Featuring Tourist Attractions Throughout The Prefecture②
As the largest city in Kyushu and one of the oldest in Japan, Fukuoka abounds with outdoor activities, traditional handicrafts, and an exuberant food culture. Fukuoka Airport is the global gateway to the prefecture, connecting international visitors to the city center, with direct 5-minute subways connections to Hakata station. Fukuoka Tower is one of the city’s modern icons, best viewed from the outside as the building’s glittering illumination lights up at dusk, or from the top 123-meter observation deck with 360-degree views of the city, Hakata Bay, and the Sefuri Mountain range.
For a glimpse of Fukuoka prefecture’s traditional side, Ukiha Inari Shrine’s 91 red torii gates climbing up the side of the mountain has recently gained popularity on social media. Foodies, don’t miss a visit to Hakata Ikkousha Hakata Main Branch for a bowl of Hakata-style tonkotsu pork bone broth ramen, a local dish that has cemented Fukuoka as one of the best ramen destinations in all of Japan.
Join us as we explore this richly complex prefecture, where traditions and modernity mix to create Fukuoka’s regional specialties.
Nature-lovers seeking sandy island beaches and gently sloping mountain trails can hop onto a short ferry ride to Oshima Island in northwest Fukuoka. Follow the Kyushu OLLE Hiking Munakata Oshima Course to pass through abundant woodlands thriving with rich foliage and wild birds leading up to panoramic views of the island. One of the featured spots on the course is the Windmill Observatory, which brims with outstanding views of the sea and seasonal transformations, when the hills are carpeted with cosmos flowers in late summer and silver pampas grass in fall.
Back on the main Kyushu island, we head further west to Itoshima city, where art, phenomenal coastal views, and a laid-back reputation have made it a popular spot for relaxation-lovers to dip their toes in its crystal blue waters. Artist-run DOVER is a gallery, art studio, and art school where artist James Dover has managed to capture Itoshima’s laid-back nature in his paintings. At Itoshima Kurashi × Kokonoki, we satisfy our shopping curiosity by browsing local crafts, Itoshima-based trendy fashion wear, artworks, and kitchenware, while savoring tasty cakes and other treats at Itoshima’s burgeoning coffee scene.
One of Itoshima’s most photogenic spots is Sakurai Futamigaura. A massive sacred rope connects two rocks known as the Married Couple Rocks, which are the stars of an annual ceremony when shrine parishioners make and replace the sacred hanging rope. The striking white torii gate standing on the coast’s edge and the summer solstice sunset as the sun drifts between the two rocks attract both casual visitors and dedicated photographers alike.
For a take on Fukuoka’s agricultural bounty, we travel inland to southern Fukuoka, to the tea-production region of Yame Central Tea Garden in Yame City. This expansive tea-growing region is famed for its fragrant, high-quality Yame green tea grown under shade for most of its lifespan. While there are several cafes where you can sample the local Yame green tea, the Yame Tea Experience at Yokomachimachiya Community Plaza offers an informative demonstration on the different tea leaf varieties and ways to prepare and drink Yame green tea.
Fukuoka’s proximity to the ocean and mountain ranges also means that it’s conducive to fruit growth, yielding flavorful fruits such as strawberries, kiwis, grapes, persimmons, and pears. At the third generation-owned Shunko-en in Ukiha city, we hand-pick seasonal fruits right off the branches and bushes, sampling our delicious harvest along the way. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive display of Fukuoka’s agricultural bounty, check out the Ito Saisai Farmer’s Market back in Itoshima, where local farmers sell directly to customers in one communal space.
For a luxurious rest in a historical setting, we spend a night at NIPPONIA HOTEL in Yame Fukushima Merchant Town. This 100-year-old renovated sake brewery offers ultimate relaxation in its stylish accommodation, including a private Yame green tea bath in a beautifully crafted cedar bathtub.
Next, we head to Yanagawa city, known for its picturesque canals, for a glimpse into Fukuoka’s feudal history. At OHANA, a former villa residence of the Yanagawa feudal lord’s Tachibana Estate, we browse western and Japanese-style rooms before admiring the private garden from its 100-tatami-mat room. The Tachibana Museum houses some of the family’s heirlooms, crafts, and art that has been designated national cultural property. Finally, a visit to Yanagawa would not be complete without a ride on gondola-like Donko boats during a Yanagawa River cruise. Boat navigators practice in full effect the Yanagawa mentality of Yuturato, meaning “take it slowly and leisurely,” as they shepherd you down the charming canals of the city.
Akizuki in central Fukuoka is another district where time seems to have stood still for the past century, with lovely stone archway bridges and a cherry blossom-lined shopping street leading to the Akizuki castle ruins.
Fukuoka is also home to two traditional handicrafts: Kurume Kasuri indigo dyeing and Koishiwarayaki pottery. Our first stop is at Unagi no Nedoko, housed in two former merchant residences. They act as a showroom and boutique for products made by Fukuoka’s local craftspeople, who continue to pass on traditional techniques that have been honed to perfection over centuries. Kurume Kasuri Ikeda Kasuri Kobo invites visitors to make their own Fukuoka handicraft in guided natural indigo-dyeing workshops. Here you can also watch artisans hand-weave the fabrics, in one of the few remaining places that still uses traditional techniques to make Kurume Kasuri. If pottery is more up your alley, the Koishiwarayaki Ceramics Museum showcases the 350-year-old pottery tradition, with examples of the “Tobi-Kanna” patterns and “Hakeme” brushstrokes that are the two main trademarks of the Koishiwarayaki style. Finally, at Yanase Honkamamoto Pottery, we try making our own Koishiwarayaki with the pottery master, Yanase-san, who is eager to help us transform our clay into works of art.
