Bike around Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, picnic under cherry blossoms or spend the day at the beach in Fukuoka – these are just a few of the reasons why Fukuoka is the perfect Japanese city to explore in the fresh air.
With the ocean before you and the mountains behind you, plentiful parks and fields of seasonal flowers, Fukuoka is a fantastic city to visit if you fancy exploring Japan in the fresh air. Kyushu’s capital offers hikes, parades and so much more – so don’t miss out; make sure that you try at least one of these fantastic outdoor activities.
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Although Dazaifu Tenmangu is probably Dazaifu’s most famous attraction, a short bus ride from the station is another great reason to visit: Honmanzan. This is a very popular hike with locals, and takes around half a day to complete. It gets very steep near the summit, but the path is shaded and well marked. Once at the summit, your efforts will be rewarded with a spectacular view over the prefecture.
Go for a run at Ohori Park and Maizuru Park
In spring, Maizuru Park is one of the best places in Fukuoka City to see the cherry blossoms, and have a peaceful picnic. Its neighbour, Ohori Park, also has a beautiful lake, which makes a serene location for a run at any time of the year. Although the two parks are separate, they are right next to each other and you can easily visit both. While you are here, check out the ruins of Fukuoka Castle, or attend one of the many festivals that are held at Maizuru Park throughout the year.
Get the ferry to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
Uminonakamichi Seaside Park is a cross between a resort and a park, and a great place to take children for a day out. Explore on foot or rent a bike (¥500 for three hours, or ¥700 for the day). The park has an Animal Forest with a petting zoo, and an outdoor pool with waterslides, which opens over the summer. Check their website to see which flowers are in season – the ocean-like fields of ‘baby-blue eyes’ flowers in spring are particularly striking, and well worth seeking out.
See wisteria in bloom
Although sakura (cherry blossoms) are undeniably Japan’s most famous seasonal flower, wisteria viewing is also popular nationwide. Fukuoka Prefecture offers some very impressive festival locations. The most well known is the Kawachi Wisteria Garden. This magnificent wisteria tunnel is so famous, roads around the attraction are often brought to a standstill. It should also be noted that tickets can only be bought at machines in convenience stores within Japan. There are plenty of other beautiful locations in which to view the wisteria though, such as Nakayama no Ofuji. More of a local affair, this wisteria-covered shrine alongside a stone bridge offers a quieter alternative to its famous big sister.
Spend the day at the beach at Momochihama
One of the most brilliant things about Fukuoka is its location. As you are right on the seafront, you are just a 30-minute bus ride from the nearest beach, Momochihama. Located next to Fukuoka Tower, Momochihama is a lovely place to buy kakigori (shaved ice) in summer, and go for a paddle. It has a fun, nostalgic vibe and beautiful white sands that stretch along the bay.
Be inspired like Kurosawa at Akizuki
A short distance from the city centre of Fukuoka lies the serene, historical town of Akizuki. The name means ‘autumn moon’ – fitting for a town renowned for its beautiful foliage. Although lovely to explore when the leaves are changing colour, Akizuki is a special place at any time of year. Wander around the beautiful streets, castle ruins or explore the quiet temples. Akizuki is also known for having inspired Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress, which in turn served as inspiration for Star Wars. You can take the bus for Akizuki from Amagi Station and dismount at Kyodokan-mae (around 20 minutes).
Explore a temple at Tenpaizan Historical Natural Park
Located a short walk from JR Futsukaichi Station is Tenpaizan Historical Natural Park. If you feel like hiking, follow the path up the hill to take in the view from the peak. It’s a short, forested walk dotted with small shrines. Alternatively, stay by the lake and explore the Buzou-ji temple.
Eat something in a yatai
Fukuoka is one of the few places in Japan where you can still visit yatai. These are night-time street food stalls offering drinks and local specialities. You can order a range of different dishes at each stall, from steaming bowls of ramen to mentaiko tamagoyaki (spiced cod roe omelettes) and even French food. Some yatai are more ‘outdoors’ than others, depending on whether they are sturdy, covered tents or simply seats placed in front of a stall. They can be surprisingly pricey though, so make sure you know how much dishes cost before ordering.
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