Highlights of Fukuoka
Fukuoka is blessed with rich natural surroundings, benefitting from an abundance of fresh food from both sea and land. Renowned as a food lover’s paradise, Fukuoka boasts a variety of local cuisine, such as dishes prepared using fresh seafood caught in the nearby Genkai Sea, as well as “mizutaki,” a type of hotpot dish in which chicken and vegetables are cooked in unseasoned broth.
By evening, Fukuoka’s famous “yatai” start to open for business, food stalls selling a diverse range of foods. Through cuisine like Hakata ramen, one of Japan’s most famous ramen varieties consisting of thin noodles in a cloudy tonkotsu soup, visitors can enjoy communicating with restaurant owners and other customers.
During medieval times, Hakata was Japan’s largest trading port city. In Hakata Old Town, the hub of this prosperous port city, visitors can enjoy strolling through streets lined with historical temples.
Here, you will find Jotenji Temple, a Zen temple founded in 1242 by the monk Enni Ben'en with the support of Chinese merchant Xie Guoming. It is famous for stone monuments commemorating the origin of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, udon and soba noodles and manju (sweet buns), as well as beautiful stone gardens.
Hakata-ori textiles, a national designated traditional craftwork, have a history of more than 770 years. During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), Hakata-ori textiles were presented as offerings to the Tokugawa Shogunate, and the pattern used for these subsequently became known as “kenjo-gara” (offering pattern), a quintessential Hakata-ori pattern said to bring safety to the family and prosperity to descendants.
Hakata-ori textiles are renowned particularly for some of the finest kimono obi sashes, but today this traditional craft can be enjoyed in a variety of other forms, such as neckties and business card holders.
The Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival has been held since 1241 and is Fukuoka/Hakata’s most famous festival, having been inscribed as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. During the festival period (July 1st to 15th), in the region of 3 million people descend on the streets of Fukuoka to enjoy this spectacle.
From July 1st, “kazari yamakasa,” gigantic floats measuring over 10 m high and decorated with Hakata dolls etc., are constructed at certain locations within the city. From the 10th, “kaki yamakasa,” smaller floats that are carried, run throughout the streets in an intense display of power. The festival reaches its finale in the early morning of the 15th, with an event known as “oiyama,” in which rival floats from the various neighborhoods in Hakata compete in a race. During the race, the men take turns in carrying the float without letting it stop.
Fukuoka is a compact city blessed with rich natural environments, with the sea and mountains located only a stone’s throw away from the center.
Nokonoshima Island (photo on the left), which sits in the middle of Hakata Bay, takes just 10 min. to reach by ferry. Here, visitors can experience a different side of the city to its center, enjoying seasonal flowers and panoramic views of Fukuoka.
In order to become a startup city where innovative human resources and companies can take up the challenge of creating new values, Fukuoka is focusing on providing support to startups, and has been designated by the government as a “Special Zone for Global Startups and Job Creation.”
In addition to startup support in the forms of reduced corporation tax and relaxed visa requirements, the city has also opened a startup café and Fukuoka Growth Next, a platform for startups involving collaboration between the public and private sectors. These initiatives and facilities create a great environment for those wishing to come and set up businesses in Fukuoka.