When people first think of Japan, Fukuoka is not usually one of the first places to cross their minds. While it might not steal the spotlight compared to Tokyo and Kyoto, it holds its own when it comes to mouth-watering food, idyllic nature, and historical Japanese charm.
Fukuoka is located on the island of Kyushu which is home to volcanoes, beautiful beachscapes, steamy onsen towns, and best of all, delicious food! Fukuoka itself is full of hidden treasures, exciting day trips, and unique foods to try. In order to help you discover the area, we have created this guide of 20 of the best things to do in Fukuoka. Get ready to explore one of the most underrated areas in Japan!
20 Of the Best Things to Do in Fukuoka
- Eat Hakata Ramen
- Visit Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
- Ride to the Top of Fukuoka Tower
- Dine at a Yatai Food Stall
- Try a Cooking Class
- Take a Walk in Ohori Park
- Explore Kyushu’s Largest Underground Mall
- Bicycle Along Itoshima’s Coast
- Enjoy Sake Tasting with Paired Obanzai Side Dishes
- Soak Up the Outdoors at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
- Go Japanese Tea Tasting
- Make Plastic Food Samples
- See a Giant Buddha at Nanzoin Temple
- Eat Mizutaki
- Attend a Festival
- Ride on a Canal in Yanagawa
- Give your Prayers at Kushida Shrine
- Shop at LaLaPort Fukuoka
- Visit the Asian Art Museum
- Cruise the City from a River Boat
1. Eat Hakata Ramen
“Hakata” is the name of one of Fukuoka city’s bustling business districts and is the birthplace of the famous “Hakata ramen”. Hakata ramen, or tonkotsu ramen, is characterized by its rich and creamy pork bone broth. A unique aspect of Hakata ramen is that the noodles are typically longer, straighter, and thinner than other types of ramen noodles.
You can enjoy slurping down a bowl of Hakata ramen at a yatai (outdoor food stall), in a restaurant, or you can even try making hakata ramen yourself! Tasting Hakata ramen is one of the top things to do in Fukuoka, Japan so don’t miss out!
2. Visit Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
Dazaifu Tenmangu is one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. Walking up to the shrine you can enjoy an old-style pedestrian street lined with small eateries, souvenir shops, and stone tori gates. Make sure you try the local treat called umegaemochi! This is a hot and sweet mochi cake filled with red bean paste.
Give your prayers at the main sanctuary and enjoy strolling the grounds. Since the Shrine is only a train ride away from the city center, it makes for a great half-day trip when in Fukuoka!
3. Ride to the Top of Fukuoka Tower
Fukuoka tower is the tallest seaside tower in Japan and is located near the popular Momochi Beach. Ride the elevator 123 meters up to the top floor to take in a 360° view of the city sprawled out below. At night, enjoy the illumination on the tower walls which is themed to match the different seasons.
4. Dine at a Yatai Food Stall
Yatais are small outdoor food stalls that line the streets in the evening and serve up delicious food like Hakata ramen, yakitori, gyoza, and yakisoba. Since yatais are small, don’t be surprised if you end up bumping elbows with your neighbor and making a new friend.
One of the unique local food specialties is mentaiko tamagoyaki (rolled egg omelet filled with salted cod roe). Yatais are special to the area so be sure to visit at least one during your Fukuoka trip!
Read more about dining at yatais in our Guide to Fukuoka's Yatai Street Food Stalls.
5. Try a Cooking Class
For foodies interested in a hands-on activity, taking a Fukuoka cooking class is the perfect choice to learn more about Fukuoka’s culinary scene. An experienced guide will teach you how to make authentic dishes (like the area’s famous Hakata ramen), and introduce you to the "real" Japanese lifestyle.
6. Take a Walk in Ohori Park
Walk, run, or just relax at Ohori Park, an area that is a Registered Monument of Japan. There is a path that runs along the park that is lined with several cafes, so you can stop for a bite and take in the view. Also don't miss seeing the beautiful vermillion pagoda that sits in the middle of the water.
7. Explore Kyushu’s Largest Underground Mall
Some of Fukuoka’s best things cannot be seen above ground - like the Tenjin Underground Mall! This is Kyushu’s largest underground mall and stretches nearly 600 meters. Stop by if you on the hunt for some souvenirs to take home or if you are looking to shelter from the weather.
8. Bicycle Along Itoshima’s Coast
Itoshima is a beautiful oceanside area that is famous for its pristine nature, coastal views, sunsets, and surfing. Enjoy an afternoon riding along the coast of Japan while breathing in the fresh ocean air. Visit Futamigaura beach to see a shrine in the water or relax at one of the cafes around the coast.
9. Enjoy Sake Tasting with Paired Obanzai Side Dishes
Sake, also called “nihonshu”, is Japanese rice wine that pairs great with foods like sashimi and obanzai, traditional Japanese home-cooked dishes. In this Sake Tasting Experience, enjoy relaxing at a semi-private sake bar in the heart of the city. This is the perfect way to learn more about Japan’s traditional food scene and sharpen your sake senses!
