The capital of Fukuoka Prefecture is one of the largest cities by population in Japan, with over 5 million souls in the Metropolitan area. It is close to the Asian mainland. This made the area greatly significant during ancient times, as a point of connect with China and Korea right from the Stone Age. It became the entry point for many visitors, especially those who brought new technology to Japan over the years. The city was the focal point of the failed Mongol Invasions of the 13th century (the Mongols couldn’t handle the typhoons) that nevertheless played a great role in shaping Japan’s historic identity.
Fun fact: it was this typhoon that the Japanese now call the Divine Wind, or kamikaze.
The Meiji restoration saw much of the Edo period heritage destroyed, severely affecting many places of interest which is unfortunate. The city as you see it today began to take shape in 1889, when the separate cities of Hakata (which was the city of merchants) and Fukuoka (the city of samurais) were merged. Today, it’s a highly urbanized city with few reflections of its feudal past, aside from a plethora of shrines and innumerable cultural events both large and small.
Essential travel information and Fukuoka-shi tips for your visit
- Time Zone: Japan Time Zone UTC+09:00
- Currency: Yen
Electricity and Internet
- 100 Volts
- plug types A and B
- Ungrounded two pins/ grounded three pins
- Hakata-dialect Japanese; many people speak basic English
- Police: 110
- Ambulance/Fire: 119
- Chuo Park and ACROS Garden
- Nagahama Fish Market
- Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
- Kego Park
- Atago Shrine
- Do not tip waiters or taxi driver or any service staff
- Tipping tour guides is alright, but present the money in an envelope. It’s rude to hand it right out of your wallet or hand.
- Ohori Park
- Fukuoka Tower
- Tenjin Underground City
- Bow when greeting.
- Learn Japanese honorifics. Add a suffix ‘-san’ to most people’s names.
- slurp soupy, wet foods
- the small wet cloth before meals is for your hands ONLY
- remove shoes before entering dwellings; remove slippers before getting onto tatami; and don’t wear bathroom slippers anywhere outside the bathroom.
- don’t be too outspoken or gregarious. It’s rude.
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