Kyushu’s largest city, Fukuoka, is blessed with a seaside location and plentiful waterways, which means that besides regular sightseeing on land, there’s also a local alternative: seeing the city from the water. One of the best ways to do so is with a Mariera Cruise, during which you can both enjoy the sights of the city’s central Hakata district and fill your stomach.
The cruise sets off three times a day, so you’re sure to find a timeslot to suit your needs, and with the cruise starting from Bayside Place HAKATA – a mere 10 minutes from Tenjin, Fukuoka’s central entertainment district – it’s easy to combine with your other plans.
On board, you’ll find a range of dining options, separated by floor. The first floor, home to The Ocean buffet venue, is where to indulge in flavors from all over the world, but with a local touch. Ingredients are sourced from the Fukuoka area and across Kyushu, and used in a range of different dishes from curries to noodles, homemade bread to desserts, and more.
The second floor is the place to be for a leisurely sit-down dinner at The View, which has several elaborate menus to choose from. Think an internationally themed dinner that incorporates both Asian and Western favorites: go from an Asian-inspired appetizer to a Mediterranean-influenced soup and a European-style main course, all rounded off with dessert.
Alternatively, you can opt for a Continental or French course menu, during which you’ll be presented with a selection of the finest European cuisine and French cooking. The chef’s skill is on full display here, with a strong focus on seasonal ingredients and immaculate presentation. The local touch isn’t lost, either: all dishes incorporate locally sourced ingredients.
Up on the third floor you’ll find The Sky, an airy rooftop lounge-bar. If you mostly want to take in the views of the city without a full meal, you can simply have a drink and a snack here.
Whatever you choose, don’t forget to look outside: you’ll be rewarded with a leisurely glimpse of the Fukuoka skyline from a different vantage point. After you set sail, you’ll float across Hakata Bay, taking in all the highlights. From the deck and through the large windows in the dining halls, you’ll be able to see the islands of Shikanoshima and Nokonoshima in the distance.
Closer to the coast, the Fukuoka Tower stands tall as the city’s main landmark. During the day you’ll have a clear view of the buildings in natural light, while at night attractions such as the tower are lit up, giving the area a distinctive glow. No better way to see the city.
Lunch cruise 12-1:40pm, twilight cruise 4:25-5:55pm, dinner cruise 7-9:10pm.
Reservations and inquiries: 092-687-4526 (operator services in English, Korean and Chinese). More info at www.mariera.jp/fl/en
Where to Stay and Eat While You’re in Fukuoka
Planning to stay overnight in the city? From the cruise, it’s a short hop to Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel, right next to Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station. Foodies should head straight to Asagi, the hotel’s dedicated teppanyaki restaurant where your dinner will be cooked right in front of you. Opt for one of the course menus, which combine European-style cooking with Japanese influences. That’s not the only entertainment though: the half-moon-shaped counter faces the floor-to-ceiling windows, through which you can take in spectacular views of the city and the busy streets of Tenjin below. Continue taking in the scenery at the elegant Trans Bar. Meat lovers, meanwhile, ought to try Red Flamma, a contemporary grill restaurant. Choosing where to dine will be your hardest task here!
More info at nnr-h.com/solaria/fukuoka/