Located on the northern part of Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, Fukuoka offers an alternative to the main regions of Japan, with a relaxed atmosphere and food culture Aussies are sure to love.
Fukuoka is a region you’ll likely have heard about recently, with the region’s tourism authority putting in work to spread the word about its offering. It’s the home of ancient castles and shrines, and islands bursting with colourful plant life that can be experienced on trail and train journeys.
It’s also a broader region composed of four destinations: Fukuoka Area, Chikugo Area, Kitakyushu Area, and Chikuko Area.
But while the region is certainly home to some of the staples and calling cards of Japan—delicious eats and renowned hospitality—that attract Australians en-masse, Fukuoka is home to its own unique spread of experiences that differ from the rest of the country.
Here are some of the best experiences that you won’t want your clients to miss on their next journey to Fukuoka.
Foodie delights you won’t find anywhere else
While you’ll find crowd-pleasers of Japanese cuisine across Fukuoka, there are plenty of dishes that are only synonymous with this region, like the local Yanagawa favourite Unagi no Seiromushi.
It’s a delicious dish that consists of grilled eel coated in a sweet and salty sauce over rice, which can be found across the city at several long-established eel restaurants.
There’s also the famed French-Japanese fusion cuisine found only on the Coto Coto Train, prepared under the direction of Tsuyoshi Fukuyama, the owner-chef of La Maise de la Nature Goh in Fukuoka, ranked one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants.
Travellers can enjoy the scenery of a train journey alongside some of the best-served cuisine in Japan: What’s not to love?
With a population around a fifth of the size of Sydney’s, Fukuoka city is just 10 minutes from the region’s airport and is known for a few foodie delights of its own. Among these are the city’s popular yatai food stalls, of which there are more than 100 spread across the Tenjin, Nakasu, and Nagahama areas.
Travellers can sample Hakata specialties like ramen, yakitori and gyoza.
For lunch, travellers can also try Mojiko’s local favourite, the Yaki curry, a dish of baked curry topped with cheese and eggs on rice. Experts recommend stopping at Bear Fruit, the region’s best-known Yaki curry restaurant, which is found near the newly refurbished JR Mojiko Station.
Fill your soul with the old world of Fukuoka
An authentic taste of Japan minus the crowds, Fukuoka is also known for its Olle trekking courses, filled with beautiful bamboo forests, riverboat (donkobune) experiences along the canals of Yanagawa, and 17th-century castle ruins, among an assortment of other splendid experiences that would make for great itineraries.
But a visit to Fukuoka would be incomplete without savouring some of its local culture and antiquity, which each happen to be tied to some stunning experiences of nature, whether in Fukuoka city, Itoshima, or Yanagawa.
In Fukuoka city, visiting Maizuru Park to see the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and its stunning vegetation, designated a Natural Treasure of Japan, is a great family experience as it is also connected to Ohori Park, which happens to host its very own contemporary art museum, the Fukuoka Art Museum.
Getting out of the city, travelling by car to Itoshima to visit the Shiraito Waterfall and then on to Kitakyushu to visit Kokura Castle, where you can book a tea ceremony at the castle garden, makes for a great self-drive journey.
The Kokura Castle grounds are additionally a famous spot for cherry blossoms in early spring.
For a quirky dose of contemporary culture, travellers in Kitakyushu can continue to Toto Museum, a museum dedicated to the history of (drumroll please) Japanese toilets.
Savour the sun and blaze a trail
But if you’re keen to leave cars, trains and planes behind, Fukuoka also boasts plenty of experiences that you can make the most of on-foot or by bicycle. Travellers can take the kids fruit picking in the bountiful southern Chikugo area, or camp in the famed Ikenoyama campground, found inside Furusato Park.
Or if its a matter of making the most of fresh air and beautiful sights and sounds, Fukuoka is home to a few phenomenal walking courses, most notably the Oshima Course and Yame Course in Munakata, the Mount Kora Course in Kurume, and the Mount Kiyomizu Course in Miyama.
You are, to borrow the phrase, spoilt for choice in Fukuoka.
Connecting the world to a region rich in ancient culture and stunning natural beauty, Fukuoka is a crossroads between cultures, cultivating diversity and cosmopolitan citizens who extend their warm welcome to those near and far.
It’s where tradition coexists with the contemporary and urban spaces grow in harmony with nature. It’s also a destination soon to be ready to welcome travellers, with the help of travel agents.
To learn more about Fukuoka with the help of online training, click HERE.
Featured image: Kokura Castle, Kitakyushu (source: supplied)