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Fukuoka is a modern city; most of its buildings are new. Historically, it was divided by the central river into two separate cities, Hakata (博多) and Fukuoka (福岡), before their merge in 1889. The main railway station and port are still known as Hakata Station and Hakata Port.
The city has two centres: one in Hakata and one in Tenjin. There is a Tourist Information Centre in Tenjin, found on the ground floor, in front of Mitsukoshi and under the Nishitetsu Fukuoka station. They have English speakers (and other languages) available. For information in English, visit the Rainbow Plaza, located on the 8th floor of the Inter Media Station (IMS) building. The IMS is accessible by subway and is just a three minute walk from the Tenjin station. In the middle of Hakata JR train station there is a Tourist Information Centre (sometimes with English speakers) with brochures in English, Japanese and other languages. They can help with transport information and bookings. On the third floor of the ACROS building, near Nakasu, you can find more information in English.
The surrounding cities and towns make up the prefecture of Fukuoka.
Fukuoka is a good starting point for first-time visitors to Japan. Being a sizable, modern city it's still not hard to get around. A subway connects most of the city's main attractions. Providing transportation between Hakata, Tenjin, Fukuoka International Airport, Meinohama, and Nishijin (where you can find Fukuoka Tower and the baseball ground of the Softbank Hawks: Fukuoka Yahoo! Dome). The main station in Hakata marks the terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train. (The Kyushu Shinkansen line is currently under construction, which will eventually link the existing Sanyo Shinkansen directly with Kagoshima, at the southern tip of Kyushu.)
Fukuoka Airport (IATA: FUK)  is located to the east of the city, surprisingly close to the city centre (only two subway stops away from the Hakata JR station). Within the country, Japan Airlines and ANA fly to Fukuoka from most larger cities, including Tokyo (both Haneda and Narita), Osaka (Itami and Kansai), and Nagoya (Komaki and Centrair Airport). There are scheduled flights to most major cities in China and South Korea, as well as Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but the only scheduled transpacific flights are to Honolulu and Guam.
The airport is split into four terminals. Broadly speaking, Terminal 1 handles domestic flights to smaller cities (e.g. Sendai, Komatsu, and those around Kyushu), while Terminal 2 covers larger cities (e.g. Nagoya, Okinawa/Naha, Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo). The two are essentially different parts of the same building, 5 min apart on foot, and the subway station is located under Terminal 2. Terminal 3 is also for domestic passengers, but is not used for departing flights. The International Terminal is on the opposite side of the runway and requires a 10-min bus transfer from T2 (free, leaving about every 20 min).
From Tokyo, flying to Fukuoka is much faster than the Shinkansen, and not significantly more expensive. The usual one-way fare on Skymark Airlines  from Tokyo Haneda is ¥19,800, compared to ¥22,320 from Tokyo Station on the Nozomi Shinkansen, and steep discounts are available if you book in advance (as low as ¥5,300 with Skymark's "SKY Bargain discount). The flight takes two hours while the train takes five. If you have a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), of course, you'll still want to take the train, though you can't take the fastest of the Shinkansen ("Nozomi") with the JR Pass.
Fukuoka's Hakata Station is the terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen. Shinkansen services are offered from Kokura in Kitakyushu (20 mins), Hiroshima (1 hr), Okayama (1 3/4 hrs) and Osaka (2 1/2 hrs), and through via the Tokaido Shinkansen from Kyoto (2 3/4 hrs by Nozomi), Nagoya (3 1/2 hrs by Nozomi) and Tokyo (5 hrs by Nozomi).
If you have a JR Pass, you cannot use the Nozomi, so if you are traveling from Tokyo or Nagoya you will have to take one of the two hourly Hikari trains from Tokyo and change to the Hikari Rail Star en route. Be sure to check the timetables carefully for the best connection: During the middle of the day it's best to take an Okayama-bound Hikari and change to the Rail Star at Himeji, where trains arrive on the same platform and the connection time is under 10 minutes. At other times, when a connection at Himeji is not optimal, you'll have to take the Hikari that terminates in Shin-Osaka and change to the Rail Star there; connection times at Shin-Osaka are usually 30 minutes. The two Hikari services bring you from Tokyo to Fukuoka in about six hours.
Another option from Tokyo is to take a westbound sleeper express such as the Sunrise Izumo or Sunrise Seto, leaving Tokyo around 10PM, and then connecting to the Shinkansen at Okayama early in the morning, to arrive in Fukuoka before 9AM. While this takes much longer and costs more than the Shinkansen (from ¥25000), it provides the benefit of doubling as lodging and transport.
