This value-packed trip with a nationally/state licensed and experienced multilingual tour guide is a fantastic and efficient way to explore Fukuoka!
Are you interested in a more efficient way of exploring Fukuoka? Enjoy a half-day walking tour with your private guide, as he/she introduces modern and traditional aspects of this dynamic, ancient city! This dynamic city is home to many historical temples and is famous for its unique food culture.
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel or any other point at your convenience to start your day. You will then have the choice of visiting any of Fukuoka's famous sites including 400-year old Fukuoka Castle; the natural beauty of one of Kyushu's oldest shrines, Sumiyoshi Shrine; one of the oldest and most important shrines of its kind in Japan, Dazaifu Tenman-gū; and traditional Fukuoka-style Yatai street food vendors.
Let us know what you would like to experience, and your guide will then arrange a four-hour tour that's best for you!
Note*1: Please select your must-see spots from a list in the tour information to create your customized itinerary.
Note*2: This special tour will be conducted with public transportation and cruising taxi as stated in the tour information, NOT including private vehicle. Your guide will pick you up at the meeting point on foot. If you need a private vehicle, please feel free to ask us and we will estimate an additional cost for you.
Note*3: Nationally and State Licensed Tour Guide-Interpreter certification is issued by the Japanese government requires good knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and history.
Fukuoka Castle which lies on top of Fukusaki Hill, adjacent to Ohori Park, requires a long walk up a flight of stairs. The castle was once a flourishing place during the Edo period (early 1600) but today, it is mainly the ruins of stone walls, moat and gates. However, the panoramic view of Fukuoka city from Fukusaki Hill is pretty amazing. The best time to visit in order to admire the full beauty of the castle ruins is during the Sakura Festival.
One of the oldest such sites on Kyushu, the Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine is, like its counterpart in Osaka, dedicated to the protective divinities of seafarers, the last of a series of such shrines sailors would visit before heading out to sea. Particularly impressive is the Main Hall, rebuilt in its current classical style in 1623, along with a number of important national treasures, most notably an ancient sword and a copper axe, along with old manuscripts and documents dating back to the Middle Ages. From the shrine, which is surrounded by a large grove of Japanese cedars and camphor trees, are fine views over the River Naka. Be sure to allow plenty of time to also explore the adjacent Sumiyoshi Park.
Opened in 2005, Kyūshū National Museum (Kyūshū Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan) made headlines not only for its award-winning architectural design, but also as Japan's first new national museum in more than 100 years. Built to house a large publicly owned collection of art and historically important artefacts related to the island's rich history, this state-of-the-art facility can easily occupy visitors for the best part of a day. Highlights include displays of prehistoric relics found in numerous archaeological digs, as well as exhibits tracing the long history of the island's importance as a trading link between Japan and nearby China and Korea.
One of Japan's best known (and Fukuoka's oldest) Shinto shrines, Kushida-jinja was founded in AD 757 and contains many unique features, including exquisite carvings of the Chinese zodiac and a ginkgo tree said to be more than 1,000 years old. The shrine is also famous for hosting the Hakata Gion Yamakasa each July, a spectacular two-week festival focusing on prayers for good health and prosperity that includes an elaborate race involving teams carrying heavy wooden floats from the temple to various locations around the city.
The Hakata Gion Yamakasa (博多祇園山笠) is one of the most interesting festivals in Japan. It is held every year during the first half of July and climaxes with a spectacular time trial race in the early morning hours of July 15. In the race, seven neighborhoods of Fukuoka's Hakata district compete in pushing beautifully decorated festival floats along a five-kilometre long course through the city.
Fukuoka's open-air food stands (屋台, Yatai) are possibly the city's best-known symbol. Yatai can generally seat about seven or eight people and provide an atmospheric outdoor environment to enjoy various foods that are generally simple and filling. There are dozens of yatai scattered across Fukuoka, but the best place to find them is on the southern end of Nakasu Island. Located in the middle of the city, Nakasu Island has a long row of around 20 yatai that are attractively situated along the water.
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (海の中道海浜公園, Uminonakamichi Kaihin Kōen), is a sprawling, family-oriented public park located on a narrow peninsula across the bay from central Fukuoka. The park is made up of several different areas including flower gardens, playgrounds, an amusement park with ferris wheel, sports fields, a water park, a zoo and large open spaces and lawns perfect for picnicking.
Ohori Park (大濠公園, Ōhori-kōen) is a pleasant city park in central Fukuoka with a large pond at its centre. There is a walking path around the circumference of the pond that is just a little over two kilometres long and is popular for jogging, walking pets and leisurely strolls by the water. Ohori is Japanese for the moat, and the pond at the centre of the park once served as part of the moat system of the neighboring Fukuoka Castle. The park was constructed between 1926 and 1929 and designed after the classical garden style of West Lake in China. There are three islands in the middle of the pond that is connected to the mainland and each other by elegant stone bridges.
Shofukuji (聖福寺, Shōfukuji) has the distinction of being the first Zen temple constructed in Japan. It was founded in 1195 by the priest Eisai, who introduced the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism from China into Japan. Although the temple buildings cannot be entered, visitors can walk through Shofukuji's attractive temple grounds and observe the buildings from outside. Before Zen's introduction to Japan, Buddhism has already had a long history in Japan dating back to the 500s. The new teachings of Zen, which Eisai amassed during his travels in China, promoted meditation and discipline as the means to enlightenment and became very popular with the samurai class, which was exerting political power through the shogunate government based in Kamakura.
