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Fukuoka city guide: What to do, restaurants and bars and shopping in Kyushu's vibrant port city

Fukuoka city guide: What to do, restaurants and bars and shopping in Kyushu's vibrant port city
PHOTO: Unsplash

Even though it's the most populous city on the island of Kyushu in Japan, we actually stumbled upon Fukuoka as a winter holiday extension from Bangkok.

Rather like a compact Tokyo, this port city has plenty of offer, from best in class seafood and yakitori to historical attractions and cultural highlights. Plus, it's a perfect hub for exploring Kyushu — whether you want to visit Kumamoto or Nagasaki, it's just a Shinkansen ride away.

Travel & arrival

Singapore Airlines has the only direct flight from Singapore, but there are plenty of connecting flights from Tokyo.

Fukuoka is popular destination for Korean visitors so you can connect via Incheon. Alternatively, head over through Bangkok on Thai Airways or Taipei (EVA Air, Starlux, China Airlines, or Tigerair).

From Fukuoka Airport (FUK), you can take the airport bus to Hakata Station for ¥280 (S$2.50) or an Uber for around S$20 for further transfers.

Where to stay

For first-time visitors to Fukuoka or those who are looking to transit to other parts of Kyushu, we recommend staying around the city's main station, Hakata.

There are many business hotels in this area that offer great service, such as Via Inn Hakataguchi Ekimae and Dukes Hotel Hakata that go for around S$100 per night.

If you're looking for more vibrant nightlife, choose stay in the neighbourhood of Nakasu (Fukuoka's entertainment heartland) or Tenjin (the city's lively riverside area).

Up for something fun? Check out themed accommodation like Lamp Light Books Hotel or Henn na Hotel, complete with dinosaur robots at check-in.

Attractions, sights & sounds

History & heritage

Fukuoka's rich history and heritage are best experienced through its well-preserved historical sites and cultural landmarks.

Begin your journey at the Fukuoka Castle Ruins, where you can stroll through Maizuru Park and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Though only remnants of the castle remain, the area is steeped in history and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city.

Next, visit Kushida Shrine, one of Fukuoka's most important Shinto shrines. Known for its intricate architecture and the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival held every July, the shrine is a must-see for anyone interested in traditional Japanese culture.

Close by is Shofukuji Temple, the first Zen temple in Japan, founded in 1195. Its serene gardens and ancient structures provide a peaceful retreat and a glimpse into Japan's spiritual past.

Stroll through the Kawabata Shopping Arcade to experience a blend of old and new. This covered shopping street is lined with traditional shops, modern boutiques, and eateries, offering a taste of Fukuoka's vibrant local life.

Art & culture

For art enthusiasts, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum is a treasure trove of contemporary art from across Asia. The museum hosts rotating exhibitions and interactive workshops, making it a dynamic space for cultural exchange and artistic exploration.


Nature lovers will find plenty to admire in Fukuoka. Ohori Park is a favourite spot for locals and tourists alike, featuring a large pond, walking trails, and a beautiful Japanese garden. Rent a paddleboat or simply relax by the water's edge, enjoying the park's serene atmosphere.

A short trip from the city centre, Uminonakamichi Seaside Park offers a wide range of outdoor activities. With its sprawling lawns, seasonal flower gardens, and amusement park, it's an ideal destination for families and nature enthusiasts.

For a unique adventure, take a ferry to the offshore islands such as Shikanoshima or Nokonoshima. These islands offer picturesque beaches, hiking trails, and stunning views of the surrounding sea, providing a perfect day-trip escape from the city.

Food & drinks

Restaurants & eateries

Fukuoka's culinary scene is diverse and vibrant, offering everything from traditional Japanese fare to innovative fusion cuisine. At Tori Doan Haruyoshi, you'll find exquisite yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) in a cosy, intimate setting that's perfect for an authentic Japanese dining experience.

Koyama Parking, a hidden gem, offers a delightful mix of Japanese and Western dishes in a casual setting, making it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike.


For outstanding rare beef filet cutlet, Yorgo stands out with its stylish ambiance and the chef's skilled techniques turning everyday ingredients into exquisite bites. Yasube, on the other hand, is a haven for those craving authentic Japanese cuisine.

As one of the oldest oden stores in Fukuoka, their menu highlights fresh, local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques, prepared by Ogasawara-san who has been serving Kanto-style oden for over 60 years now. Udon Taira is also famous for its handmade udon noodles, offering a satisfying and affordable meal.

Yatais: A different kind of road side stalls

One of Fukuoka's most unique attractions is its yatais-traditional open-air food stalls that come to life in the evening. These mobile eateries offer a variety of local dishes, from charcoal-grilled chicken to hearty ramen.

Don't miss the chance to visit Yatai Bar Ebi-Chan for a lively atmosphere, delicious bar bites and indulgent alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Bars & breweries

Fukuoka's nightlife is as exciting as its daytime attractions, with a range of bars and pubs to suit every taste. Bar Sebek is a sophisticated cocktail bar known for its creative drinks and elegant setting, perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic evening.

For live music lovers, Heart Strings offers a cosy jazz bar atmosphere where you can enjoy performances from local musicians while sipping on your favourite drink. Aozora Brewery Hakata Tenyamachi is a local brewery that serves a variety of craft beers in a laid-back environment, ideal for beer enthusiasts looking to sample unique brews.

Similarly, Asunaro Brewery provides a warm and inviting space to enjoy a range of locally brewed beers while mingling with the friendly locals.


Fukuoka is a shopper's paradise, with everything from high-end boutiques to quirky local shops. Canal City is a massive shopping and entertainment complex that has something for everyone.

With a wide range of shops, restaurants, a cinema, and even a canal running through it, Canal City is a must-visit destination for any shopping enthusiast. The complex also hosts regular events and performances, adding to its vibrant atmosphere and making it a great place to spend the day.

ALSO READ: Best places to watch Euro 2024 and live sports screenings in Singapore

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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