From Kagoshima, the new Kyushu Shinkansen line will eventually run to Fukuoka, but currently stops at Shin-Yatsushiro, with connections to "Relay Tsumabe" express trains bound for Fukuoka. The total trip takes about 2 1/2 hrs and costs ¥10,050 each way, and is covered by the JR Pass. On March 12, 2011, the entire Kyushu Shinkansen is expected to be operational, reducing this journey to about one hour.
From Nagasaki, the limited express Kamome runs hourly (sometimes twice an hour), taking 2 hrs and costing ¥4,710 each way.
For historical reasons, Fukuoka's train station is called Hakata. If you search for schedules to "Fukuoka" online, you will likely be given an itinerary for a totally different (and much less interesting) city in northern Japan.
Overnight by train with rest stop
If you hold a Japan Rail Pass, and you wish to travel overnight from Tokyo (or any other distant city), you may want to split up your journey, stopping at an intermediate destination en-route in order to sleep somewhere. The cost incurred will only be for the hotel room; the Rail Pass covers your transportation. This is a good way to travel overnight, especially if you are able to find cheap accomodations, such as a business hotel. Yes, it may be a little hectic, and it might require some research, but this method carries two significant advantages: location and money. You will more than likely find good accomodations very close to a main train station in a smaller city, compared to a big city such as Tokyo, and it will more than likely be cheaper than hotels found in big cities. You could use the money you save to forward some of your luggage to Fukuoka using a luggage delivery service and take an overnight bag with you, which will make the journey easier.
As of October 2010, here is one way you could go about this from Tokyo: at 7 PM, take the Hikari train for a 4-hour ride to Himeji. Once there you can take a rest at Himeji's Toyoko Inn which costs as low as ¥5600 for a single room. At 6:35 the next morning, board the first bullet train of the day, a Hikari Rail Star, and you will be in Fukuoka before 9:00. This takes longer than taking the overnight train and Rail Star as described above, but it is cheaper; you only have to pay for the hotel room, complete with your own toilet and shower.
Many overnight bus services run into Fukuoka from other parts of the country.
The Moonlight overnight bus runs from Osaka Umeda to Fukuoka in 9 1/2 hrs (¥10000 one way); The Kyoto overnight bus runs from Kyoto to Fukuoka, also in 9 1/2 hrs (¥10500 one way); and the oddly-named Dontaku runs from Nagoya to Fukuoka in 11 hrs (¥10500 one way).
Willer Express has a service from Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe from ¥4800 with advance purchase tickets as cheap as ¥4100. Other services are Nagoya (¥5400), Okayama (¥4300) and Hiroshima (¥2500). They have an English website with online booking available. Discounts for tickets purchased 21 and 14 days in advance.
If you're really ambitious, Nishitetsu bus runs an overnight service, the Hakata, from the Shinjuku expressway bus terminal in Tokyo to Fukuoka non-stop. The ride, at just over 14 hrs, is Japan's longest overnight bus service (¥8,000 for economy class *¥12,000 for high seasons, ¥15,000 for business class and ¥19,000 for first class, some roundtrip discounts are available).
JR Kyushu's Jet Ferry the Beetle  hydrofoils to Busan (South Korea). It runs five times a day and takes just under 3 hrs for ¥13,000 (¥24,000 round trip discount fare; ¥20,000 round trip on weekdays). They are quick, but in 2005 one hit a whale and had to be towed back to Busan. Since then, the JR Kyushu Jet Ferry Inc. plays sounds that whales dislike using speakers to avoid further accidents. An economy-class ticket on the Meimon Taiyo Ferry  from Osaka to Kita Kyushu costs ¥6,000 (20% discount if booked online); tickets in other price ranges are available.
Bullet train on the cheap
Want to try out the bullet train, but put off by those high fares? Ride the Hakata Minami Line (博多南線) from Hakata Station. Originally built to connect to the train depot, the 8.5 km, ten minute ride uses Shinkansen equipment (¥290.)
Fukuoka is served by three subway  lines. The Hakata subway station, located under the JR Hakata Station, can take passengers straight to Fukuoka International Airport  (6 mins, ¥250), as well as to Tenjin, the city's de facto downtown district, and other major stops. An all day subway pass Ichinichi johshaken costs ¥600, a ticket to the next station Otonari kippu costs ¥100;. There are ¥1000, ¥3000 and ¥5000 F Cards (with ¥1100, ¥3300, ¥5700 value). There are also ¥3000, ¥5000 Yokanet cards (with ¥1100, ¥3300 value) which can be used on all Nishitetsu services and the subway. And ¥1000, ¥3000, ¥5000 WaiWai cards (with same value to cost but ¥20 discounted for each ride only subway line) which can be used on JR-Kyushu line around Fukuoka-city and the subway.
