Are you going to Southern Japan, to explore Kyushu Island and its wonders? Discover the best neighborhoods to stay in Fukuoka!
Fukuoka, the largest city on the island of Kyushu in Japan, was born from the 1889 merger of the former Fukuoka – a stately town west of the Naka River – with Hakata, a popular town in the east. A vast urban conurbation has formed eastward to Kitakyūshū, the island’s second largest city, forming the metropolis of Fukuoka-Kitakyūshū. There are 1.5 million inhabitants spread over 341.7 km², living under the auspices of a temperate and mild climate, cultivating a peaceful lifestyle in its districts. A historical crossroads between Asia and the rest of Japan, Fukuoka is one of the most dynamic cities in the Japanese archipelago with its own dialect (Hakata-ben), culinary specialties, numerous festivals that take place all year round and various museums. As everywhere in Japan, finding accommodation to stay in Fukuoka can be expensive.
The city – sunny, vibrant, gourmet, calm, and cultural – is subdivided into 7 districts where the soul and identity vary from one area to another. To guide you and enhance your stay, we have prepared a brief presentation of the neighborhoods to stay in Fukuoka.
Surrounded by Maizuru Park and the Naka River, backed by the major commercial artery Nishi Dori, is one of the trendiest districts in Fukuoka: Daimyo. This district is described as one the top areas to stay in Fukuoka, it is pleasant; has great shopping options; is rich in small cafés, restaurants, pubs and friendly bars; concert halls; designer shops and clothing stores; you name it. If you want to party, you will also find nightclubs where you can go out late into the night. The district is very young, but beware, it is also bustling. It is considered noisy with the hordes of pedestrians looking for the best prices to hunt a thousand and one things. Living in Daimyo can be expensive, as the population living there is rather affluent.
On the side of Hakata Central Station, there are most of the hotels to stay in Fukuoka: on a kind of peninsula between the Naka and Mikasa rivers, there is a large shopping district that is very lively both in the day and at night. Many bars and restaurants are scattered here, amidst shopping malls whose signs are reflected in the waters of the Naka River at night. Don’t miss a taste of Hakata ramen, Fukuoka’s signature culinary specialty, made with wheat noodles dipped in soup.
Stroll along with the yatai, a pillar of Fukuoka’s culture: they are stalls packed around small carts where you can eat next to about ten customers. This type of hospitality can be found in the streets of Taipei (Taiwan), Manila (Philippines) and Bangkok (Thailand). It is ideal to stay in Hakata if you have a train to catch the next day as you can avoid wasting time on public transport. This is the place to stay in Fukuoka if you fancy a day trip to neighboring Kumamoto Castle (pictured above) or Dazaifu shrines.
Momochihama district is often mispresented as not very interesting, but nevertheless has an advantage: it houses the Fukuoka Tower and a beautiful beach – a one-kilometer long artificial beach – which you can walk along in the evenings. Momochi Seaside Park is a green space and leisure center very popular with young people in Fukuoka, who come to relax, play sports, swim in the summer or eat at Marizon, a building on stilts that offers a mix of restaurants and shops. Favored by fashion photographers, Momochihama is a great place to discover both temporary and permanent exhibitions at modern art galleries. This district also houses the Fukuoka City Museum.
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