One of the country’s most important ports, a flourishing start-up hub and home to a food culture like nowhere else in Japan, Fukuoka Prefecture is well worth a visit. From motsunabe, Hakata ramen and green tea to stunning museums, shrines and mountains, it’s no wonder the prefecture and its eponymous capital have grown to be one of the most desirable places to live among Japan’s 47 prefectures. For travelers, Fukuoka is, first and foremost, a fantastic starting point for a trip throughout Kyushu — but not without a fair amount of exploring first.
Below are 70 things to do in Fukuoka to inspire your next trip to the prefecture, ranging from popular sightseeing destinations worth the hype to deeper, more local recommendations.
1. Fukuoka city is synonymous with yatai, food stalls that pop up along the streets after hours. We have one or two recommendations below, but a spontaneous outing to feast on local delicacies and sample the nightlife is also a great way to do it. Most yatai are located in Nakasu and Tenjin.
2. When in Nakasu, you can also go bar-hopping between meals. Some yatai specialize in cocktails and sake, but there are plenty of great izayaka in the neighborhood where you can keep the party going.
3. Akin to Shinjuku Gyoen in Tokyo, Fukuoka city’s Ohori Park offers an oasis of green in the city center. The park is best known for its lake and small island within.
4. Fukuoka Prefecture is the birthplace of Hakata ramen, a spin on the Japanese noodle dish that features a rich, pork-bone broth and ever-so-slightly firm thin noodles. Now, you can have decent Hakata ramen anywhere in Japan, but Fukuoka city residents favor Hakata Issou as the best ramen in the prefecture.
5. Another Fukuoka delicacy is motsunabe, a Japanese hot pot dish that involves boiling offal, cabbage and chives in a soy or miso-based soup. The recommended place to have motsunabe in Fukuoka city is Maedaya.
6. For seafood aficionados, tasting karashi mentaiko (or taking some home, as it’s also a popular omiyage) is a must. Fukuoka mentaiko is special because it is not only full of flavor, but it also packs a good amount of spice. The level of heat can vary significantly from one brand or store to the other, so trying karashi mentaiko at various locations is recommended.
7. Fukuoka’s Tenjin neighborhood is home to everything from cafés and restaurants to cool fashion stores. We’ve got a few specific recommendations for things to do in Tenjin further down, but we also suggest you dedicate an afternoon or day to wandering this delightful area of Fukuoka city without a set list of places to hit.
8. Across the river from Tenjin is Hakata’s Canal City, a unique shopping complex where you’ll find numerous boutiques and eateries. The complex gets its name from a central water area that flows between the shopping areas and Grand Hyatt Fukuoka.
Food and Drink
9. In the summer, oyster huts pop up along the northern shores of Fukuoka Prefecture. Whether you’re planning a road or cycling trip in the area during the warmer months, consider popping by one for delicious, fresh seafood.
10. If you’ve had your fill of Hakata ramen, head to one of the locations of local chain Futoppara, which serves a rare mash-up of ramen and somen — or as they call it, rasomen.
11. Another ramen joint to add to your list is Tsudoi, which serves bowls of the Japanese dish inspired by Cup Noodle instant ramen in the very best way.
12. In hot pot territory, when not indulging in homey motsunabe, treat yourself to mizutaki, a type of chicken hot pot originally from Hakata, Fukuoka city. Shinmiura is considered the birthplace of this heartwarming dish.
13. Another culinary export is yahata gyoza, one of Japan’s so-called “big three” varieties of gyoza. Originally from Kitakyushu, these izakaya staples are cooked in a cast iron pan as opposed to a frying pan.
14. Try hitokuchi gyoza, also from Fukuoka Prefecture, a mini gyoza meant to be eaten in a single bite. This variety of gyoza is hard to find outside of Fukuoka (not impossible, but certainly not easy).
15. In Moji, an uber-local specialty is yaki curry (or grilled curry), a doria-like baked dish with a base of rice over which a healthy portion of spicy curry is poured and then topped with cheese. You can find yaki curry at many restaurants in Moji.
16. In the warmer months, you can dine al fresco at the café and restaurant Naturalist in Tenjin, Fukuoka city. Take your pick from healthy but hearty meals inspired by French cuisine.