Fukuoka is well served by Nishitetsu  buses. Buses around the Tenjin and Hakata area cost ¥100. Outside that area, prices go up slightly to about ¥440 for greater distances.
The city is small and compact enough to wander around on foot. In the Tenjin area, Tenjin Chikagai (underground city) runs under Watanabe street and has many shops. It also connects the Tenjin and Tenjin Minami subways stations with most major department stores and the Nishitetsu Fukuoka station. There is a passenger tunnel which connects Hakata and Gion subway stations and is useful during the frequent rains in summer and the bitter cold winds in winter, the latter of which is close to some of Fukuoka's temples and shrines.
Taxis are available; they start from about ¥550, not the cheapest way to go. Some drivers speak English, but it's best to have your destination written down in Japanese if you do not speak the language. Velotaxis are also available; They are ¥500 for the greater Tenjin area. Also, an environmentally friendly option is the human operated bicycle taxis.
If you can get a hold of a bicycle, it is probably the best way to get around. Parking does become a problem in some areas, but in Tenjin there are long term (6AM to 11PM) underground parking areas, which are free for the first 3 hrs. BIC Camera's 8th floor, which is opposite Kego shrine, has free bicycle parking from 10AM to 9PM.
In addition to the free parking in Tenjin, street bicycle meters are another great spot to park a bike. Much like many shopping centers around the world, it takes about ¥100 to release the bike lock, that wraps around the front wheel to be connected back into the slot. For a safer bicycle parking, use two bike locks and chain the front and back tires to the body of the bike.
- Visit the ACROS building is Tenjin Chuo Park. ACROS has a rooftop garden which is open during the day, and makes for a good view of the city. The building has a terraced roof that merges with the park and contains some 35,000 plants representing 76 species. Just east of ACROS is the former Prefectural Guest House, featuring turn of the century architecture.
- Tourists visiting Fukuoka should not miss the beautiful Ohori Park located 2 stops west of Tenjin on the subway. The park has a 2 km jogging track that is popular with locals throughout the year. Also, next to Ohori Park is Maizuru park, featuring the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and a good view of the city.
- Fukuoka is the home ground of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, check out a game at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome, which is about 15 mins walking distance from Tōjinmachi Station of Fukuoka City Subway. You can get an outfield unreserved seat for ¥1,000.
- Fukuoka tower,(福岡タワー). This tower is 234M, and the view from the tower is magnificent. In Christmas and the Star Festival:TNABATA in July 7th,this tower is decorated. This is a symbol of Fukuoka.
- Near the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome, is a stretch of beach known as Momochihama, where visitors can enjoy a bit of swimming and sun. While the water isn't as clean as the waters further west and east in Fukuoka, you can still take a refreshing dip. The area behind the Seahawk Hotel is good. It's less crowded during the summer.
- Tucked into a building near Fukuoka Tower, you can find ROBOSQUARE. Admission is free, once inside you can see and play with different kinds of robots as well as watch some of the engineers at work. Be warned however, that despite the imposing sounding name ROBOSQUARE only consists of one medium sized-room with a few robotics exhibits and some toy robots and is primarily aimed at children. Also, there is very little English.
- If you are visiting in November, be sure to check out the sumo matches held in Fukuoka. You are bound to see some of the sumo wrestlers out on the streets doing a bit of tourism as well!
- Kabuki theatre is also an experience worth checking out. Check times and prices at the Hakata-za near Nakasu. If you don't want to stay for the whole show, or don't have so much money to spend, you can watch part of a show for about ¥800. Ask at the ticket office.
- Noh theatre is also a cultural experience that some may not want to miss. There is a Noh theatre in Ohori Koen. Many of the performances are free, get more information at the Rainbow Plaza (IMS building 8th floor). Don't worry, if you fall asleep during the play, it's almost expected. It's all part of the Noh experience!
- Visit the Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu, just 30 minutes from Tenjin. This shrine is popular with students as it is dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane who was deified as Temman Tenjin or Kanko, the god of culture and scholars. You can get there from Fukuoka/Tenjin Station, Nishitetsu line. About ¥390. See the link at the bottom of the page.
- Kyushu National Museum, . It's the newest National Museum following Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. Based on the concept "understand Japanese culture from the point of Asian view", they don't only exhibit but also preserve and investigate cultural assets, then prepare a variety of educational events to keep the museum fresh. The museum generally has interesting temporary exhibits, so check the website.
For a good listing of what's happening and places to eat and drink, the local monthly English language Fukuoka Now  magazine is a great start.
- Hakata-Dontaku(博多どんたく)This is a traditional festival.It is held on March,We can see traditional dance. "Dontaku" means "Sunday" in Dutch. People enjoy this festival.
