10 Things to See in Fukuoka

If you’ve been to Kyushu’s largest city’s downtown, would I be wrong to say that it’s the less intimidating version of Tokyo city? I can’t count how many times I told my husband how much I liked the place the whole time we were there. I was under the erroneous impression of the city when I only saw photos of particular sightseeing spots. Just after spending a few hours looking around Tenjin area, the quietness, impressive architecture, similar height of the buildings, tidiness, wide and wireless main roads, preserved nature, all of these revised my original impression of Fukuoka.

We admired it so much that we talked about moving there soon, but we both knew it was just wishful thinking. Who knows? I could only sigh for now. So far, this trip has been the best for this year’s travel log. With the cooperating weather, we were able to tick off places and activities on our list. It’s a great pleasure to share what we saw with you. Links are available for your reference only.

  1. Fukuoka Open Top Bus

This one hour tour gave me a different experience of the city. The seat from about 3 meters above the ground allowed me to feel the breeze, view the nature, bask in the ray of the sun while acquiring some information about a few historical places and understanding why a certain area of Fukuoka requires the buildings to follow a standard height. I have motion sickness but I’d love to ride this again.

img_2182

We took the seaside course for less than 2,000 JPY each.

2. Kushida Shrine

It may not be vast but it’s still a spot where you can enjoy the serenity and appreciate the Japanese culture. In its yard is an enormous symbolic gingko tree with two monumental tablets of the Mongolian invasion. (Free admission)

img_2183

A gigantic structure used for festivals, I guess.

3. Shofukuji Temple

When we got to the temple on foot, I can’t deny that I was surprised not to see a crowd. The place was as silent as an old pond. However, it was an advantage for me as I love a quiet moment. We decided to rest there for a while and admired the greenery and blossoms. I have the feeling that it would be more beautiful to see when the flowers are in full bloom. The stray cats that seemed to be the guards added beauty to the place. (Free admission)

img_2185

Can you feel the peaceful atmosphere?

4. Ohori Park

Green and blue are all in the same place. Who doesn’t want that? I totally understand why this alluring park is beloved by the locals as an urban oasis. Had the chance to turn into a duck for a full 30 minutes with the power given by the Rental Boat which can easily be found beside the cafe. (Free admission)

img_2186

For 1,000 yen, you’ll get a chance to pedal your way around the water while reveling in the fresh air and landscape.

5. Momochi Seaside Park

What if I told you that this park was created with an artificial beach? I just found out about it and I could only shake my head with amusement. While we were there, I imagined we were in a different place. The sea breeze caressing my face, the yakitori aroma, the gentle warmth of the sun, blue skies, ah, they made me feel so alive! (Free admission)

img_2187

A perfect place to unwind!

6. Canal City Hakata

Built around an artificial canal is this commercial complex that features a variety of shops. Gourmet and entertainment are present here and there’s no reason to be bored. For me, it was fun to just stroll and saw things that were pleasing to the eyes.

img_2184

Love the greenery!

7. Fukuoka Castle Ruins

Designated as a national historic site with few of the observatory towers being conserved today, this shouldn’t be missed. This is where I viewed the old and new if you know what I mean. (Free admission)

img_2189

A preserved observatory tower standing still before me.

8. Fukuoka Tower

The tallest beach tower in the country and also known as the Mirror Sail. We got there in daylight and I dare say that the panoramic view of the city from the observation floor was remarkable. I wonder how it would be after dark. It was a windy day so the tower was swaying to the rhythm and it made me feel a bit drowsy and light-headed at the same time. We bought souvenirs on the first floor with no regrets. 

img_2188

Admission fee: 800 JPY per adult and a 20% discount for foreigners

9. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

The road approaching the shrine is lined with stalls selling local specialties.  The area was well kept no matter how busy it was. It was overwhelming to see that the visiting people were mostly Chinese and Korean nationalities. We burnt a lot of calories here and at the same time adored the wonders of nature. On the way back to the station which was very close, we indulged in one of the popular sweets called onigawara monaka, a mochi wafer with sweet bean jam filling. It was warm and not overly sweet. A simple snack, yet delicious. I’m pretty sure it was made with patience and pride. (Free admission)

img_2190

I also commended the people around us for the way they conducted themselves at the time.

img_2191

onigawara monaka, a must try

And last but definitely not least,

10. Yatai (Street Food Stalls)

The sight of these humbling stalls surely differentiates the city from Tokyo. One shouldn’t leave without dining in one of them. Since the booths are owned by different people, I can’t tell you which one is the best. We were just fortunate to find one that served delicious grilled dishes. 

img_2192

If you’re gutsy enough to strike up a conversation with strangers who can speak English, it would be a noteworthy night out.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. As much as possible, I don’t want to overstuff this with photos, so I’m inviting you to check out my Instagram if you want to see the rest of my Fukuoka snaps.