Knowing will make your trip twice as fun! Basic Information About Fukuoka
If you know about the characteristics of the city you visit, your journey will be even more fun! Here is some basic information about Fukuoka, a prefecture in the Kyushu region in the southwestern part of Japan. Hopefully this will deepen your knowledge.
What kind of place is Fukuoka?
Fukuoka is located in the northern part of Kyushu, which is very close to the Korean peninsula and the mainland Asian continent. It has been an area of international exchange for a long time. Since the 1800s, it has developed as an industrial area with a focus on coal from Chikuho and Omuta and iron from Kitakyushu Yahata, both products that contributed to Japan's modernization. The capital, Fukuoka, is a busy city that's the center of Kyushu politics, economics, and culture, but the entire prefecture is full of areas that overflow with history and culture. Nakasu, an area famous for the number of food stalls called yatai that are set up at night, was created when earth and sand were piled up between the Nakagawa and Hakata Rivers to create a bridge with the plan of building Fukuoka Castle and the surrounding town. It's said to be one of the best entertainment districts in western Japan.
Annual average temperature is 16.6℃/61.8°F. The highest monthly average is 27.6℃/81.7°F in August, and the lowest is 5.8℃/42.4°F in January. It is characterized by its warm climate, which is similar to the southern coast of the United States and south-central South Europe. There are a few snowy days in winter, but it snows so little in urban areas it barely dusts the ground.
People in Fukuoka are characterized with generous and cheerful characters. Men like showy things, and they love alcohol and festivals. Many people are open-minded. Traditionally, women look after the house while men party, so people say women in Fukuoka have strong wills and firm characters.
Fukuoka has various dialects, depending on the region. Sometimes people in Fukuoka get surprised because they don't understand what people in another region of Fukuoka are saying. People in the Kitakyushu area add "-tchi" or "-cha" to the ending of words, and people in Hakata add "-tai" to the ending of words.
Fukuoka is "the gateway to Asia," and many international flights are in service. Fukuoka Airport is one of the leading international airports in Japan, and many flights utilize this airport daily. From the airport, you can go to the center of Fukuoka, Hakata Station, in 5 minutes by subway. There are many air routes mainly to cities in the Asia-Pacific region. Hakata Port has regular watercourses to Pusan. If you want to go to Fukuoka from other cities in Japan, it's best to fly. Flying from Tokyo takes about 1.5 hours from Haneda Airport, and about an hour from Kansai International Airport. You can also take the shinkansen. It takes about 5 hours from Tokyo Station, and about 2.5 hours from Shin-Osaka Station.
Hakata Station is the hub of sightseeing of Fukuoka, and it is the largest station in Kyushu. 100-yen buses run on a circular route between Hakata and Tenjin, Fukuoka's downtown area. There are three subway lines in Fukuoka city, which are useful for traveling in a wide range. From Nishitetsu Fukuoka Tenjin Station, there is a train service directly connected to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. There are several JR lines, so you can go all around the prefecture.
Famous Sightseeing Spots
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is one of Fukuoka's most famous sightseeing spots. It is also the head shrine of all the Tenmangu shrines in Japan, which worship the deity of education. There are as many as 6,000 plum blossom trees around the grounds, and they bloom early February to mid-March. The specialty at the shrine is called Umegaemochi, which is mochi rice cake named after the plum, and many shops sell them on the approaching path. The nearby Kyushu National Museum was built with the theme of "capturing the formation of Japanese culture from the perspective of Asian history." You can enjoy some unique Fukuoka exhibits, which has exchanged culture and information with other Asian countries since ancient times. Kitakyushu's Mojiko Port is also recommended. It's an area where you can enjoy feeling the atmosphere of a port town along with the wooden Mojiko Station building, brick warehouse, and other historical architecture.
Famous Meals to Try
Fukuoka is one of the best gourmet cities in Japan. At the fresh fish market where fish from the nearby Genkainada Sea are sold, you can buy plenty of fresh and delicious seafood. In the city, there are many restaurants were sushi is available at reasonable prices as well as Japanese gastropubs called izakaya where you can enjoy local cuisine like gomasaba (mackerel sashimi marinated in soy sauce, roasted sesame, and mirin). Don't forget to try Hakata ramen! it's one of the most famous foods from Fukuoka, and it's ramen made with rich pork bone soup and fine but chewy noodles. Try it in one of the Nakasu yatai!
A representative souvenir is "Hakata Torimon," a sweet also loved by locals. It's a manjuu (steamed wheat bun) made using traditional Hakata techniques with western ingredients. Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and ramen are also popular. If you want to buy a craft, try Hakata Magemono. Magemono is a container made by bending a thin cedar plate, stitching it with cherry bark, and then finishing it off with a flat bottom. Magemono can be found as daily necessities such as lunch boxes but also more modern items such as wine buckets and CD cases.
There are many kinds of delicious food in Fukuoka, especially in Hakata. Please enjoy sightseeing in Fukuoka while eating its specialty gourmet!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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