- The area is famous for 2 local annual festivals, the Dontaku (May 3-4) and the Yamakasa (July 1-15), both of which are some of Japan's oldest festivals and draw huge crowds..
- For a view of the bay, check out the Bayside Place Hakata Pier:a marine terminal for the regular service ferries for Tsushima Island and Hakata Bay cruise boats. The terminal building has a 8-meter-tall "Aquarium," with 6,000 fish. The Hakata Port Tower has an observatory 70 meters above the ground, allowing for a great view of the port and the streets of Fukuoka.
- In the summer, many of the department stores have beer gardens on their roofs, with buffet style courses and all you can drink for about 2 hours. If you have a bit of cash (around ¥3500) it's a nice way to spend a hot summer evening.
- The park behind Solaria Plaza, Kego Koen, is a great place to go to experience Tenjin's youth culture and do some people watching. Don't be surprised if some of these kids try to approach you for a bit of random conversation.
- If you haven't tried karaoke yet, why not try it now? There are many karaoke places to choose from, some with costumes you can borrow (just don't try to take them home!). If you just want to go for a couple of hours, most places will charge by the hour; morning and afternoon hours being the cheapest. If you want to make a night of it, from 11PM, most have free time systems which mean nomihodai (all you can drink) and all you can sing for about ¥2500, until 5AM.
- Get out of the city. Although Fukuoka doesn't seem like the premier beach destination city, there are quite a few beautiful beaches in and around Fukuoka city. Most are an easy train ride away. While surfing isn't very good during the summer, a few waves can be caught around Mitoma (take the subway to Kaizuka Stn, then transfer to the Nishitetsu Miyajidake line to Mitoma Stn. Takes about 20 minutes or so. From the station, it's a 10 minute walk to the beach. West of the city, Nijinohama and Futamigaura, are supposed to have nice waves. To get to Nijinohama, you'll need a car. Drive to Maebaru IC, head in the Shima(志摩) direction along Kendo 12. Go straight at the intersection in front of Shima town office and turn left at Nogita intersection in front of 7/11. 50 min from Tenjin. To get to Futamigaura, take a SHOWA bus for Tani from JR Chikuzen Maebaru (so first take a subway to Chikuzen Maebaru if you are in Tenjin or Hakata). Get off the bus at Imuta (around 30 minutes). About a 15 minute walk to the beach.
- Check out Club Olympus Fitness Centre & Spa for some recreation or a massage. Equipped with a health and fitness club and relaxation lounges for men and women. Club Olympus Fitness Centre & Spa, Grand Hyatt Fukuoka Hotel, 1-2-82 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku, ☎ +81 92 282 1234 (firstname.lastname@example.org), .
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SUGGESTED ITINERARIES Hakata
- From Hakata Station, head to the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum for a glimpse of the Hakata way of life. http://www.hakatamachiya.com/english/. It's about 15 minutes away from the station on foot, or a bit less if you exit on Gion station.
- From there, head over to Kushida Shrine, which lies in the heart of old Hakata.
- Canal City is just a hop and a skip away from Kushida Shrine. http://www.canalcity.co.jp/eg/index.html Canal City offers shopping, shopping and more shopping. However, if you've worked up a bit of an appetite while wandering Hakata, Canal City also offers several dining options for the hungry tourist. Indian curry, Japanese lunch sets, pasta, the famous Hakata ramen, sushi and fast food can all be found.
- After Canal City, walk along the river towards Hakata-za, Fukuoka's Kabuki theater. On the way, from about 4pm, you'll see the yatai (food stall) vendors setting up their booths and preparing ingredients for the evening crowds.
- Alternatively, take a wander through the Nakasu Kawabata shopping arcade as you head towards Hakata-za. The arcade is a long, old-fashioned shopping streets with a variety of shops selling traditional Japanese goods among other items. Good for picking up souvenirs and other randomness.
- Hakata-za is housed in the Riverain complex, a luxury boutique shopping mall. Next door you'll find the Asian Art Museum which hosts exhibitions from all around Asia.http://faam.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/eng/home.html
- Wander back to the riverside for a yatai dinner, drink and a chance to experience Hakata life and culture. A few of the yatai vendors speak a bit of English. Just be careful about the prices, sometimes the yatai don't have menus, so be sure to ask what they have and how much things are.
- Tenjin is very much about shopping, above and below ground. Starting from the Central Post office on Showa-dori, head downstairs to the underground shopping arcade. All of the major shops and department stores are connected to the underground.
- Tenjin Core will provide you with a chance to see younger and more colorful fashion, ranging from frilly and cute to flashy and glam.
