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10 Best Things to Do in Fukuoka, Japan

Although not as popular of a destination as Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka, Fukuoka, Japan is another of the country’s metropolitan cities that is worth a visit. Massive shopping centers, scenic city parks, and ancient shrines are just a few attractions that draw travelers here. During my visit to Fukuoka, I experienced Sakura season when the cherry blossom trees were in bloom – a time of year when I highly recommend booking a trip to this Japanese city. However, these top things to do in Fukuoka, Japan are worth experiencing no matter what time of year.

Take a Stroll Through Ohori Park Ohori Park
Credit: Ohori Park by zeitblohm via Flickr

Take a Stroll Through Ohori Park

What Is It: This massive park is a prominent landmark in central Fukuoka. The word “ohori” means moat in Japanese, and the lake here was once part of the moat of the Fukuoka castle. The park surrounds the lake with bridges that connect to the small islands. It’s a scenic, budget-friendly attraction in Fukuoka. 

Why Do It: During cherry blossom season, tourists flock here to view the blooming trees. However, Ohori Park offers up plenty to do year-round. Take a casual stroll, enjoy some waterside dining, or rent a paddleboat. There is also a playground and a Japanese garden here too.

Good to Know: There is no admission to Ohori Park, however, there is a small fee to enter the Japanese garden. 

See the City From Above at the Fukuoka Tower Fukuoka Tower
Credit: Fukuoka Tower by HyunJae Park via Flickr

See the City From Above at the Fukuoka Tower

What Is It: The Fukuoka Tower is a pinnacle of the city, featuring 360-degree views from its 400-foot-tall observation deck. This tower is the tallest seaside tower in the country.

Why Do It: No matter if you visit the tower during the day or night, there is bound to be an incredible view of Fukuoka’s cityscape. I recommend visiting the tower at night, as it is illuminated with various animations. You can check out the animation schedule on the tower’s website. 

Good to Know: There is an admission fee to access the observation deck, however, it is very affordable. Once you take the elevator up to the observation deck, there are plenty of photo spots and fun exhibits. 

Explore Tochoji Temple Tochoji Temple
Credit: Tochoji Temple by © Cowardlion | Dreamstime.com

Explore Tochoji Temple

What Is It: This Buddhist temple is home to the largest wooden seated Buddha in the country. Tochoji Temple offers plenty of photo opportunities too, like the five-story pagoda and the big cherry blossom tree at the entrance.  

Why Do It: Easily accessible by bus or a close walk from Hakata Station, Tochoji Temple is a centrally-located Fukuoka attraction that is budget-friendly, as there is no admission fee. 

Good to Know: The temple hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Visit Nanzoin Temple’s Giant Reclining Buddha Reclining Buddha at Nanzoin Temple
Credit: Reclining Buddha at Nanzoin Temple by travel oriented via Flickr

Visit Nanzoin Temple’s Giant Reclining Buddha

What Is It: Located at the Nanzoin Buddhist temple, the giant reclining Buddha statue is over 130 feet long and weighs over 300 tons. 

Why Do It: This bronze statue is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, making it a bucket-list-worthy experience. Aside from the statue, the temple is a peaceful outdoor experience, as it is located on a mountain hillside with lush greenery and trickling streams. 

Good to Know: There is a dress code at the temple. Avoid wearing short skirts or shorts and cover any large tattoos. 

Shop at Tenjin Underground Mall and Hakata Station Hakata Station in Fukuoka
Credit: Hakata Station in Fukuoka by © Cowardlion | Dreamstime.com

Shop at Tenjin Underground Mall and Hakata Station

What Is It: There are two iconic spots to shop at in Fukuoka: Tenjin Underground Mall and Hakata Station.

Why Do It: From high-end luxury designer brands to specialty bakeries to pop-up shops for small businesses, shopping is a must-do while in Fukuoka. 

Good to Know: Plenty of stores accept international cards, including Visa and Mastercard. So it’s not always necessary to carry cash if you intend to shop at the malls here. 