Outdoor adventurers will appreciate Fukuoka’s natural offerings, with activities such as waterfall climbing, cycling along the coastline, and horseback riding that span the breadth of Fukuoka’s diverse landscapes. The Onga River Waterfall climbing activity in central Fukuoka takes us waist-deep into the river before climbing up the mountain against gentle waterfalls. The UNESCO world heritage site Shimbaru-Nuyama Mounded Tomb Group in northern Fukuoka takes a gentle approach to outdoor adventure, as we explore the 41 kofun tumulus mounds covered in cosmos flowers in late summer. In coastal Okagaki, we rent bikes at the Okagaki Town Tourism Station, then head out onto well-maintained bike paths along the shore. If you prefer the beach on horseback, try beach horse riding at the Canadian Camp Riding Club, where guides will lead you down several Okagaki beaches with varying seasonal courses.
Finally, a trip to Fukuoka wouldn’t be complete without visiting at least one of its holy sites. Munakata Taisha Shrine in northwest Fukuoka is a collection of three shrines considered one of the oldest in Japan, with references to this sacred world heritage site appearing in ancient Japanese texts and mythology. The Yohaijo Takamiya is a shrine-less pavilion at Munakata Taisha Shrine, hosting festivals and nighttime kagura dances dedicated to the shrine’s deities. Roughly 15-minutes away by car rests the 1,700-year-old shrine Miyajidake Shrine, home to “Japan’s Best Three,” including the super-sized shimenawa rope talisman, mighty copper bell, and massive taiko drum.
It’s hard not to feel Fukuoka’s pride for its vibrant culture, historical sites, and traditional handicrafts during a visit to the region. The undulating forms of Fukuoka Art Museum’s outdoor sculptures speak to Fukuoka’s modern art scene. The Miike Coal Mines are reminders of Fukuoka’s industrial revolution during the Meiji era. The OHAKO former Otsubo tea house in Yame is a modern art gallery with stone-like objects on display for visitors to pick up and admire. While we do our best to convey Fukuoka’s energy, it simply can’t be summed up in a matter of sentences. But one thing is for certain: Fukuoka’s lifestyles, culture, and art are all about embracing its history while passionately looking into the future. We hope that you’ll make the journey to discover your own Fukuoka adventure!
Access to the rural areas of Fukuoka is most convenient by rental car. Several rental car companies are within walking distance of JR Hakata Station in Fukuoka city.
2-3-26 Momochihama, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Ukiha Inari Shrine
1513-9 Nagarekawa, Ukihamachi, Ukiha City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Hakata Ikkousha Hakata Main Branch
3-23-12 Hakata-ekimae, Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Kyushu OLLE Hiking Munakata Oshima Course
Oshima, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture
2797 Oshima, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture
4656-3 Shima-sakurai, Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Itoshima Kurashi × Kokonoki
3-9-1 Maebaru-chuo, Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture
https://coconoki.com/ (Japanese Website)
Shima-sakurai, Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Yame Central Tea Garden
375-2 Hon, Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Ito Saisai Farmer’s Market
567 Hatae, Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture
https://ja-itoshima.or.jp/itosaisai/ (Japanese Website)
1481-4 Yamakita, Ukihamachi, Ukiha City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●NIPPONIA HOTEL Yamefukushima
204 Nishikyomachi, Motomachi, Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture
https://www.yame-fukushimastay.com/ (Japanese Website)
●Yanagawa Tachibana-tei Ohana
1 Shinhokamachi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
1 Shinhokamachi, Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Yanagawa River cruise
Yanagawa City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Akizuki Castle Town
Akizuki-nodori, Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Unagi no Nedoko Old Terasaki House
327 Motomachi, Yame City, Fukuoka
https://unagino-nedoko.net/store/ (Japanese Website)
●Unagi no Nedoko Old Marubayashi House
267 Motomachi, Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Kurume Kasuri Ikeda Kasuri Kobo (Indigo Dyeing Experience)
1840 Hisatomi, Chikugo City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Koishiwarayaki Ceramics Museum
730-9 Koishiwara, Toho Village, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Yanase Honkamamoto Pottery (Koishiwarayaki Pottery Experience)
790 Koishiwara, Toho Village, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Onga River shower climing activity
328-1 Kamiusui, Kama City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Shimbaru-Nuyama Mounded Tomb Group, and cosmos in the tomb group
616 Nuyama, Fukutsu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Okagaki Town Tourism Station (Cycling Experience)
670-34 Okagaki Town, Onga County, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Canadian Camp Riding Club
44-1 Konominato, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture
http://www.canacan.jp/access/ (Japanese Website)
●World Heritage Site Munakata Taisha Shrine Hetsugu, Takamiya Saijo
2331 Tashima, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture
7-1 Miyaji-motomachi, Fukutsu City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Fukuoka Art Museum
1-6 Ohori Koen, Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●Miike Coal Mines
1-86-3 Miyaharamachi, Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture
●OHAKO former Otsubo tea house
21-1 Motomachi, Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture
https://unagino-nedoko.net/store/ (Japanese Website)
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