- Solaria Stage houses Incube, a shop with a variety of kitsch toys and gifts.
- IMS http://www.ims.co.jp/ has quite a few clothing stores, but also has the Toyota Gallery where you can check out the latest models, the Artium gallery with new exhibitions every few weeks, Rainbow Plaza where you can get information about the city in English and the 12th and 13th floors with several dining choices.
- Daimaru and Mitsukoshi, towards the end of the underground shopping are large departments stores with more or less the same products represented in both. Both also house grocery stores and deli-style gourmet markets in their basements.
- Heading back to the surface, if you are by Daimaru or Mitsukoshi, you'll find yourself on Kokutai Dohro. Walking up this street can be a bit of a challenge at times as the sidewalk narrows and widens but the crowds don't go away. Head towards Nishidori and on the way, on your right just past the drugstore, you'll find Kego Shrine and Kego Park. Across the street is Bic Camera, for your electronic needs.
- If you continue on Kokutai Dohro, you'll get to Nishidori, easy to find thanks to the Apple store on the corner. Make a right and begin your wandering. The area to your left is Daimyo, full of funky little boutiques and shops. There are also a countless number of restaurants, lunch time being a great time to try out their specials.
- If it isn't too late (you haven't spent the entire day window shopping and being lost in Daimyo), head back to Nishidori and walk towards the Nishitetsu Grand Hotel. If you make a left and walk straight up that street, Meijidori, you'll eventually find yourself at the Fukuoka Castle ruins. They will be on your left just about 5-10 minutes walk past the Starbucks and McDonalds.
- If you continue on down Meijidori, you'll find Ohori Park. There you can feed the ducks, fish or pigeons (if you so desire), rent a paddle boat to take on the pond or relax on one of the many benches in the shade of the trees. In the spring, check out the cherry blossoms. In the summer, around the beginning of August, a fireworks festival is held here.
- The Fukuoka Art Museum is also located in Ohori Park. While it isn't huge, occasionally the exhibitions are worthwhile and not overly expensive.
- Wander back to Meijidori and if you can't walk anymore, grab a bus back to Tenjin (天神). Get off at Daimyo 2 chome or Nishitetsu Grand Hotel Mae and head back into Daimyo for a bit to eat. A few places offer Happy Hour from 5-7, if you are looking for some refreshment before dinner. Try GURU GURU CHICKEN, a small kebab stand down a side street across from the 7-11 on Nishidori. ￥500 for a filling snack. Ippudo, around the corner from Kentucky Fried Chicken is good for some standard Hakata ramen. Nobunaga (信長) on Nishidori, next to the bright Karaoke place, does good yakitori. If you don't feel like any of those, Daimyo offers many other choices. Just follow your nose. http://www.hotpepper.jp/A_11100/smd0_svcSA91_macY705_sacX702.html This link isn't in English, but it does show the restaurants in the Tenjin/Daimyo area.
There are several schools for studying Japanese in Fukuoka.
- Japanese School Asahi Nihongo (Asahi Nihongo), Yodo Bldg. 2F, 2-9-30 Daimyo, Chuou-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, 810-0041, Japan (7 minute walk north from Tenjin in the Showa Street on the left side towards Akasaka), ☎ +81 +81-92-7166212 (email@example.com, fax: +81-92-7166214), . Short-term Japanese school for foreigners, offering intensive Japanese courses, internships, and marine sports.
- Genki Japanese and Culture School (GenkiJACS), Grand Building, 2nd floor, 2-9-5 Daimyo, Chuuouku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, 810-0041, Japan (5 minute walk from Tenjin towards Akasaka), ☎ +81 (092) 716-8673 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +81 (092) 716-8698), . Offers short programs: full and part time Japanese lessons in a small classroom style. Includes pop culture, tea ceremony, kimono and trips to experience Japanese outside of the classroom. Program open to schools and individuals. Home stays are also available.
- YMCA, Asahi Bulding, 2nd floor, 3-4-7 Tenjin, Chuuouku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture, 810-0001, Japan (5 minute walk north from Tenjin), ☎ +81 (092) 781-7410 (email@example.com, fax: +81 (092) 712-4223), . Offers a 1 year program and sponsorship for student visas.
Tenjin (天神) is Fukuoka's largest shopping district. You can find here, designer stores housed in towering retail blocks such as Tenjin Core, IMS, Vivre to the east, and Solaria Plaza Vioro to the west. There are also several large department stores, Iwataya, Daimaru and Mitsukoshi (all with food available.) Also, there are boutique areas, including Tenjin Chikagai, housed in a pleasant underground area adjacent to the Tenjin subway station and under Watanabe street. Nishi-Dori and Oyafuko-Dori (actually the same street, separated by Showa-Dori) contains a multitude of stores and restaurants, both mainstream and independent.