Bike Around Uminonakamichi Seaside Park Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Fukuoka
Credit: Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, Fukuoka by © Nuttawut Parasert | Dreamstime.com

Bike Around Uminonakamichi Seaside Park

What Is It: Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, known as one of the best parks in Fukuoka, is located on the peninsula of Hakata Bay. 

Why Do It: This sprawling park is best known for its incredible flower blooms, however, there is more to do here than just stroll the grounds (although that’s a great experience too). Since the park is so large, you may want to rent a bike and explore the network of cycling trails here. During the summer, hit up the seasonal waterpark. Or, if you’re visiting in December, view holiday lights here.

Good to Know: On one end of the park, you’ll find Marine World, an aquarium that is home to over 350 species of marine animals. 

Visit a Shinto Shrine Kushida Shrine
Credit: Kushida Shrine by Wei-Te Wong via Flickr

Visit a Shinto Shrine

What Is It: Experience the history and architectural beauty of a Shinto shrine while visiting Fukuoka. The Kushida Shrine and the Chikuzen Sumiyoshi Shrine, two of the oldest shrines in Fukuoka, are both located in central Fukuoka, making them easily accessible for travelers staying in the city center. 

Why Do It: Not only are the shrines great places to snap a photo, there are some attractions that are noteworthy too. The Kushida Shrine is home to the largest otafuku mask in Japan, which is set up during the winter months. While at the Sumiyoshi Shrine, you’ll want to high-five the statue of the sumo wrestler, as it’s said that if you touch his hands, you gain some of his strength. 

Good to Know: Popular events occur at both of the shrines, so you may want to do some research before heading to the shrines to see if your visit aligns with one of the noteworthy festivals. For example, one of Fukuoka’s coolest festivals, Hakata Gion Yamakasa, occurs at the Kushida Shrine in July every year. 

Interact With Digital Art at teamLab Forest teamLab Forest
Credit: teamLab Forest by teamLab Forest

Interact With Digital Art at teamLab Forest

What Is It: This museum is not like any other. It is a digital art experience with various interactive exhibits. TeamLab is an art group that hosts various art exhibits throughout the country. The one in Fukuoka focuses on a “forest” theme. Named teamLab Forest, explore digital art by interaction, from “catching” digital animals to wandering through light-filled “prairies.”

Why Do It: Lights, colors, and sounds come together for an unforgettable experience. Digital art fills every room, so expect a sensory intake like no other. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera along, as there are plenty of unique spots to take photos. 

Good to Know: Wear adequate footwear, as there is uneven terrain in some of the exhibit rooms. 

Travel to Dazaifu Dazaifu, Japan

Travel to Dazaifu

What Is It: Dazaifu is a city outside of Fukuoka that is a common travel destination for Fukuoka visitors. Take a 30-minute train ride from Fukuoka to Dazaifu to explore this city’s attractions, such as the Tenmangu Shrine and the Kyushu National Museum. 

Why Do It: Aside from the shrine and museum, there are also a number of souvenir shops and eateries along a walkable area called Dazaifu Monzen Machi, a street that runs from the train station to Tenmangu Shrine. 

Good to Know: While here, visit the Dazaifu Starbucks, which has a unique architectural design that is inspired by traditional woodwork.

Take a Gondola Ride on the Yanagawa River Cruising the Yanagawa 
River
Credit: Cruising the Yanagawa River by © Giemgiem | Dreamstime.com

Take a Gondola Ride on the Yanagawa River

What Is It: Another famous attraction outside the city of Fukuoka is a boat ride along the Yanagawa River. Although not technically in Fukuoka, Yanagawa is visited by Fukuoka tourists due to its serene river. 

Why Do It: If you’re interested in getting out of the city for the day, a visit to Yanagawa offers a refreshing escape. Take an hour-long, gondola-like riverboat ride through the Yanagawa Canals, a beautiful sight, especially during spring when the cherry blossom trees are blooming. 

Good to Know: There is no shade on the riverboats, therefore, bring an umbrella or rent a hat through one of the boat services.

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