Fukuoka is the largest city on the island of Kyushu. With great food and endless activities, Fukuoka is one of the easiest places to have fun!
Things to do in Fukuoka
If you find yourself in Fukuoka, there is a lot you can enjoy in Kyushu’s largest city. Whether it’s your main destination or it’s just a quick stop before your next adventure, you’ll find enough fun and sights to take in that you’ll never be bored!
Canal City Shopping
You will easily spend hours just walking through this mall, let alone stopping to actually shop. There are many restaurants; get one next to the water so you can watch one of the water/music shows. They often have local musicians perform, and we were lucky to see a popular boy band performing!
Fukuoka Zoo and Botanical Garden
Along with the Safari Park near Iwakuni and the aquarium in Okinawa, this was one of our favorite zoos in Japan. Set on a hilltop of lush gardens with plenty of trees, this zoo has a great feel and a wide range of animals. If you’re not interested in the animals there’s an array of rides for kids (and adults who fit!).
Dinosaur Museum – Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History & Human History
Perfect for kids and kids-at-heart, this museum has a great collection of dinosaur fossils. Right across the street is a mall with a big ferris wheel and roller coaster, worth checking out after a couple hours of fascinating history. Check out their website for more information.
Ramen street is in the Canal City Shopping Center and hosts a variety of different Raman vendors – one from every corner of Japan. You can try tons of regional flavors without leaving the restaurant! Enjoy one big bowl or try them all to see which is your favorite. Make sure to have yen, as it’s cash only.
Each spring after sakura season you can enjoy wisteria season. Several areas throughout Japan have wisteria gardens, but we highly recommend the wisteria gardens near Fukuoka. These beautiful purple flowers have a fragrant aroma that fills the garden!
Check out our post about the Wisteria gardens here.
Ferry to Busan
Fukuoka is the largest city that is closest to China and South Korea, and for this reason, many people believe it may be the oldest city in Japan. If you want a quick adventure in another country, head to Busan straight from Fukuoka!
Nanzo-in Temple & The Leaning Buddha
Weighing in at 300 tons, this 41-meter long and 11-meter tall bronze statue is the largest in the world. Many Buddha statues are either sitting, standing or reclining. The reclining position is the position of Buddha when he died, and is called nirvana. It is an incredible sight. This is a Shingon-sect Buddhist temple, different than most Buddhist sects because their teachings are secrets given only to their followers. As with any group, remember to be respectful of their customs and traditions.
Fukuoka City Science Museum
Discover, learn and experience this great interactive science museum for families. With special exhibitions, labs, workshops, theaters this is a great place for kids to enjoy learning and exploring science. In case you have little ones who get tired of the museum, there is an area for infants to play with science-themed toys.
Day trips from Fukuoka
Distance from Fukuoka: 75 minutes
The first pottery village we visited in Japan was Onta. Dedicated to traditional methods of making pottery, this small village is full of character. From the unique yellow clay to the massive hammers banging rhythmically, you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It was one of our favorite trips in Japan – read all about Onta and Ontayaki!
Click here for our post about Onta.
Distance from Fukuoka: 2 hours 40 minutes
A visit to Takachiho Gorge during the fall is a great way to see the changing of the colors. You can rent a boat and enjoy the beautiful views of volcanic rock that tower above you on either side. The gorge was created when lava flowed all the way from Mount Aso, which is also worth visiting.
Check out our post about Takachiho Gorge.
Distance from Fukuoka: 1 hour 55 minutes
The best place to visit an onsen when on the island of Kyushu is Beppu. Known for the 7 Hells of Beppu, you can witness these hot pools and see how for many years the Japanese considered this area to be hell. Later you can enjoy a relaxing time burying yourself in hot sand while you listen to the ocean waves – or you may hear your children calling your name while they wait for you!
Click here for our post about Beppu.
Distance from Fukuoka: 2 hours
Japan is full of history, and Nagasaki has some of it’s most diverse stories. Nagasaki is probably best known for the second atomic bomb being dropped here, ending WWII. There is a beautiful Peace Park and Memorial here worth visiting. Did you know about the early Christian history? Visit the Memorial of the 26 Martyrs and learn more about how Christians were persecuted in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Check out our post about Nagasaki.
Distance from Fukuoka: 2 hours 21 minutes
If you want to enjoy nature, go hiking, or just love geology like me, Mount Aso is the largest volcano in Japan and there is much to see and do here. Read about Mount Aso here, where you can look at the map and plan your trip to see as much as you can of the incredible area.
Click here for our Mount Aso post.
I don’t want to make this a horror story, but our worst experience with hotels in Japan were in Fukuoka. We had 3 failed Airbnb attempts. One night ended in a really expensive hotel, and we spent one night sleeping in our car in a 7-Eleven parking lot. None of us have forgotten that adventure!
Our best advice: book a hotel several months in advance. Or bring your pillow – there is a nice 7-Eleven near the airport!
Places to eat in Fukuoka:
Fukuoka is known for its ramen, specifically Hakata Ramen, so that is a must-try. If you’re craving a really, really good burger, Frisco is the place to go! We also recommend a bakery near Canal City and that was our go-to for breakfast and lunch! Check out C’est TRES BON for delicious pastries and sandwiches.
Plan your trip:
Whether you are in Fukuoka for a quick trip or are planning on spending a few days there is much to see and do in and around Fukuoka!