The Shotengai or shopping arcades are also good places to shop. In Tenjin, to the west of Solaria Stage you can find a shotengai with great deals and a used kimono store. Near Nakasu, across from Eeny Meeny Miny Mo (a large mall), you can find the Nakasu-Kawabata shopping arcade. Here you can find traditional paper goods, NOREN curtains and inexpensive bakeries.
Over the past few years, the main shopping, eating and drinking area has been moving away from north Tenjin and the Oyafuko-dori street south towards Daimyo, Kego and Imaizumi. With a different feel to the commercial district of Tenjin, just to the west (past Nishi-dori) is Daimyo, an area filled with small, mostly independent shops, bars and restaurants. Plan on staying all day; for daytime shopping and eating dinner. On Sundays, this area is full of young people out shopping. For a similar feeling area, check out Kego and Imaizumi, two upcoming areas to the south.
A uniquely designed mall called Canal City, which houses clothing stores, restaurants, rare character shops - including a Studio Ghibli goods shop - and even a well-appointed theatre, is located midway between Tenjin and Hakata, next to the Nakasu entertainment district. If you have time, be sure to catch one of the hourly fountain shows held in the centre of the bowl-shaped complex.
With regards to gift-giving, if you're pressed for time, take a quick look around the craft and boutique stores in Hakata Station before leaving. Many carry the white clay Hakata dolls that are unique to Fukuoka. Prices range from under ¥1000 and up. Prices comparable to those found in Tenjin. In case you are into cameras, computers or other electronics, you can find a huge Yodobashi Camera store right outside of Hakata station. Go out to the eastern side of the JR station (Chikushi Gate), go down 2 blocks and it will be on your right.
Don't miss out on the ¥100 shop. A great place to shop for souvenirs (although many items are made in China), dishes, toys and everything else you didn't think you needed. There is one located in the bus centre building next to Hakata Station. Another, is in the Daiei in Tenjin behind the MINA building.
Hakata is famous for its style of ramen, which has a very pungent smell thanks to a pork rib broth called tonkotsu (豚骨). You can find ramen at a yatai, a mobile food stall. The stalls are set up early evening and can be found on major streets; particulary in Tenjin (near the post office), Nakasu and Nagahama-Dori. Also, along the river from Canal City, an entire strip of yatai can be found. Brush up on your Japanese or pointing skills as these guys don't speak English at all.
- Ichiran (一蘭), 5-3-2 Nakasugawa, Hakata-ku (2 min from subway Nakasu-kawabata exit 2; five other outlets around town), ☎ +92-262-0433, . 24 hours, 365 days. Probably Fukuoka's best-known ramen chain, dedicated solely to perfecting tonkotsu. Buy a ticket from the vending machine outside (just hit the big top button) and take a seat at the counter. Each seat has a curtain in front and dividers on the side, so nothing distracts you from the noodle experience that awaits. (Cellphones, kids or conversation are not allowed!) Hand over your ticket, receive a questionnaire on how you like your noodles (available in English at some outlets), and choose the middle option (基本 kihon, or "standard") for everything. In under a minute, a bowl of noodles will appear — dig in and slurp away. If you want more noodles or an egg, press the button and ask for kaedama or tamago respectively. ¥650.
- Mami-chan (まみちゃん), (across from the post office and down the street). Has ramen available, but is better known for the other excellent choices on their menu. Mami-chan's is unusual in this respect as many yatai don't have menus or listed prices so its often best to find out how much an item is before ordering or you might find your bill a bit higher than you expected. At Mami-chan's, Mami, the proprietor is jovial and friendly, often serving a bit extra to customers and taking photos of everyone that passes through.
- Yama-chan. Tasty ramen and late night hours off the streets of Oyafukodori. Cut through the park behind the police box and you're sure to find it. Yama-chan the owner is often there, be sure to give a friendly smile!
Another regional product Hakata is famous for is the spicy mentaiko (明太子), or cod roe condiment, though in actuality these days it is all imported. Both products are widely available for tourists in JR Hakata Station as well as major department stores, although the mentaiko needs to be refrigerated.
Fukuoka is also known for having good gyoza (pork dumplings) and there are many places to try some.Try out Asahiken Gyoza, 2-15-22 Hakata Ekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan. * Tetsu-Nabe (鉄鍋), (near Gion station in Hakata). There is another located in Nakasu, but the Hakata one seems to be the most popular. Be aware though that when you enter, you will be expected to be quick with your order as the place is usually very busy.