10. Soak Up the Outdoors at Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a sprawling park known for the various kinds of flowers that grow during the year. Find cherry blossoms, tulips, and blue nemophila in the spring, roses and hydrangeas in the summer, and millions of cosmos in the fall.
The park also has a small zoo, a swimming pool, and Go Karts. Since the park is quite large, renting bikes is a fun way to cover more ground, or you can enjoy strolling leisurely around instead.
11. Go Japanese Tea Tasting
Both drinking tea and the practice of making tea are important aspects of Japanese culture that focus on the ideas of mindfulness and zen. Kyushu is known for producing high-grade teas, with Yame in Fukuoka prefecture being one of the most renowned locations.
Immerse yourself in a Japanese tea-tasting experience where you will be able to learn about the production process, sample different types of Japanese tea, and learn how to whisk your own cup of matcha.
12. Make Plastic Food Samples
“Shokuhin sanpuru” or “food samples” in English, are plastic replicas of food that are widely used in establishments throughout Japan to depict the different offerings available. These plastic foods are crafted using innovative techniques to make them look as similar as possible to the foods they represent.
In this Plastic Food Making Class, you will be able to try your hand at making your own plastic parfait food sample. Unlike the real thing, you can bring this parfait back home as a souvenir of your travels!
13. See a Giant Buddha at Nanzoin Temple
One of the top things to do in Fukuoka is to head to the Nanzoin Buddhist temple located in Sasaguri, Fukuoka to see a huge bronze statue of a reclining Buddha. This statue stretches over 40m in length and is unique because its reclining pose is rare to see in Buddha statues (most are usually either standing or sitting).
Make sure to check out the Buddha’s massive feet - they are decorated with beautiful golden designs and are where people leave coins for good luck.
14. Eat Mizutaki
Another Fukuoka specialty is Mizutaki, which is a nabe hot pot dish centered around chicken soup. Similar to Hakata ramen, mizutaki broth is made by cooking bones for a long time in order to extract all of the rich flavors.
Mizutaki is typically served with lots of vegetables and different cuts of chicken. The soup contains a lot of collagen, which is believed to be good for skin and complexion. Want to try more Fukuoka food specialties? Check out What to Eat in Fukuoka!
15. Attend a Festival
There are many festivals that take place in Fukuoka, but the most famous one is called Yamakasa. Yamakasa is held during the first half of July and culminates with an exciting race on the final day. During this event, massive floats are hauled by participants as they run around the city.
16. Ride on a Canal in Yanagawa
Yanagawa is a small city in southern Fukuoka that is easily accessible by train. Its proximity to central Fukuoka makes it a perfect place for a Fukuoka day trip. Yanagawa is often referred to as the “Venice of Japan” as small canals run throughout the city.
Enjoy hopping on a punt (a flat-bottomed boat) and gliding leisurely down the canals. Bonus: Yanagawa is famous for a steamed unagi dish called seiromushi. Be sure to try this while in the area!
17. Give your Prayers at Kushida Shrine
Kushida Shrine is the main area where Fukuoka’s famous Yamakasa festival takes place. It has been designated by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage site and is an important shrine to the people of Fukuoka City. Close to the shrine is the Kawabata Shopping Arcade, where you can shop for Japanese souvenirs or rest for a meal.
18. Shop at LaLaPort Fukuoka
If you are looking to do some serious shopping, head over to LaLaPort Fukuoka. This massive complex was newly opened in April 2022 and houses over 200 shops. After shopping, you can fuel up at the “Food Marche” packed with various food options. For those who are fans of GUNDAM, outside the mall stands a towering, full-scale GUNDAM model complete with moving limbs and glowing eyes.
19. Visit the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
Due to Fukuoka’s geographical and historical characteristics, it has been at the center of Asian culture since ancient times. Visit the Asian Art Museum which is “the only museum in the world that systematically collects and exhibits Asian modern and contemporary art.” (Fukuoka Art Museum) The museum is located in the city center and has a collection of over 4,500 pieces.
20. Cruise the City from a River Boat
For a special view of Fukuoka city at night, hop on a riverboat! You’ll be able to take in the city’s nightscape while enjoying a ride on the Nakagawa River. As you cruise, you will be able to see Fukuoka’s famous yatai stalls lined along the river. If you see one you like, stop by for a bite once you finish your ride!
Marisas (Authors) Choice
There are so many things to do in Fukuoka, but visiting Itoshima is one of my favorites. When I’m not cycling around (like activity number 8 above), my next favorite activity is hiking. Climbing Mt. Tate is a great hike and my recommendation for nature lovers who are hungry for a gorgeous view.
The climb is relatively quick, and at the top, you are rewarded with a fantastic view of both land and sea. While getting to Mt. Tate is easiest with a car, there is a bus (albeit infrequent) that can drop you off near the start of the hike.
Hopefully, after reading this guide, you will have a better idea of what to eat and what to do in Fukuoka on your next trip. The people are friendly, the city is clean, and there is so much to explore, so what are you waiting for? Pack your bags for Fukukoka!