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Things To Do and Food to Eat in Fukuoka, Japan
Fukuoka is not such a small place. Actual numbers put the population at about 5 million, with the city having roughly 1.3 million people. With so many people around you know you have to be busy. Any day of the week, if you look, you will be able to find something that interests you. Fukuoka City often hosts festivals in one area or another. With a little help from a friend or local foreign magazines and information centers, you can find out where the festivals are held.
The center of Fukuoka will have to be Tenjin (although others may argue that it is Hakata). It is the shopping haven of the prefecture. Feeling like you need to do a bit of shopping on some nice name brands from Italy or France? head to Tenjin. Want to blow off some steam and hit the bar (including foreign bars)? Tenjin is the place. do you want to meet some new friends? Rainbow Plaza in… you guessed it, Tenjin, is the place.
Right next to Tenjin is Nakasu. Nakasu hosts nightly entertainment, but tends to cater to more affluent individuals. However, Nakasu also has a huge shopping complex called Canal City, which has so many stores that you wouldn’t even count them all. The complex has many restaurants, two hotels, a large cinema and in the center of Canal City there is an area called Sun Plaza where it is common to find street performers doing their shows.
Of course, Tenjin and Nakasu aren’t the only place to have fun. I live about 10 minutes by subway from Tenjin in Nishijin city and I can do almost as many things here as in Tenjin. Bowling, swimming, soccer, billiards, game centers and even a movie theater are just some of the things Nishijin and the surrounding area has to offer.
Yahoo Dome (formerly Fukuoka Dome) is located in Momochi, which borders the sea. The Yahoo Dome is the home of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The Hawks are a strong baseball team, beloved by the city and its residents. In fact, there are only two teams in Japan’s professional baseball league that draw more than a million fans to their home games annually, and the Hawks are one of them. When the Hawks don’t have a home game, you can sometimes find other activities going on at the Dome. The Yahoo Dome hosts various flea markets and concerts throughout the year.
Food, food, food!
As far as I’m concerned, Fukuoka has the best food to offer in all of Japan (although I’ve heard the food in Sapporo is pretty good). Fukuoka has its famous dishes, and of course the chefs here can recreate dishes found all over the world.
As night falls on the city of Fukuoka, you can suddenly notice many small street vendors (usually operating out of their vans) popping up all over the sidewalks. These vendors serve a variety of dishes from ramen to yakiniku to tempura. The Yatais themselves are truly a sight to behold.
Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka
On occasions when I miss American and Mexican food, I always have the option of heading to the Hard Rock Cafe right next to the Fukuoka dome in Momochi. Momochi is next door to Nishijin, so I’m really lucky. Hard Rock Cafe Fukuoka boasts the largest restaurant of its kind in Japan. The food is fantastic and of course the atmosphere is like all the other Hard Rock Cafes. The staff are very friendly and as I frequent their establishment I am treated very well with occasional perks.
Although Izakaya restaurants are not only found in Fukuoka, they deserve a notable mention. Izakayas offer a wide variety of food and especially drinks at a low price. College students and business people can often be found in these restaurants chatting with colleagues and drinking up a storm. All Izakaya offer a different atmosphere, and with a little searching, you’ll be able to find one that suits you.
Famous food of Fukuoka
Have you ever had that cup of O ramen or that freeze-dried packaged ramen? bah! ditch it and try some “Tonkatsu ramen” (pork ramen), famous in Fukuoka and well known throughout Japan. The first time I tried it I was instantly hooked and to this day I still try to eat it once a week or so.
Another famous food that Fukuoka is known for is mentaiko (very small fish eggs). Some people might not find mentaiko too appealing, but please don’t knock it until you try it. Mentaiko spaghetti, for example, is a delicious treat in these parts. And of course there are many other recipes that have uses for mentaiko.
Unlike its New York moniker, Fukuoka tends to be a little tired at night, but usually late, especially on weekends. One of the reasons, in my humble opinion, is the traffic shutdown around midnight. That’s right, the subway, train and bus system pretty much grinds to a halt once you hit AM. Which forces the tired and more often drunk to either take a taxi home, walk, or I’ve even heard the “I’ll stay up until the subway starts again at 6am before I go home” line used by those who haven’t finished partying yet when it’s time for the last call of the transport system. It’s not just a Fukuoka special, as the shutdown is happening all over Japan.
Although the transport system shuts down at possibly inconvenient times, it is a great system. The perfectly clean trains, buses and metro (which are amazingly quiet) are a result of the shutdown as they are all cleaned during the early hours of the morning.
Fukuoka is located on the southernmost island of Japan’s four main islands. The name of the island is Kyushu. Fukuoka happens to be closer to Seoul, South Korea than Tokyo. Fukuoka Prefecture is located on the northern tip of the island of Kyushu.
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