- Sancho Panza, Daimyo building 11511 (enter from Nishidori). has a fabulous lunch menu, most dishes around ¥700-800. Tasty wrap tacos and other Latin-American style food is on available. On weekends, there is often live guitar music in the afternoon. In the evening the restaurant also opens the floor to dance: salsa, bachata, merengue and the cha-cha-cha all make their appearance at some point. Usually a ¥500 charge.
- Propeller Drive, 1-13-30 Imaizumi Fukuoka, Japan 810-0021 (nearby the Tenjin train station), ☎ +81 92 715 6322. Propeller has a trendy feel, with chandeliers and mirrors hanging all around. Sunday through Thursday they have Happy Hour until 8PM, drinks are ¥300. Until 9PM they serve the Venus Special, a dinner set for ¥1050, an excellent value!
- RingerHut. , although a chain restaurant, does very good Champon (a kind of Chinese noodle dish with seafood and vegetables). If you are low on cash and need a filling meal, this is definitely a good place to go. Some branches have a system where you put your money in a machine, push the button under the dish of your choice and give your ticket to the staff. Other branches you just order from the menu.
Lunch time is probably the best value for the money. Most restaurants will do lunch sets at 1/2 or 1/3 the price of their dinner sets, but serve the same course. If you have a bit more cash to spend and want to have a nice Japanese style lunch, the Grand Hyatt at Canal City and the Excel Hotel near Nakasu are both good. Most of the larger, nicer hotels in the area will serve beautiful lunch sets. Many restaurants and cafes in the area will have lunch sets under ¥1000.
Yatai, or street stalls, are plentiful throughout Fukuoka and present a great place to grab a bite to eat and drink while mixing with the locals.
The Tenjin area is abound with izakaya (Japanese pubs) that have picture menus which make it easy for the traveler who speaks no Japanese. Watami わたみ wara wara わらわら are two chains that come to mind. Shirokiya, another izakaya, is decent and fairly easy to find. It is on Nishi-dori, across from the Nishtetsu Grand Hotel above Kitamura Camera in the same building as Sam and Dave's, a night club popular with the hip-hop crowd.
Careful, some of the smaller bars down the backstreets will often have a table charge of ¥200-500 per person. This usually means you get a tiny bowl of nuts, chips or pickled octopus.
- Infinity  (1-12-52 Daimyo, Chuo-Ku Tel: 092-711-8828 Open Tu-Su. Tu-Th 6:30PM-2AM, F, Sa and Holidays 7:30PM-5AM), A standard in the hip hop bar/club scene, offers funky interior design with specials all week. Check out the website for the event schedule.
- The Craic and The Porter, 2F Kusano Bldg (Above ABC FLower shop on Oyafuko-dori) Tel: 090-4514-9516. A beer bar for "beer lovers." Features numerous, hard-to-find American and European imports by a very interesting American expatriate. An entertaining time is guaranteed for all!
- Off Broadway (2F Beans Bldg, Oyafukodori. Tel: 092-724-5383) in Tenjin is run by a friendly American expatriate and is a favorite with navy personnel passing through the region. Serves a great hamburger, but don't expect it to come too quickly. Happy Hour from 6PM-8PM everyday.
- The Dark Room close to Off Broadway is the de facto hang-out for foreign rock bands playing in the area. The proprietor, Moses, ensures a good time in this multi-level indie hangout. Also has a 8th floor beer garden, which is a great place to kick back on summer evenings. Thursdays are ¥300 Corona beer night.
- The ubiquitous Hard Rock Cafe chain has a Fukuoka outlet, situated at the Hawks Town mall, next to Yahoo! Dome in momochi (subway: Nishijin)
The Happy Hour concept is just beginning to make its way into the bars in the area, so you can now find places that do cheap drinks. Thursday night is also a good time to avoid weekend crowds, find the local ex-pat population and get some good deals on drinks.
- Morris' British Pub in Daimyo does Happy hour from 5PM-7PM. Guinness,Old speckled Hen ￥590 a pint,and cocktails are half price. Good fish and chips. Around the corner from the KFC on Nishidori. Open from 5PM.
- Tattoo (1-18-36 Imaizumi, Chuo-Ku. Open 6PM-4AM Tel:092-716-6119) and Propeller Drive (owned by the same guy and both located in Imaizumi) have Happy Hour from 6PM-8PM Su-Friday, drinks 300 yen.
- Bar Bliss, Chuo-ku, Yakuin 2-choume 11-24 (7:00PM - 2:00AM closed Sunday) (5 minute walk from Yakuin station, 10 minute walk from downtown Tenjin), ☎ 092-713-2058. This intimate bar/restaurant is a great place to meet interesting locals, try out a variety of Kyushu's best shochus, and eat a wide range of western style foods. Guinness is served on tap. Excellent service, quality food, and above all, an eclectic mix of local Fukuokans.
