Essential Fukuoka: 5 Attractions to Get a Real Taste of the City

Essential Fukuoka: 5 Attractions to Get a Real Taste of the City

Head down south and experience a different side of Japan through the harbor city of Fukuoka.

Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are three of the most visited cities in Japan with thousands of tourists flocking by each year. With the worldwide popularity of these three places, they tend to overshadow some of the least popular but equally unique cities within the country.

If you’re looking for something out of the been-there-done-that activities and attractions the big three cities have to offer, why not give the harbor city of Fukuoka a visit?

Here are some of the attractions you could look forward to in this city:

1. Shofukuji Temple

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

There are thousands of temples all over Japan. Some may be larger and grander than Shofukuji Temple in Fukuoka, but this particular one bears great significance as Japan’s first ever Zen temple. Zen Buddhism first came to Japan thousands of years ago through monks travelling from Mainland China. Since then, Zen Buddhism has gained a large following within the country and established various sects native to the country of Japan.

The temple itself has been around since the year 1195 and was founded by Eisai, the Zen priest to introduce Rinzai Zen Buddhism to Japan. Today, visitors are not allowed to step in the temple itself but are more than welcome to admire the building and temple grounds.

Schedule: No closing days
Hours: No closing hours
Entrance Fee: Free

2. Nokonoshima Island

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Instagram photo by @utkarsh.murarka

You absolutely cannot miss Nokonoshima Island when you visit during spring! The island becomes a breathtaking sea of flowers and colors when the flora blooms during springtime. It’s an excellent place to take your whole family for a nice and peaceful nature walk with an ocean view. For families travelling with kids, Nokonoshima island also has a petting zoo! Kids can get up close and personal with some of the island’s furry inhabitants.

Nokonoshima is perfect for those looking for the Japanese provincial, rustic experience. You’ll find some family-owned cafes, small souvenir stalls, and even a pottery workshop where you can try your hand at making your own tea cup.

The island is accessible through ferry or sea taxi. A two-way ferry ride would set you back around 460 yen, while a sea taxi would cost a little more at around 1,000 yen both ways. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes by ferry or sea taxi to get from Fukuoka to Nokonoshima Island.

Schedule: No closing days
Hours: Depending on last ferry ride
Entrance Fee: 1,000 yen (Nokonoshima Island Park)

3. Fukuoka Tower

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

A symbol of the city, Fukuoka Tower is a 234-metre high building with three observation decks to give visitors a bird’s-eye view of the harbor city. Besides the viewing decks, the tower also has a “Lover’s Sanctuary”. At the Lover’s Sanctuary, couples could have their names engraved on a heart-shaped lock that they could use to “lock” their love on a lover’s fence within the sanctuary.

Fukuoka Tower is within the Seaside Momochi area, a modern harbor side district that also has its own marine theme park. Before or after heading over for a climb up the tower, a trip around the Seaside Momochi area is good for spending a few hours to shop, dine, and have fun. At night, the tower is illuminated to show various light images that correspond to the seasons.

Schedule: Closed on varying dates every season
Hours: 9:00am – 10:00pm
Entrance fee:
Adults and High School Students – 800 yen
Primary and Junior High Students – 500 yen
Children Under 4 years old – 200 yen
Persons over 65 years old – 500 yen

4. Tenjin Underground Shopping City

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Of course, what trip to Japan is complete without a bit of shopping? For the ultimate shopping experience in Fukuoka, the best place to go would be Tenjin Underground Shopping City. It’s the largest underground shopping arcade in Kyushu and has everything you’ll ever need to shop till you drop. The underground arcade has over 150 shops and restaurants to keep you on your feet for hours on end.

After you’ve had your fill of shopping, the underground arcade is directly connected to the Tenjin-Minami subway station to take you and all your new stuff back to the hotel.

Schedule: No closing days
Hours: 10:00am to 9:00pm

5. Maizuru Castle Park

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Instagram photo by @asfaraman

The park in itself is good for a nice morning stroll but there’s another reason to visit besides enjoying the flora and fauna. Within Maizuru Castle Park, you’ll find the remains of what once was Fukuoka Castle. Lord Kuroda Nagamasa, a feudal lord who once ruled the area, established the castle way back in the 17th century. There isn’t much of the castle left today, but the place is still a good spot to visit to get a true feel of the city’s history.

The best time to visit Maizuru Castle Park is around late March to early April, when the park transforms into the best place in the city to view cherry blossoms.

Schedule: No closing days
Hours: No closing hours
Entrance Fee: Free


Fukuoka’s culture is slightly different from the rest of the Japan due to its close proximity to the Asian mainland. Besides the attractions mentioned here, it’s also a great idea to sample some of the city’s local cuisine with influences from travellers from the Korean peninsula and mainland China. After enjoying your stay in the city, why not explore the rest of Kyushu Island? There’s a whole different side to Japan you have yet to explore—you’re just getting started.

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