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Fukuoka Bay Area

At a glance

Only a short ferry ride from Hakata Bay lie three of Fukuoka’s most famous islands: Nokonoshima, Shikanoshima and Uminonakamichi (not technically an island). Each island has its own charms, from the sprawling gardens and ferris wheel of Uminonakamichi to the nighttime sakura viewing and retro feel of Nokonoshima. You can also find the Hakata Port International Terminal, which offers daily speed-craft services to Pusan, South Korea in about three hours.

Getting there

Well served by the municipal ferry from Meinohama and Hakata Futo.

Points of interest

Nokonoshima.  A short ferry hop from Meinohama, this island has a spot in history for being noted in the oldest remaining Japanese anthology, Manyo-shu, which was compiled in the eighth century. The island is popular among JETs for the annual Isla de Salsa music festival in early August and the One Love reggae festival in May. Bikes are available for 200 yen per hour, or you can take in the beauty of the island on foot. Recommended is the Kiyou-bunko Noko Museum and Nokonoshima Island Park. You can also try pottery painting to make a souvenir of your trip. Nokonoshima, Nishiku. Museum: Tel 092-883-2887. Park: Tel 092-881- 2494. Take the municipal ferry from the Meinohama ferry terminal.

Shikanoshima. Also featured in the anthology Manyo-shu, Shikanoshima is an important cultural asset. It is home to many historical sites and cultural facilities such as the Manyo Song monument, Kinin (Gold Seal) Park, Moko-zuka (Mongolian Soldiers’ grave) and Shikanoshima Museum. Also offers a nice retreat for beach goers, and surfers will find one of the few good but unreliable lefthander reef breaks here. Catch the municipal ferry from Hakata Futo to Shikanoshima. By car, drive north of Fukuoka City towards Shingu on Route 495 and follow the signs to Uminonakamichi and Shikanoshima.

Uminonakamichi Seaside Park spans about 230 hectares and offers cycling, swimming, amusement rides, miniature golf, pony rides and a petting zoo. Bring your own bike or rent one at 410 yen for three hours. The park entrance fee is 400 yen. Marine World, perhaps the biggest draw of the area, features an array of aquariums and has 350 species of marine life, including dolphin and sea lion shows. Admission 2100 yen, or 4000 yen for a yearly pass. Mar 1-Oct 31 9:30am-5:30pm, Nov 1-Feb 28 9:30am-5:00pm; closed 1st Mon&Tue in Feb, Dec 31 and Jan 1. Higashi-ku. Tel 092-603-1111. http://www.marine-world.co.jp/english/index.html or http://www.uminaka.go.jp/park-guide-english.html Take the municipal ferry from Hakata Futo (Bayside Place) or the speed-craft from Momochi’s Marizon terminal. By bus, get off at Marine World Uminonakamichi. By car, drive north of Fukuoka City towards Shingu on Route 495 and follow the signs to Uminonakamichi.

Fukuoka Kokusai Center is the site of the Fukuoka International Women’s Judo Championships and the Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament held in November. Tickets can be expensive and difficult to obtain if it’s a popular season, so try to buy in advance. 2-2 Chikko-honmachi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-272-1111. Take Nishitetsu bus to Kokusai Center or Sun Palace-mae.

Fukuoka Sun Palace hosts concerts, international conferences and lectures. There is also a quiet hotel and restaurant with a view. 2-1 Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-272-1123. Take the Nishitetsu bus to Kokusai Center or Sun Palace-mae.

Bayside Place Hakata Futo is the main terminal for Shikanoshima and Uminonakamichi, but goes to Iki, Tsushima (Nagasaki) as well. Also sports restaurants and shopping. Shops: 11am-9pm. Restaurants: 11am-11pm. 13-6 Chikko-honmachi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-272-3939. Take the Nishitetsu Bus to Hakata Futo.