News Experience Japan: Your Complete Travel Guide to Kyushu and Fukuoka

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Experience Japan: Your Complete Travel Guide to Kyushu and Fukuoka

Japan’s most southerly island of Kyushu blends its volcanic mountain terrain, with tropical coastlines and ancient forests. Nestling in the spaces between the spectacular natural landscape, you’ll find sweet fishing villages, seaside towns, and slick rising cities, like Fukuoka.

If you are planning to explore this lovely island, Skyscanner Australia has put together a guide on the best things to do in Fukuoka, as well as where to find traditional Fukuoka accommodation. We’ll even throw in a few hidden gems to check out, as well as airport and train info. Come to Kyushu, and explore its capital, Fukuoka.

Things to Know about Kyushu

Major Airports Fukuoka Airport (FUK)
Main JR Stations JR Hakata Train Station
Fun Facts Fukuoka has the most outdoor street stalls (also known as yatai) than any other city in Japan. Yum!

When to Visit Fukuoka

The best time to go to Fukuoka is in the spring or autumn months. The weather is pleasant, the humidity is fairly low, and the days are fairly dry, meaning that sightseeing around the city, or hiking through the national parks are best done in the shoulder seasons (April/May and October/November). Expect the temperatures to hover in the early 20s during these periods. 

Compare cheap flights to Fukuoka

What to Do in Kyushu

If you’re planning to see more of this island, and are using Fukuoka as a base, there are a few must-see attractions on this island you should make time for.

1. Yakushima Island

Travel to Yakushima Island. This island is south of Kagoshima, and one of the rainiest places in Japan – nevertheless, this magical, ancient forested island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration and location for the Miyazaki’s animated Princess Mononoke. A spectacular place for hiking, though it is highly recommended you take a guide.

Yakushima Island, Kyushu

2. Nagasaki

Go to Nagasaki. Whether you’re a history buff or not, it is impossible not to be moved by the city of Nagasaki, its Peace Park, or its emotional Atomic Bomb Museum. Learn about this pivotal point in Japanese history by travelling to this city.

3. Onsen

Try an Onsen experience in Beppu. The city of Beppu makes the most of the geothermal landscape of Kyushu, and if you love soaking your muscles in hot water, there are few places better. Take a tour of the hot springs and onsens here, you won’t be sorry.

Beppu Onsen

4. Beaches

Check out the beaches! If you’re planning to be on the most southerly isle of Japan, it is your duty to head out to the coast. The most famous stretches belong to the Miyazaki prefecture, and the jewel in its crown is Aoshima, thanks to its perfect white-sand beaches, and charming seaside town.

Keep exploring with our Okinawa Guide

What to Do in Fukuoka

1. Fukuoka Castle

You cannot visit Fukuoka without stopping by to see the beautiful Fukuoka Castle. Perched on a hilltop, this castle overlooks the Ohori Park, and the Naka River, which bisects the city. Tour the turrets, rooms, and the grounds of this lovely attraction.

Kokura Castle, Fukuoka

2. Ohori Park

Providing respite from the busy streets of Fukuoka, the serene lake and grounds of Ohori Park are popular throughout the year. Stroll along the lakeside, and explore the various pagodas, bridges and pavilions scattered throughout the park. An easy and pleasurable trip to couple with Fukuoka Castle, which is right next door.

3. Kyushu National Museum

Wander through Kyushu National Museum. A modern addition to the city, this museum is a cultural attraction thanks to its exhibits and its stunning contemporary architecture. Medieval art, manuscripts, and prehistoric relics can be found here, and it is a great place to kick off a tour in Kyushu.

4. Kushida-jinja Shrine

This famous Shinto shrine was established in the 700s, and restored in the 1500s, this shrine is the oldest of its kind in Fukuoka. Decorated with carvings of the Chinese zodiac symbols, this shrine is a must-see attraction.

5. Kyushu-mae sushi

Try the Kyushu-mae sushi. Kyushu-mae (or Kyushu-style) sushi is different to the more standard Tokyo-style sushi as citrus and salt are used instead of soy sauce. Kyushu is also famous for its seafood, so it would be rude not to gorge yourself on as much as you can find.

Japan sushi platter

6. Nanzoin Temple

Just outside of Fukuoka’s city limits (15km), is Nanzoin Temple, one of the most visited sites in the entire prefecture, and almost entirely due to the spectacular Reclining Buddha. This bronze statue, whilst horizontal, is thought to be longer than the Statue of Liberty, and is one of the most arresting spiritual attractions in the area. A must-see.

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Hidden Gems in Kyushu and Fukuoka

1. Yetai Street

Try Fukuoka-style ramen. In the Nakasu District of the city you’ll find Yatai Street, and on that street is a seemingly-endless line of ramen stalls. One of the most delicious things to do in Fukuoka, especially if you wash it down with a cold beer.

2. Okawachiyama

Visit Okawachiyama. A mountain village set deep in the Saga Prefecture, Okawachiyama is famed for its pottery. Known throughout Japan as the national birthplace of porcelain, you’ll find artisans still make beautiful crockery here. If you want to bring back something truly special from your trip to Fukuoka, then tour the Hataman Touen workshop, and find a piece that speaks to you.

Where to Stay in Fukuoka

In Fukuoka there are really three main neighbourhoods to set down your bag at the end of a flight, and where you choose depends on what you’re looking for.

1. Hakata Station Area

It may sound strange to recommend a stay right by the station, especially if you aren’t having to get up at 4am for a train journey, but Hakata Station is really central to this city, and there are tons of things to do here. You can shop in Canal City Hakata, taste the famous tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Stadium, or hop on a ferry from Hakata Bay and visit the nearby islands, like Nokonoshima. Hotel options are also excellent, where you’ll find backpacker hostels, mid-range hotels, and much loved upscale ones like the ANA Crowne Plaza Fukuoka

Best Place to Stay in Fukuoka for: exploring the islands and trying ramen

2. Nakasu Area

Known for its nightlife, restaurants, and hip, buzzy scene, Nakasu is the place to book if you want to dance, pop out for late night eats, or want to sing your heart out at karaoke. There are also lots of hotel options here, from luxury to budget.

Best Place to Stay in Fukuoka for: the nightlife

3. Tenjin Area

Tenjin is the most central, and has arteries to almost every other part of the city. For foodies, you will find street food stalls and excellent restaurants, for night owls, upmarket night clubs, for shopaholics, a vast array of megamalls, and for the culture vultures, easy access to the historical attractions. Stay in hotels like the fun and funky Arty Inn, or the Hotel Tenjin Place

Compare hotels in Fukuoka

Thinking about travelling on to Okinawa Prefecture? Continue exploring Japan with our Okinawa Travel Guide.