This trip is my third time in Japan and I am already excited to go back for another adventure. What separates this trip from my other Japan visits is the fact that it’s spring this time. You know what that means–Cherry Blossoms! Yes it’s sakura-season in Japan and I can’t wait to share the beauty of this wonderful flower and this new place.
This time we head south to Fukuoka. Fukuoka is considered as the first prefecture to have been exposed to the culture of the continent as it faces Busan, South Korea by 214 kilometers and China further in the west. It is famous for flowers of different variety, old shrines and the world’s largest bronze statue.
So where to go in Fukuoka? Feel free to explore but here are my recommendations.
1. Ohori Park
Is one of the largest and most famous park in central Fukuoka with a large pond in the center. It was once a moat that serves as first line of defense of the Fukuoka Castle and was then converted into a pond in 1929. During spring, you will be wowed by cherry blossoms everywhere. There are a lot of activities you can do here like jog, walk your dog, rent a boat or just have a picnic and chill under Sakura trees.
2. Fukuoka Castle Ruins
The Fukuoka castle used to be the largest in the Kyushu region. During the Meiji Restoration, it was almost completely destroyed as an unwanted symbol of the feudal past.
Take note,”ruins” so you will not see much in this place but during spring it’s a must-visit as the entire castle ruin is surrounded with cherry blossoms. From the top it will surely be like a sea of sakura trees.
3. Fukuoka Tower
Towering 234 meters with 8, 000 half mirrors, this majestic modern structure is the tallest seaside tower in Japan. The view from the top will already provide you with the prefecture’s urban functions, nature and culture. The Fukuoka Tower is also a sanctuary to lovers. Like the Seoul Tower in Japan, lovers from different walks of life leave locks in fences with their name on it to celebrate their love. During the night, the tower illuminates in different patterns depending on the season. It has patterns such as cherry blossoms for spring, the Milky Way during summer, and so on. You can check their official website here.
- 800 Yen (Adults)
- 500 Yen (Students and Senior Citizens)
- 200 Yen (Children under 4)
Business Hours: 9:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Right next to the Fukuoka Tower is the Robosquare. It is a showroom where you can find over 200 robots and actually play, interact and learn about their production. There are also scheduled performances of these robots and we got to see the 4:30 PM show when we were there. It was awesome and fun too! Too bad we didn’t get to see the Geisha robot perform but it was still worth it. When you’re in Robosquare, look for PARO. It’s the most “kulit” robot among the others. I remember it responding to a performance after hearing the show’s background music. PARO also played a big role in relieving mental anguish of people who were affected by the great East Japan Earthquake.
Business Hours: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
5. Kawabata Shopping Arcade
This 400m long street attracts 12,000 – 25,000 visitors a week and is known as the oldest shopping arcade in the region dating back to mid 1950s. It connects the Hakata-za Theater from the north and Canal City to the South. The shopping arcade approximately has 125 stores, all the pasalubongs that you need from Hakata dolls, Yamakasa goods, bonsai, traditional fabrics, authentic Japanese restaurants and the likes.
Business Hours: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
6. Canal City Hakata
Although we did not have the chance to visit this place I still recommend that you include this in your itinerary. The Canal City Hakata is a shopping and entertainment complex famously called as the “city within the city”. You might want to head to the fifth floor where the Ramen Stadium is located. There, you can have a taste of the different noodle dishes in Japan including the famous Hakata Ramen. Before leaving, drop by the center of the canal. The water fountain display happens every 30 minutes.
Business Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
7. Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
This is one of those attractions that you would not want to miss especially during spring time. Uminonakamichi is a public park that stretches nearly four kilometers from end to end. It’s not a good idea to roam around the park on foot as attractions can be really far from each other. My partner does not know how to ride a bike so we rented a special kind for 400 yen for 3 hours. This can be rented at the entrance. The park is known for millions of flowers planted around the lawn. These variety of flowers bloom in different times of the year but the best time for viewing would be spring. Please remember that in order to enjoy the park, you need to allot atleast a day for this one. It’s a bit far from Fukuoka center but the trip will only last for about 45 minutes.
Admission: 410 Yen. Additional fees apply to some attractions in the park.
Business Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM
8. Nanzoin Temple
One of the most special attraction during my visit to Fukuoka is the Nanzoin Temple. This is where you will find the reclining Buddha that’s considered to be the largest bronze statue in the world. It’s majestic and breath-taking. When you arrive at the Nanzoin Mae Station, you will already see part of the Buddha’s head that’s colored green. It’s easy to follow the trail. Before leaving the place, don’t forget to make a wish by holding the rainbow strings held by Buddha or head to Buddha’s foot and ready your coins. You can use a coin from your country; place it on top of the golden designs and make a wish.
Business Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
9. Shofukuji Temple
We were not able to visit this place but the fact that this is the first Zen temple that’s ever built in Japan is enough to say that you should not miss the chance to see it. In 1195, this temple was built by a priest named Eisai. He’s the priest that started the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. It’s near Gion station so it’s quite at the center of the city.
Business Hours: Always open
Have you been to Fukuoka? What was your favorite place? Tell us in the comment section below. 🙂