17. For a more laid-back ambience, pop by Nomata. Here you can sip cocktails while listening to smooth jazz.
18. If you’re feeling like going all-out, head to the new Fukuoka 010 Building for world-class entertainment, drinks and dinner. We visited the new facility at the end of 2022 for an exclusive look inside.
19. For a unique experience in the mountains, make a reservation at Restaurant du Haze, a restaurant in Kurume that specializes in macrobiotic and vegan cuisine. Every bite is inspired by the delicious food grown and harvested in Fukuoka. It’s surprisingly affordable. The seven-course menu starts at ¥5,400.
20. If you know where to look, some yatai also make for great places to grab a drink before or after dinner. Megane Coffee & Spirits has gone viral for its sleek, wooden set-up and its unique menu that features, you guessed it, coffee and spirits.
21. Anyone with a sweet tooth should visit Amam Dacotan‘s original store in Fukuoka’s Ropponmatsu neighborhood. The bakery instigated Japan’s recent artisanal donut craze, and while there are now two stores in Tokyo, if you’re in Fukuoka, you should check out the location that started it all.
22. Another donut specialty store that has its origins in Fukuoka is I’m Donut, which now has two very popular locations in Tokyo’s Nakameguro and Shibuya districts. I’m Donut also offers some savory options. Be prepared to wait a while, however. We recommend purchasing a few donuts to sample to make it worth the wait.
23. Venture out of the city and head to the shore for a sweet and salty treat at Mataichi Salt in Itoshima. Here you can order and degust a homemade custard pudding with salt made right around the corner.
24. Sip on or bring home some Hoshino tea, a green tea exclusively grown and cultivated in Fukuoka Prefecture.
25. Taste some umegae mochi, a Dazaifu specialty. You can recognize this Japanese sweet thanks to its signature plum blossom-shaped imprint on the top. The best place to search for and find umegae mochi is near and on your way to Daizaifu Tengu.
Art and Culture
26. When it comes to culture, a great starting point is the Fukuoka Art Museum. It covers everything from traditional Japanese art to contemporary installations.
27. If you’re more interested in deepening your knowledge and understanding of the art landscape in Asia, a visit to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum is a must.
28. Those interested in anthropology and local culture should plan a visit to the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History.
29. Kitakyushu also has local museums and institutions that make for great rainy-day activities. One of them is the Kitakyushu Central Public Library, which has a magnificent brutalist facade that usually impresses architecture fans.
30. When in Kitakyushu, wander around the Moji neighborhood by the seaside. It’s best known for its Western architecture.
31. Digital museum company Teamlab has many locations around Japan. Its Fukuoka location, called Forest, offers a different experience than its Tokyo one.
32. Japanese toilets are famous around the world. To learn more about how they came to be so high-tech, consider a stop at the Toto Museum. The museum’s architecture alone is worth a detour.
33. For classic Japanese architecture, visit Yanagawa. The city is known for its many canals.
34. If sipping tea is not enough to soothe your curiosity, plan a visit to Yame, one of Kyushu’s most famous tea-growing regions.
35. Pottery and ceramics fans should plan their trip in time to check out the bi-annual Koishiwara festival in Toho village, held in early May or early October.
36. Another typical Kyushu craft is indigo dyeing. Kurume city has many workshops travelers can sign up for. The official Kurume Kasuri Association has a great list of recommended workshops.
Shrines and Temples
37. Perhaps Fukuoka’s most famous religious sites, the Munakata Taisha shrines, a group of three shrines that worship the daughters of goddess Amaterasu, lead some 6,000 shrines across the country. Travelers can visit the main shrine, Hetsugu, in Munakata city.
38. Another important shrine is Dazaifu Tenmangu, located about 30 minutes from central Fukuoka city. Dedicated to Tenjin, the deity of learning, culture and the arts, the shrine is visited by over 10 million people every year and is the head of another 12,000 shrines across Japan.
39. Nicknamed “Fukuoka’s Frog Temple,” Nyoirinji Temple is a local favorite among Fukuoka residents. The place of worship, which was founded in the 8th century, is home to over 5,000 statues of frogs and other frog-shaped memorabilia.
40. Daihonzan Naritasan Temple in Kurume is home to a 62-meter-tall Jibo Kannon statue, the fourth tallest in Japan. On the grounds, you’ll also see a replica of the Mahabodhi Temple in India.
41. Another temple with an impressive statue is Nanzoin in Sasaguri. The temple’s main attraction is the Reclining Buddha, a bronze statue 41 meters in length.
