The Nakasu area is next to Tenjin and is Fukuoka's red-light district, with over 3500 restaurants, as well as ramen stalls (yatai), shopping, pubs, hostess bars, rooftop beer gardens in summer, one last surviving movie theater, and sex trade. The neon lights on the Naka River are famous with over 60,000 visitors a day, and it has the busiest street in Kyushu.
The Gion area has several historical shrines and Buddhist temples, including the 8th century Kushida Shrine, starting point for the annual Gion-Yamakasa Festival, Tochoji with its 10.8 meter wooden Great Buddha, and Shofukuji, Japan's first Zen temple.
Visit the ACROS building is Tenjin Chuo Park. ACROS has a rooftop garden which is open during the day until 4PM, and makes for a good view of the city. The building has a terraced roof that merges with the park and contains some 35,000 plants representing 76 species. Just east of ACROS is the former Prefectural Guest House, featuring turn of the century architecture.
Especially on weekend nights, the street that comes alive with youth activity is Oyafuko Street in Tenjin, which also has several ex-pat bars. It's only 400m long but swells with young people at night.
Just northwest of Oyakuko St. is Nagahama, famous for Hakata's Nagahama ramen, with stalls (yatai) that get set up daily to handle the locals who are proud of their ramen. You will most likely smell it before you see it, and if you want a true Fukuoka experience is definitely worth a look if not a full meal.
Tourists visiting Fukuoka should not miss the beautiful Ohori Park located 2 stops west of Tenjin on the subway. The park has a 2 km jogging track that is popular with locals throughout the year. Also, next to Ohori Park is Maizuru park, featuring the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and a good view of the city.
About ten minutes on foot north of Ohori Park is Nishi Park, a hilltop park with quiet walking trails, a shrine, an ocean and city view, and in springtime with over 3000 cherry trees is one of the finest places to see cherry blossoms in Kyushu.
Fukuoka is the home ground of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, check out a game at the Fukuoka Yahoo Japan Dome, which is about 15 mins walking distance from Tōjinmachi Station of Fukuoka City Subway. You can get an outfield unreserved seat for ¥1,000.
Fukuoka tower (福岡タワー) This tower is 234 m and the entrance fee is ¥800, and the view from the tower is magnificent. In Christmas and the Star Festival (Tanabata) on July 7, this tower is decorated. During the rest of the year the view is best at night time. This is an iconic symbol of Fukuoka. There is a restaurant which commands a ¥300 sitting fee in addition to the meal. The menu is limited and the food is mediocre at best.
Near the Fukuoka Yahoo Japan Dome, is a stretch of beach known as Momochihama, where visitors can enjoy a bit of swimming and sun. While the water isn't as clean as the waters further west and east in Fukuoka, you can still take a refreshing dip. There are a few lovely patio restaurants and bars which are an ideal location to watch the sun set. The area behind the Seahawk Hotel is good. It's less crowded during the summer.
Tucked into a building near Fukuoka Tower, you can find ROBOSQUARE. Admission is free, once inside you can see and play with different kinds of robots as well as watch some of the engineers at work. Be warned however, that despite the imposing sounding name ROBOSQUARE only consists of one medium sized-room with a few robotics exhibits and some toy robots and is primarily aimed at children. Some English explanations are now available.
Atago Shrine is a hidden gem near the Muromi Subway Station, with a superb view of the city and Hakata Bay from a hilltop. You can also see many storks that fly by and nest in the area. Walk west from the subway station across the Muromi Bridge until you see the Atago torii gate with the stairs heading up. Alternatively there is a side road you can walk up if you don't like stairs.
Nokonoshima is a small (about 12 km around) island in the middle of Hakata Bay and offers some splendid hiking, swimming, and camping. It is easily reached by a 10 minute ferry ride from the Meinohama Port. It also has the Nokonoshima Island Park (¥1000) that has several well manicured gardens and fields of flowers that vary by the season.
If you are visiting in November, be sure to check out the sumo matches held in Fukuoka. You are bound to see some of the sumo wrestlers out on the streets doing a bit of tourism as well.
Kabuki theatre is also an experience worth checking out. Check times and prices at the Hakata-za near Nakasu. If you don't want to stay for the whole show, or don't have so much money to spend, you can watch part of a show for about ¥800. Ask at the ticket office.
Noh theatre is also a cultural experience that some may not want to miss. There is a Noh theatre in Ohori Koen. Many of the performances are free, get more information at the Rainbow Plaza (IMS building 8th floor). Don't worry, if you fall asleep during the play, it's almost expected. It's all part of the Noh experience.
Visit the Tenmangu Shrine in Dazaifu, just 30 min from Tenjin. This shrine is popular with students as it is dedicated to Sugawara-no-Michizane who was deified as Temman Tenjin or Kanko, the god of culture and scholars. You can get there from Fukuoka/Tenjin Station, Nishitetsu line. About ¥390. See the link at the bottom of the page.
Kyushu National MuseumIt's the newest National Museum following Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara. Based on the concept "understand Japanese culture from the point of Asian view", they don't only exhibit but also preserve and investigate cultural assets, then prepare a variety of educational events to keep the museum fresh. The museum generally has interesting temporary exhibits, so check the website.