Seaside Momochi (シーサイドももち, Shīsaido Momochi) is Fukuoka's modern waterfront located on reclaimed land along Hakata Bay. The area was originally developed as the site of the 1989 Asia Pacific Expo and was designed with attractive, modern features such as wide, tree-lined streets, futuristic buildings, public parks and no phone or electricity lines above ground.
Canal City Hakata (キャナルシティ博多) is a large shopping and entertainment complex, calling itself a "city within the city". Attractions include about 250 shops, cafes and restaurants, a theater, game center, cinemas, two hotels and a canal running through the complex. Visitors, who are planning on shopping, will likely be able to find something of interest in one of Canal City's many stores, whether it be in a shop unique to Japan or a branch of an international company. There is also a wide variety of restaurants, offering Japanese and international food, that generally have reasonably priced menus. The fifth floor consists of the "Ramen Stadium", which has eight ramen shops with noodle dishes from across Japan, including the local specialty Hakata Ramen.
Yusentei Park is known for being the former home of the 6th lord of Fukuoka who would have built it in the 18th century. The park is made up of a beautiful garden which is built in the traditional style as well as an ornate pond and this is a great place to come if you want to get out of the crush of the city. You can also see a slice of Fukuoka as it would have been in the days of old.
Hakozaki Shrine is known for being one of the most important shrines in this part of Japan. The original was destroyed when it was set on fire during the Mongolian invasion of Fukuoka in 1274 but it was then rebuilt and has been standing in this spot ever since. Some of the sights to look out for here include a stone anchor that would have been used by Mongolian ships and a statue of Nichiren, a prominent Buddhist scholar in Fukuoka who foresaw the Mongolian invasion.
Fukuoka Tower is one of the best places to come in Fukuoka if you want to see the city at its best. The tower soars to a height of some 234 meters and from here you can look out over the glittering city below. One of the good things about the tower is that it is lit up at night and it is also one of the national symbols of the city, so it is well worth a visit when you are in town. Another highlight here is the fact that the tower has a restaurant at the top so you can have lunch or dinner and enjoy the views below.
Fukuoka is known for being located on the coast and with that in mind it also has a number of pretty islands which are located just off shore. To get to the island you can take a relaxing ferry ride which takes around 10 minutes and lets you take in the stunning views across the water at the same time. There are several islands to choose from but one of the best is Nokonoshima which has a radius of some 12 kilometres and is known for its prime position in Hakata Bay. If you visit the island you can enjoy activities such as hiking and swimming off the coast, and if you want then you can also set up camp here for the night and enjoy an evening under the stars.
Atago Shrine is one of the less-visited shrines in Fukuoka which is a shame as it is also one of the prettiest. The shrine is located on a hillside which means that you can also take in sweeping vistas from here all over the city and across to Hakata Bay and you will also be able to see the nesting storks for which this area is famous. As you approach the shrine you can take in the torii gate which welcomes you and then walk up the stairs to get to the main shrine area. This shrine is a little off the beaten track compared to other sites in the city but it is more than worth the effort to get here for the views and a glimpse of some of the religious history of the city.
Itoshima city is about 50 minutes from Hakata station by train and 30 minutes by car. The nature-rich city is best known for its amazing sunset at the Sakurai Futamigaura area. A Meotoiwa - Two stacks of rocks symbolising husband and wife - is located offshore from Sakurai Futamigaura, which provides a great touch to the amazing sunset. Apart from that, a huge Torii gate (Torii gates serve as a boundary between God and humans) is also located along the coast, which photographers will definitely love.
Dazaifu refers to the regional government during Japan’s past. At the Dazaifu Government Remains, you will be able to witness the former governmental grounds where buildings used to stand. Located near the Dazaifu Government Remains is a museum where you can learn more about Fukuoka’s history, and this is a great place for Japanese history lovers to explore.
Kyushu National Museum is not your ordinary and at times boring museum – it is an interactive museum where you can learn about Kyushu’s history while having fun at the different exhibitions. You can dress up in traditional costumes of the different countries that Japan had international relations within the olden days, as well as play various traditional games and instruments while learning about them. The Kyushu National Museum is a fantastic place for families, especially those with children, to visit!
River Yanagawa is a picturesque river, and its natural beauty never fails to amaze people - the sakura flowers in spring are especially beautiful. You can take part in the Yanagawa Kawakudari, a 70-minute boat ride down the river which will introduce you to the numerous historical areas found along River Yanagawa. This Yanagawa Kawakudari has a history of over 50 years and has been loved by tourists for a long period of time.
Yanagibashi Rengo Market is the kitchen of Hakata - over 40 greengrocers and fishmongers line the market which sells fresh products. There are also shops selling fruits and tofu, as well as cafés and bakery where you can purchase finger food while exploring the market. You can also step into the restaurants to enjoy a fantastic seafood Donburi (a type of Japanese rice bowl dish) which includes ingredients such as fresh squids and salmon sashimi.
Just 15 kilometres east of Fukuoka is the Nanzoin Temple, one of the prefecture's most visited (and most important) Buddhist shrines, attracting more than a million pilgrims and visitors annually. The big draw here is undoubtedly the massive bronze statue of the Reclining Buddha, erected in 1995 and said to be the largest bronze statue in the world (if the Statue of Liberty in New York were laid down beside it, the Buddha would be longer). As interesting as the temple and statue are the pleasant walk to the site along a shady hillside trail from the quaint village of Sasaguri, a route that is clearly marked and notable for its many smaller statues of Buddha, as well as its picturesque streams, bridges, and gardens. Also worth a visit is the famous wooden Buddha at Tōchō-ji, the oldest Shingon temple in Kyushu (it was founded in AD 806).
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