42. Back in Fukuoka city, if you’re traveling to the prefecture in July, be sure to attend the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival held every year at Kushida Shrine. The festival’s activities include float parades, food stalls and more.
43. A more secluded temple to visit is Sennyoji in Itoshima. The temple has sumptuous gardens that are open to visitors. It is especially worth the trip in the fall when the leaves turn shades of red and orange.
44. For more expansive Zen gardens, visit Komyozenji in Dazaifu. The temple’s rock gardens, of which there are two, are particularly beautiful.
Nature and Scenery
45. For views of Fukuoka city, there’s no better vantage point than the observation deck at the top of Fukuoka Tower.
46. The Sarakurayama Observatory is another popular lookout point. While you can hike up Mount Sarakura, there is a cable car that you can ride up and down the mountain from nearby Sanjo Station.
47. If Ohori Park didn’t quite scratch your itch for greenery, walk up the rooftop of the Acros Fukuoka concert hall.
48. The Itoshima Peninsula is the perfect nature escape. The area offers an array of activities, including outdoor and beach-side barbecuing and more.
49. When in Itoshima, check out Sakurai Futamigaura’s Couple Stones, a pair of stones tied together via a Shinto rope. For the best photo, be sure to capture the white torii gate that marks the entry to this sacred spot.
50. Cat lovers should plan a trip to Ainoshima, one of Japan’s few cat islands. TW has its very own quick guide to get you started.
51. One off-the-beaten-path nature destination is Hiraodai Karst Plateau in Kitakyushu. Designated a natural monument and prefectural national park, the plateau is one of the big three limestone formations in the country.
52. Near Fukuoka city, there is Totoro Forest in Keyanooto Park. Walk the paths, some of which look right out of a fairytale book. The forest inspired Hayao Miyazaki when he made My Neighbor Totoro.
53. At Fukuoka Kenei Central Park, you’ll find another reference to a popular children’s show. Look for a pink dokodemo door (anywhere door), an iconic gadget from the Doraemon series.
54. If you prefer to stay active when traveling, Fukuoka offers great cycling routes. Shika Island is a lovely first choice.
55. Akizuki Castle Ruins offer beautiful views of the surroundings in rural Fukuoka.
56. You can see the only standing castle in Fukuoka Prefecture, Kokura Castle, in Kitakyushu. In the spring, when the cherry trees are in bloom, the castle’s white facade makes for a picture-perfect landscape.
57. In late April or May, a visit to the Kawachi Wisteria Garden is a must. It’s a very popular attraction, so expect a lot of people, but this place is one of the highest-rated locations to see Japan’s wisteria.
58. In Saitozaki, off the coast of mainland Fukuoka, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is another option for flower-viewing in the warmer months. Its most famous flower beds are nemophila, which bloom in the spring.
59. In the summer, you can head to southern Yanagawa for its sunflower park that spans five hectares. Located right on the shore of the Ariake Sea, it’s recommended to visit in mid-July or August for the best views.
60. For more flower fields, consider a trip to Nokonoshima. The park and garden have blooming flowers most of the year. You can see the full schedule via Nokonoshima’s official website.
61. Spend an afternoon vibing to cool beats at Como Es café in Fukuoka city where the head DJ is an adorable cat.
62. With the help of the Canadian Camp Riding Club, ride your horse along the Fukuoka coast for dreamy views.
63. Japan has many love hotels worth checking out. In Fukuoka, we recommend spending a night in one of Kurume Hotel R‘s extravagantly decorated rooms.
64. Search for local trends in a European-inspired setting at the underground shopping complex Tenchika in Fukuoka city.
65. For specialty publications, head to Ao-Hata Books to browse hundreds of books on art and design.
66. If your love of books runs deep, stay at Lamp Light Books Hotel in Fukuoka, where the lobby doubles as a cozy café for quiet reading and working.
67. One of Fukuoka’s most famous shotengai, Kawabata Shopping Arcade embodies everything good about neighborhood shopping.
68. Outdoor enthusiasts should consider booking a night or two at Snow Peak’s Aburayama campfield.
69. Alternatively, relax and detox by soaking in the waters of Harazuru Onsen.
70. Fukuoka has a unique branch of the glasses brand Jins, where half the store is shared with Onca Coffee. Browse for your next pair while sipping on delicious, brewed-to-perfection coffee.