Fukuoka is situated in the northern part of Kyushu, facing the Sea of Suo to the northeast, the Sea of Genkai to the northwest, and the Sea of Ariake to the southwest. As the prefecture borders the Korean Peninsula to the continent of China with a strait in between, Fukuoka was the first place in Japan to be exposed to the culture of the continent. Ever since the Government-General of Kyushu, Dazaifu, was set up in the 7th century, Fukuoka has grown as the hub of the Kyushu region.
The city of Fukuoka is not only the center of administration and economy in the Kyushu region but also a terminal for air routes and railroads. The Hakata Dontaku is a colorful port festival held in summer each year. Highlighted by a parade of children in traditional dress, men and women in fancy costume, and ‘te-odori’ dancing (dancing with nothing in hand) people through the streets, this event draws more than 580 groups and about 31,000 citizens, and is viewed by more than 2 million spectators.
An important location for traffic and sightseeing is Hakata. A former merchant town today is a business center in Fukuoka City. Hakata is a district located in the Hakata prefecture, located in Fukuoka City, east of the Naka-gawa River, and is one of the central areas of Fukuoka, the largest city on Kyushu. Fukuoka City is a town that has developed on both sides of the Naka-gawa River, since Kuroda Nagamasa, a general of the samurai army in the 17th century, constructed Fukuoka Castle there. The eastern side of the river has developed as Hakata, a merchant town, while the western side developed as Fukuoka, a castle town. Recently, with an influx of tourists from other Asian countries, the city has also become international.
Around Hakata Station, lots of office buildings are rising, and restaurants and hotels stand close together. A hotel that I would recommend is Okura Hotel, located right in the Hakata district. With its location, this hotel is a perfect choice for sightseeing or for business. This hotel offers a rate of around 150 dollars for a single room and a bit more for more spacious rooms. With its elegently furnished and complete facilities, this hotel is sure worth the rate. Another hotel that I would recommend is the Nikko Hotel, also in the Hakata District. With room prices ranging from 185 to 370 dollars, guests get the comforts of home and extensive cuisine selections in the hotel’s restaurant. Lastly, if you’re on a budget I would recommend Com’s Hotel. Also located in Hakata, with prices ranging from 85 to 185 dollars. Com’s Hotel provides all the facilities and conveniences neede for an enjoyable vacation.
After Canal City, a large-scale compound institution, was constructed, the city has become revitalized as a commercial town again. That the restaurants cluster together, which provide the most delicious dishes at the lowest price you can have only in Hakata, is a characteristic of this area, and young and old flock here together.
Nakasu is the busiest street on Kyushu, not just in Fukuoka. Located in the eastern part of Fukuoka City, and between the Naka-gawa and the Hakata-gawa rivers. About 3,500 restaurants stand close together in Nakasu, street stalls line the Naka-gawa River, and large-scale shopping centers such as Hakata Riverain, cooperate with each other to produce the din and bustle of the amusement district.
Tenjin is a gorgeous area, with the business streets in harmony with the shopping streets. Large department stores, boutiques, and composite multi-function buildings are concentrated here. Fashionable coffee shops, restaurants, and everyday goods stores have been opening one after another.
In the evenings, from Haruyoshi-bashi Bridge in Nakasu to Daimaru Department Store, or along Showa-dori Street, street stalls, which are a feature of this district, stand side by side to serve a variety of dishes such as Chinese noodles, oden, tacos, and pizzas to you in a casual manner. Young or old, men or women, whoever is sitting next to you is your friend. Such an atmosphere is enjoyed at these stalls.
With various nationalities influencing and travelling in and out of this great city, Fukuoka is a melting pot of different traditions and beliefs. Truly a cradle of cultures.