Fukuoka Travel Guide

Though Fukuoka is the largest city on the southern island of Kyushu, its easy-going charm offers a pleasant change of pace from the sensory overload in many of Japan's other big urban centres. A rich history is part of the destination's appeal, but its magnificent food culture has placed it on the global stage.

The eastern area, Hakata, began as a base for merchants who traded with China and Korea during Japan's Middle Ages, which ran between the 12th and 16th centuries. Hakata Old Town's historical sites and traditional crafts are vestiges of this illustrious past, so travellers should make a point of visiting attractions such as Kushida Shrine, which was founded in 757, or trying their hand at painting Hakata dolls.

Most visitors would agree that food is Fukuoka's biggest drawcard, and the best place to experience the city's incredible gastronomic culture is at a yatai. These street food stalls are a way of life in the city, giving visitors a glimpse of how locals connect after the sun goes down. Must-try local specialities include mentaiko (spicy cod roe), motsunabe (offal hot pot) and Hakata ramen, which is one of the most famous types of ramen in Japan.