- Three Kings British Pub, Chuo-ku, Daimyo 1-11-22 (5 minute walk from Tenjin Station, off Nishi-doori), ☎ 092-403-3622. 5:00PM - midnight, closed Monday. British-owned pub serving good traditional pub food, and with a wide range of import beers on tap.
There are several hotels located around Hakata Station, as well as the Gion area, Nakasu, and Tenjin. Hotel options range from capsule hotels and reasonably priced western hotel rooms to more expensive tourist hotels.
- ESPA Hotel (pronounced "ess-pa"). A capsule hotel about an 8 minute walk south of Hakata Station. Pleasant conditions (for a capsule hotel), an excellent spa, jacuzzi and sauna area, 24 hour restaurant as well as massage facilities available. About ¥4000/night including spa entry, no tattooed customers allowed.
- Fukuoka Youth Hostel, Hakata-ku, 6-7-23 Hakata-eki Minami, (subway Hakata), tel. 092-473-4555, . This hostel is part of the Japan Youth Hostels group and seems very new. The rooms range in price from ¥3300-3700 and are much bigger than the ones at Khaosan. The downside is that it's about 15 minutes further away from the Hakata station by foot and lacks the social atmosphere, that can be found at the Khaosan. Another irritant is that they won't let you check in until 4PM, but they'll let you put your bags in the room while you wait.
- Green Inn Capsule Hotel, Tenjin District, a bus ride from JR Hakata station. This places you within walking distance of the best entertainment areas in Fukuoka. Ask at JR Station Tourist Info for details. Its nice to have a walk home after drinking. Taxis are pricey.
- International Hostel Khaosan Fukuoka (インターナショナルホステルカオサン福岡), Hakata-ku, Hiemachi 11-34 (subway Hakata), tel. 092-404-6035, . New Opening on December in 2006, the first hostel in Fukuoka city, Cheap and nice stay, Dorm from ¥2400. Free wi-fi available.
- Media Cafe Popeye (internet cafe). An internet cafe that offers razors, tooth brushes, and a shower. Check in between the hours of 10PM to 8AM with options of staying 5 or 10 hrs. 5 hrs stay will cost ¥1200 where as 10 hr stay is ¥2600.
- Hakata Capsule Hotel If you can read Katakana letters you should be able to spot the big red sign reading kapuseru just as you leave Hakata Station on the right. If you walk, it shouldn't take more than three mins to get there. No women allowed. Big, clean and nice facilities. Prices range from ¥2900-3900 depending on the type of capsule. There is some English speaking staff as well.
- Fukuoka Floral Inn Nishinakasu (フローラルイン西中洲), Chuo-ku Nishi-Nakasu 5-10 (subway Nakasu-kawabata), tel. 092-735-1100, . Opened in 2003, central location, small but clean and quiet rooms, free Internet in lobby. Triples from ¥7800.
- Comfort Hotel Hakata Next to Hakata station. Rooms start at from ¥6000. Free Internet (Ethernet cable in room), breakfast included. Smoking rooms smell awful, but non-smoking rooms are perfectly fine.
- With The Style, 1-9-18 Hakataeki-minami, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-Shi, Fukuoka 812-0016 Japan (7 Minute walk from Hakata station and close to the airport), ☎ 81-92-433-3901 (fax: 81-92-433-3903), . checkin: 14:00PM; checkout: 16:00PM. A Ryu Kosaka designed upscale boutique resort, complete with world class Italian dining, premium Japanese nabe, posh bar scene, rooftop outdoor spa and an intimate private stay guest lounge. The rooms are spacious and elegant with private balconies, stocked with a complementary mini-bar and top shelf amenities.*English Speaking Staff
- Grand Hyatt Fukuoka, 1-2-82 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku (in Canal City Hakata), ☎ +81 92 282 1234 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 12:00PM; checkout: 15:00PM. Large bathrooms. Near to Hakata and Fukuoka train stations and the airport. Plenty of shopping and entertainment at Canal City.
- Hyatt Regency Fukuoka, 2-14-1 Hakataeki Higashi, Hakata-Ku (5 minutes' walk from Hakata subway station), ☎ +81 9 2412 1234 (email@example.com), . 4 star hotel with 3 restaurants.
JR train tickets (set of 2 or 4) for one day travel on Limited Express trains are cheaper than individual tickets. The Bullet Train has cheap rates to Kitakyushu on the weekend (¥3000 return.)
- Dazaifu — a site of pilgrimage every new year for Japanese students, this small town houses the beautiful Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (dedicated to a Shinto deity of learning) and the recently built National Museum (Kyushu).