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Fukuoka

Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in fukuoka

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Fukuoka (??), part of which is also known by its traditional name Hakata (??), is the largest city by population (though not by area, which is nearby Kitakyushu) on the Japanese island of Kyushu and the capital of Fukuoka prefecture. Hakata Station is the terminus of Japan's Shinkansen (bullet train) going from Osaka, Tokyo, and beyond, though the final leg of the bullet train going to Kagoshima is currently under construction.

fukuoka Travel Guide :

Fukuoka

Understand

Fukuoka is a modern city; most of its buildings are new. Historically,it was divided into Hakata and Fukuoka, two separate cities divided by the central river, but although the main Japan Railways station is located in Hakata, and is called JR Hakata, Hakata-ku is now merely one ward of Fukuoka city.

The city really has two centres in Hakata and Tenjin. Most of the English information for foreign travellers is available on the 8th floor of the IMS building, just to the east of Tenjin Nishitetsu station.

The surrounding cities and towns make up the prefecture of Fukuoka.

Fukuoka is a good starting point to begin a vacation to Japan for first-timers. Compared to Tokyo, even New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles will seem sleepy and life appear slow. Beginning the trip at Fukuoka will help ease the transition. While still a big modern city, it's not hard to get around. The train station is already the loci of one of the city's two city centers (the other being Tenjin). When you're ready to head to the big cities up north, just board the "shinkansen" train line.

Fukuoka

Get in

Fukuoka

By plane

Fukuoka airport (IATA code FUK) is located to the east of the city at the end of one branch of the subway. Within the country, Japan Airlines and ANA fly to Fukuoka from a handful of cities, including Tokyo (both Haneda and Narita), Osaka (Itami and Kansai), and Nagoya Centrair Airport. There are also a few direct international flights to major Asian destinations like Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Bangkok.

From Tokyo, flying to Fukuoka is much faster than the Shinkansen, and not significantly more expensive. The usual one-way fare on Skymark Airlines from Tokyo Haneda is ¥24,400, compared to ¥22,320 from Tokyo Station on the Nozomi Shinkansen; the flight takes two hours while the train takes five. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, of course, you'll still want to take the train.

Fukuoka

By train

Fukuoka is the current terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen. Shinkansen services are offered from Kokura in Kitakyushu (20 minutes), Hiroshima (1 hr), Okayama (1 3/4 hrs) and Osaka (2 1/2 hrs), and through via the Tokaido Shinkansen from Kyoto (2 3/4 hrs), Nagoya (3 1/2 hrs) and Tokyo (5 hrs).

Another option from Tokyo is to take a westbound sleeper express such as the Sunrise Izumo or Sunrise Seto, leaving Tokyo around ten at night, and then connecting to the Shinkansen at Okayama early in the morning to arrive in Fukuoka around nine. While this takes much longer and costs slightly more than the Shinkansen (¥26,530 one way), it may be cheaper as it doubles as lodging and transport.

From Kagoshima, the new Kyushu Shinkansen line will eventually run to Fukuoka, but currently stops at Yatsushiro, with convenient connections to "relay" trains for Fukuoka. The total trip takes about two and a half hours and costs ¥10,050 each way.

From Nagasaki, the limited express Kamome runs hourly (sometimes twice an hour), taking 2 hours and costing ¥4,710 each way.

Note: Fukuoka's train station is called Hakata. If you search for schedules to "Fukuoka" online, you will likely be given an itinerary for a totally different (and much less interesting) city in northern Japan.

Fukuoka

By bus

Many overnight bus services run into Fukuoka from other parts of the country.

The Moonlight overnight bus runs from Osaka Umeda to Fukuoka in 9 1/2 hours (¥10000 one way); The Kyoto overnight bus, appropriately, runs from Kyoto to Fukuoka, also in 9 1/2 hours (¥10500 one way); and the oddly-named Zondag runs from Nagoya to Fukuoka in 11 hours (¥10500 one way).

