Fukuoka-shi Travel Guide

Culture

Fukuoka was selected as one of Newsweek's 10 "Most Dynamic Cities" in its July 2006 issue. It was chosen for its central Asian location, increasing tourism and trade, and a large increase in volume at its sea and airport. Fukuoka has a diverse culture and a wide range of cultural attractions.

In its July/August 2008 issue, Monocle selected Fukuoka as number 17 of the "Top 25 liveable cities". It was chosen for excellent shopping, outstanding food, good transport links, good museums, "a feeling of openness in its sea air", green spaces and because it's friendly, safe, clean and close to the rest of East Asia.

Tourism

Sky Dream Fukuoka, located in Fukuoka City's western ward, was one of the world's largest ferris wheels at a height of 120 meters. It was closed on September 2009. Fukuoka Castle located adjacent to Ohori Park features the remaining stone walls and ramparts left after a devastating fire during the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration. It has now been preserved along with some reconstructed prefabricate concrete towers constructed during the 1950s and 1960s, when there was a trend across Japan to rebuild damaged castles as tourist attractions. Ōhori Park is also the location of one of Fukuoka City's major art galleries. There is a newly opened Kyushu National Museum in nearby Dazaifu.

The Marine Park Uminonakamichi is located on a narrow cape on the northern side of the Bay of Hakata. The park has an amusement park, petting zoo, gardens, beaches, a hotel, and a large marine aquarium. For tourists from other parts of Japan, local foods such as mentaiko, Hakata ramen and motsunabe are associated with Fukuoka. Yatai (street stalls) serving ramen can be found in Tenjin and Nakasu most evenings. Fukuoka Tower is near the beach in Momochi.

Museums
Fukuoka Art Museum – In Ohori Park; contains a wide selection of contemporary and other art from around the world, including works by Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, and Salvador Dalí
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum – contains art from various countries of Asia.
Fukuoka City Museum – displays a broad range of items from the region's history, including a spectacular gold seal.
– In Higashi Koen (East Park); displays Japanese and Mongolian arms and armor from the 13th century as well as paintings on historical subjects. Open on weekends.
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum – Dedicated to displaying the traditional ways of life, speech, and culture of the Fukuoka region.

The Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize was established to honor the outstanding work of individuals or organizations in Asia.

Festivals

Fukuoka is home to many festivals (matsuri) that are held throughout the year. Of these, the most famous are Hakata Dontaku and Hakata Gion Yamakasa., held for two weeks each July, is Fukuoka's oldest festival with a history of over 700 years. The festival dates back to 1241 when a priest called Shioichu Kokushi saved Hakata from a terrible plague by being carried around the city on a movable shrine and throwing water. Teams of men (no women, except small girls, are allowed), representing different districts in the city, commemorate the priest's route by racing against the clock around a set course carrying on their shoulders floats weighing several thousand pounds. Participants all wear shimekomi (called fundoshi in other parts of Japan), which are traditional loincloths. Each day of the two-week festival period is marked by special events and practice runs, culminating in the official race that takes place the last morning before dawn. Tens of thousands line the streets to cheer on the teams. During the festival period, men can be seen walking around many parts of Fukuoka in long happi coats bearing the distinctive mark of their team affiliation and traditional geta sandals. The costumes are worn with pride and are considered appropriate wear for even formal occasions, such as weddings and cocktail parties, during the festival period.

The festival was stopped for seven years during the Meiji era, and since it was restarted in the 12th year of the Meiji era it has been known as Hakata Dontaku.

Music

Notable musical names in J-pop include Ayumi Hamasaki (allegedly Japan's richest woman), singer/songwriter Ringo Shiina, hugely popular singer/songwriter duo Chage & Aska, singer-songwriter Eri Nobuchika, Misia and Yui. During the 1970s, local musicians prided themselves on their origins and dubbed their sound, Mentai Rock.

Morning Musume 6th generation member Reina Tanaka was also born here in 1989 along with 9th generation member Erina Ikuta in 1997.

Dominican songwriter and singer Juan Luis Guerra pays homage to the city in his bachata song Bachata en Fukuoka (2010).

source: Wikipedia

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