Fukuoka Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Japan > Fukuoka > History

Fukuoka is just the right size. It is big enough to offer everything that most people need--from abundant shopping, restaurants, businesses, transportation and accommodations to an exciting array of entertainment activities--but small enough to be manageable. This manageable size provides for easy navigation and easy explanation of the city's layout. To begin, the city is divided into seven wards called ku. They are: Nishi, Sawara, Jonan, Chuo, Hakata, Minami, and Higashi.

Nishi-ku?literally "West Ward"'stretches down the rocky southwest coast. The further you drive, the more rural it becomes, with town-like districts scattered among the stretches of preserved nature. If you are traveling to any one of the fine beaches in this area?like Futamigaura?you may have a hard time believing this is actually the city. Where this ward abuts Sawara-ku closer to the city, you have Meinohama, a somewhat suburban residential area with much marina activity, including ferries to paradisiacal Nokoshima.

Sawara-ku may seem like a bustling suburban area, but that is only because the two districts most people are familiar with?Nishijin and Momochi'share these qualities. Visitors really should try to see the beautiful Momochi region at least once, and will likely have to pass through the more jumbled Nishijin Arcade area to do so. The rest of the ward meanders southwest into suburbs patched with rice-fields and, eventually, into a mountainous region so deserted that residents hiking or biking in the area sometimes encounter monkeys!

Jonan-ku is a small wedge located east of Sarawa-ku, but south of Chuo-ku. This is mostly a residential area that reaches back into the elevations of Aburayama. There is perhaps little reason to pass through here (and its random rice-fields) unless you are going to Fukuoka University or Fukuoka University Hospital, or are heading into the mountains.

North of Jonan-ku and east of Sawara is Chuo-ku, meaning "Central Ward." This, for most people, is the city proper. The majority of visitors will spend the bulk of their time in this ward?-for good reason?-and most Fukuoka residents will pour into the area at some time (or several times) during the week. Close to Sawara-ku, just after you pass over Hiigawa River from Momochi, you have the Fukuoka Dome and Hawks Town. From there, moving closer to the skyscrapers of Akasaka and Tenjin, you encounter Ohori Park and Maizuru Park. These two create the last refuge before you enter downtown.

In Tenjin, there is almost too much to name. For bars and entertainment, stroll down Nishi-dori or Oyafuko-dori. For shopping, try Keiyaki-dori or the chic Daimyo area. Other shopping centers in the bustling area include IMS, Solaria, Mitsukoshi, Daimaru and Iwataya Z-side. Move north from Tenjin, and you enter the Nagahama region. Besides a number of businesses, this area is famous for its port activity and its nationally famous ramen of the same name, served at shops throughout the area.

At the eastern reaches of Tenjin, where you will find Chuo Park, cross the Naka River via the Deai Bridge to arrive in Hakata-ku, specifically the famed Nakasu entertainment district. Just south of this quasi-island is the equally famous Canal City, and to the immediate west, Riverain, Hakata-za and the Okura Hotel. To the north, you have Bayside Place and one of Japan's busiest ports. This entire area was actually a merchant city called Hakata before the modernization of Japan beginning in 1868 saw it combined with the aristocratic Fukuoka domain around Ohori Park. For this reason, and despite the confusion it sometimes creates, the major station in this district, and also the biggest in Fukuoka and Kyushu, is called Hakata. Located southeast of Nakasu and the port area, Hakata Station is surrounded by dozens of hotels and businesses. Farther east, across the Mikasa River and beyond the city expressway, a large area comprising a significant proportion of the district accommodates Fukuoka Airport.

South of Chuo-ku and Hakata-ku lies Minami-ku, which means "South Ward", even though Sawara-ku reaches considerably deeper into the southern elevations. Minami-ku is primarily residential, with hundreds of schools dispersed throughout its several districts. To the far south-west, you can reach Aburayama Citizens? Forest. Nearby, Sawara-ku, Jonan-ku and Minami-ku converge near the modest 569.4-meter peak of Aburayama.

While the final ward, Higashi-ku, means "East Ward", it is located more to the north of Hakata-ku. Like Minami-ku, this area has many blue-collar residential districts and numerous schools, including Kyushu University. A sprawling port, where many of the residents work, is located to the west, along Hakata Bay. Travel north and you are eventually able to travel east along the peninsula that makes Hakata Bay a bay! Much is located along this peninsula, including the countless attractions of Uminonaka-michi and the sights of Shikanoshima. Other locations of note are Hakozaki Shrine, easily the most famous in Fukuoka, and the Genkai National Park located in eastern elevations that also mark the eastern limits of the city.

Weather

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg. High 48° 50° 56° 66° 73° 79° 87° 89° 82° 73° 63° 53°
Avg. Low 36° 37° 41° 50° 58° 66° 74° 75° 68° 57° 47° 40°
Mean 42° 44° 49° 58° 66° 72° 80° 82° 75° 65° 55° 47°
Avg. Precip. 2.9 in 2.8 in 3.9 in 5.0 in 5.7 in ** ** 6.5 in 6.9 in 3.8 in 3.2 in 2.4 in

Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.