If you're really ambitious, Nishitetsu bus runs an overnight service, the Hakata, from the Shinjuku expressway bus terminal in Tokyo to Fukuoka non-stop. The ride, at just over 14 hours, is Japan's longest overnight bus service. A one-way ticket will run you ¥15000; ¥27000 for a round trip.

Fukuoka

By boat

JR Kyushu's Beetle (http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/beetle/english/index.html) hydrofoils to Busan (South Korea) run five times a day and take just under 3 hours. They are quick, but in 2005 one hit a whale and had to be towed back to Pusan. Improved radar to detect such large animals and underwater objects seems to be needed. From Osaka to Kita Kyushu, it takes 6600 yen by Meimon ferry, but it is economy price, you can choose any price, higher and lower.

Fukuoka

Get around

The Fukuoka subway station, located under the JR Hakata Station, can also take passengers straight to Fukuoka International Airport (6 minutes, ¥250), as well as to Tenjin, the city's de facto downtown district, as well as to other major stops. There is also a passenger tunnel, useful during the frequent rains in summer and bitter cold winds in winter, which connects Hakata and Gion subways stations, the latter of which is close to some of Fukuoka City's most interesting temples and shrines.

Fukuoka

See

  • Tourists visiting Fukuoka should not miss the beautiful Ohori park located 2 stops west of Tenjin on the subway
Fukuoka

Do

The area is famous for 2 local annual festivals, the Dontaku (May 3-4) and the Yamakasa (July 1-15), both of which are some of Japan's oldest and draw huge crowds.

  • A bus ride across the bay is also highly recommended for the sweeping views of the port, the ocean, and outlying islands.
Fukuoka

Buy

Tenjin (??) is Fukuoka's largest shopping district, with retail buildings and stores like Tenjin Core, IMS, Vivre, Underground, Iwataya, and so on. And there are several store areas like the Tenjin Chikagai which runs underground next to the Tenjin subway station, as well as a large mall called Canal City in Fukuoka. Canal City has many kinds of clothing stores, restaurants, and rare character shops like an Osame Tezuka's and Studio Ghibli's goods shop. It is next to several hotels and the Nakasu district. Iwataya Z-side is the big department in Tenjin Nishi douri. Z-side is two big building. At first it was one building, but few years before new building came up. You can buy clothing and meal. First floor has Star backs café, so you can rest for a spell. Nishi-Dori and Oyafuko-Dori (actually the same street, separated by Showa-Dori) are two streets with several large boutiques and stores appealing to teenagers and young adults. Popular shops include Beams, United Arrows and Ships. You can see a lot of used clothing shops too, so you can enjoy your shopping a lot!

If you're pressed for time, take a quick look around Hakata Station before leaving. Along with clothes and apparel stores, there are craft and boutique shops/stands. Many carry the white clay Hakata dolls that are unique to Fukuoka. Prices range from under $10 to several hundreds. Models and prices are comparable to those found in Tenjin.

Fukuoka

Eat

Hakata is famous for its style of ramen, which has a very pungent smell thanks to a milk white pork rib broth called tonkotsu (??). Stalls called yatai set up from late afternoon and nearly all serve it, and can be found on major streets, particularly in Tenjin, Nakasu, and most of all on Nagahama-Dori.

Another regional product Hakata is famous for is the spicy mentaiko (???), or cod roe condiment, though in actuality these days it is all imported. Both products are widely available for tourists in JR Hakata Station as well as major department stores, although the mentaiko needs to be kept refrigerated.

Fukuoka

Sleep

There are several hotels located around Hakata Station, as well as the Gion area, Nakasu, and Tenjin, from capsule hotels and reasonably priced western hotel rooms, to more expensive tourist hotels.

  • Fukuoka Floral Inn Nishinakasu (??????????), Chuo-ku Nishi-Nakasu 5-10 (subway Nakasu-kawabata), tel. 092-735-1100, 1 (http://www.hotelfloral.com/). Opened in 2003, central location, small but clean and quiet rooms, free Internet in lobby. Doubles from ¥7800.
Fukuoka

Get out

  • KurumeKurume — famous for its ramen noodles, 1 hour from Tenjin by train
Fukuoka

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