buddha statue of Japan (photos are forbidden). Enter under the statue by its right side: a long, narrow tunnel plunged into total darkness awaits you. Then try to find the metal ring on the right side wall. Make a wish by touching it to achieve bliss. Claustrophobic and people afraid of black to abstain.
Just beside the temple, there is an excellent mochi and senbei (rice cracker) store called Mochi Yoshi (もち吉). People can enjoy different kinds for free and an original packaging bottled water is offered for every purchase.

Ohori and Maizuru parks | my visits

The Ohori Park is famous for its big lake surrounded by a 3km walk. There are also children playgrounds, a Starbucks, restaurants or froze yogurt shops. You can also rent a swan boat. It is the perfect place for a jog, a walk or a picnic with friends or family, on a date or even alone. Within the park, there is a  Japanese garden, the Fukuoka city art museum and a theater / museum about No.

Its neighbor Maizuru park contains the remains of Fukuoka Castle. Archaeological excavations are underway and people can even visit the sites for free !
This park is full of seasonal flowers and is great to visit in all seasons: in winter for plum trees, at spring for cherry blossoms, in summer for water lilies or in autum for maple trees, and so on !
These are two places where I come when I want to relax and walk quietly.

three places you shouldn't miss in FUKUOKA prefecture

Dazaifu | my visits

This former regional capital is a popular place with its many temples and shrines, traditional houses, its shopping street and the Kyushu National Museum. Pleasant in any season , Dazaifu is particularly visited in late winter for its 6000 plum trees and in autumn for its beautiful colors. Take time to stop for a photo of Starbucks which has a very creative design, created by architect Kengo Kuma . There is even a kimono rental service, ideal for walking between traditional buildings.

Nanzoin's Great Reclining Buddha  | my visit

The biggest reclining Buddha statue in Japan is really impressive ! The wholearea is also very nice to visit with many small shrines lost in the woods, statues and so on.
At the exit of the nearest station there is a musical bridge. Take one of the sticks and try to reproduce a Japanese traditional song .

Yanagawa | my visit

Also called the Kyushu's little Venic, this small town in the south of the prefecture is interspersed with numerous canals. People can ride gondolas to cross the town and reach the historic center with its many temples, old houses and restaurants serving grilled eel.

a place to stay

To fully optimize your stay,  I recommend to find an accommodation in the area indicated above. In addition to abound in hosting solutions for all price, it is very easy to travel to and from this area on foot, by bus or by subway.

an experience to try

Hakata doll painting is pretty fun. Choose a clay doll and colors, customize it as you want and bring it home. 
Other experience : at the Hakata Furusato museum, you can try to lift a beam that is used forYamakasa festival floats :  a good way to understand what men endure annually .

a speciality to eat

The most famous local specialty is the tonkotsu ramen noodles to be ordered "kata-men" (al dente). This tasty pork bone soup will warm you while your palate will discover different textures between the fondant of pork and firmness of noodles. Cetween chains (Ippudo or Ichiran ) to small stalls, through yatai, you will surely find the best one for your taste. How to know if a shop sells ramen ? Be aware of the smell.

something to be aware about

Beware of yatai (food stall)  whose prices are not clearly indicated. In this case, it is better to ask before ordering to avoid an unpleasant surprise. Also, beware of bus timetables : end of service is quite early  (from 10:30pm for some lines ), especially on weekends. Have a look at Nishitetsu website to check timetables in prior.

something to bring back home

A Hakata doll or some local cookies like Hiyoko, nikawa senbei or torimon ! You can find everything on Hakata station's first floor so you can buy what you want just before your departure.


a not to miss festival

The Yamakasa (山笠)  festival, dating back over 700 years, takes place every year from July 1st to 15th. Gigantic floats (kazari-Yamakasa) are arranged around the Hakata and Chûô wards. As of July 10th, daily trainings are held to prepare men for the last day race (oiyama) : they carry decorative one-ton floats around the city for about 5km.

To attend the festival in the best conditions, I to reserve your place around midnight (the festival starts at 4:59am), the best place being near the Gion-machi subway station and have Hakata station in your back. Here is the 2015 course map by Fukuoka Now magazine

a little secret to share

Climb to the Hakata station 11th floor to discover a magical 360-degree view of the city. On daytime or at night, it is a delight for eyes. During the day, the esplanade offers games for children, small shops and catering services. You can even pray at the travel shrine.

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