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Hakata & Nakasu

At a glance

Hakata is a neighborhood housed in a train station – it has more shops and restaurants (230) in its 8 floors than most inaka towns, and  the population of transient rail passengers averages in at around 350,000 people per day. The station even has its own rooftop shrine! Here you can find Kyushu’s only Krispy Kreme donut factory (just look for the queue!) and Maruzen, a bookstore with a generous offering of English-language novels, books, and magazines.

Located ten minutes straight out of the Hakataguchi exit is Nakasu, the largest entertainment district in Western Japan. Stumble upon some of the best restaurants that Fukuoka, or even Kyushu, has to offer!

Festivals

Hakata is one home of the Yamakasa, and Nakasu has its own namesake festival.

Getting there

As the center of transportation, the station and surrounding neighborhoods are well served by JR Hakata Station, subway and city buses.

Points of interest

Hakata Riverain is a multi-purpose complex that includes the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Hakata-za theater, and the shopping complex known as “eeny meeny miny mo.” Come here when you catch the Japanese brand obsession and decide you can’t live another day without a Louis Vuitton purse. The restaurants in “eeny” are equally as chic and hip as their surrounding boutiques and will give you a meal to remember. The Hotel Okura is a common spot for Enkais, and the nearby Hakata Harp has a good variety of European beers. 3-1 Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092- 271-5050. www.riverain.co.jp Take the subway to Nakasu- Kawabata, or Nishitetsu bus to Kawabata-machi.
Hakata-za is a must for traditional kabuki and noh perfomances. The stage features a hanamichi (flower path) connecting the main stage with the back of the seating. Shows are performed monthly. 2-1 Shimokawabatamachi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-263-5858. www.hakataza.co.jp. Take the subway to Nakasu- Kawabata, or Nishitetsu bus to Hakataza-mae.

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum introduces the history of modern and contemporary Asian art and serves as a place of exchange for the burgeoning local art community. Visit the website for exhibit and special event information. Adults 200 yen. 10am- 8pm (7:30pm doors); closed Wed (Thu if Wed is a holiday). 3-1 Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-263-1100. http://faam.city.fukuoka.jp. Take the subway to Nakasu- Kawabata, or Nishitetsu bus to Kawabata-machi or Hakataza-mae.

Canal City Hakata is one of the largest and most popular shopping and entertainment centers in town, conveniently situated between Tenjin and Hakata Stations. Across the river in Nakasu, the brightly colored complex is flanked by the Grand Hyatt and Washington Hotel. The bottom floor’s food court includes a Pietro, Pronto, Kohinoor, Wako Tonkatsu, a gyoza-only restaurant and one shop dedicated exclusively to garlic. Going up a few floors will lead you to the Ramen Stadium, which has a collection of noodle shops from all over Japan. Canal City also has an amusement center, movie theaters and many familiar western stores like J. Crew, Gap, H&M and Zara. www.canalcity.co.jp Catch the 100 yen bus right in front of the IMS Building or in front of JR Hakata Station (Hakata-guchi exit) to Canal City Hakata-mae.

Hakata Machiya Folk Museum is a replica of a Hakata town during the mid-Meiji Period (end of the 19th century). Visitors can experience the lifestyle and festivals of the time and observe or even participate in the making of traditional arts and crafts specific to the Hakata area, such as weaving, hariko (papier-mache tigers), ningyo (dolls), and koma (chess pieces). Adults 200 yen. 10am-6pm. 6-10 Reisen-machi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-281-7761.
Take the subway to Gion, or Nishitetsu bus to Canal City Hakata.

Jotenji Temple. Built in 1242 by a Sung named Sha Kokumei and high-ranking monk Shoichi Kokushi, this temple is said to be the birthplace of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival. 1-29-9 Hakataeki-mae, Hakata-ku. Take the subway to Gion.

Tochoji Temple. Kobodaishi Kukai, a well-known Buddhist monk who did much of his spiritual training in China, built this temple in 806 during his stay in Hakata. It is the oldest temple of the Shingon sect he founded in Japan. The Rokkakudo, or hexagon hall, has been designated by the city as an important architectural treasure. The temple also hosts the “Mercy with 1000 hands,” a large wooden statue of Buddha which is a Nationally Designated Important Cultural Property. 2-4 Gokusho-machi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092- 291-4459. Take the subway to Gion.

Sumiyoshi Shrine.  Home of the guardian of sea travel and traffic safety, which means it is a good place to buy omamori for your car. 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-2591-2670. Take Nishitetsu bus to Sumiyoshi/ Ekimae 4-chome.

Kushida Shrine. Famous as the starting point in the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, businessmen are often seen here on their first-ofthe- year shrine visits as it is believed that Kushida is home to the god of thriving business, health and longevity. Hakata Historical Museum is also on the premises (admission 300 yen) and details the Yamakasa Festival with a brief history of Hakata. 1-41 Kamikawabata-machi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092- 291-2951. Take the subway to Gion, or Nishitetsu bus to Canal City Hakata.

Shofukuji Temple. This historically important gateway was the first Zen temple in Japan built by the founder of the Japanese Zen sect, Eisei, in 1195. The temple houses many precious artifacts such as a statue of Daikan Zenji (a famous Zen sect priest), and is deemed a Nationally Important Cultural Property. 6-1 Gokusho-machi, Hakata-ku. Take the subway to Gion.

Rakusui Park.  This beautiful Japanese garden is believed to have been built by a wealthy Hakata merchant around the turn of the 20th century. The mindful placement of rocks, water and foliage create a peaceful and serene atmosphere that can be enhanced by taking part in an open air tea ceremony in autumn or spring. Adults 100 yen. 9am- 5pm; closed Tue (Wed if Tues is a holiday). 2-10-7 Sumiyoshi, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-262-6665. Take Nishitetsu bus to Sumiyoshi/ Ekimae 4-chome.

Eating and drinking

Restaurants
Ipputei  This acclaimed tonkotsu ramen shop just outside Hakata Station has a surprisingly mellow and not overpoweringly oily broth. The gyoza is heavenly and you can spice up your ramen with their unique bright green noodles made from chives. Mon-Fri 11am-3pm & 5:30- 11pm, Sat 11am-3pm. (Sumitomo Seimei Bldg) B1, 3-2-8 Hakataeki-mae, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-441-9087.

Los Pinchos is heavy on the ambiance and healthy on their selection of traditional dishes and Spanish wine. A star in the Fukuoka Spanish dining scene, it has been hosting live Flamenco performances on Saturdays for over six years and welcomes beginners and professionals alike. A short walk from either Gofukumachi or Nakasu-Kawabata subway stations. Mon-Sat 5:30pm-LO 10:30pm.  (Progress Space II) 1F, 6-9 Tsunaba. Tel 092-262-7789. www2.odn.ne.jp/ lospinchos

Kara Kara has locations all over the city and is a must for good Korean food. The Korean salad and karaage are always crowd pleasers, but be sure to leave room for the spicy motsu-nabe. 6pm- 4am. City House Hakata 4-24-1 Hakata Eki-mae, Hakata-ku.

Rice People, Nice People! Thai style food. Ok so maybe the name is what attracts you, but the view of Hakata station, the curry noodles, and the parfait makes the visit worth it. Also, while you’re there you can check out the basement of KITTE which offers a lot of good sweet options. Location:〒812-0012 Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, Hakata Ward, Hakataekichuogai, 9−1 KITTE Hakata Price: ¥¥

SaiSai  This izakaya is especially proud of its ikitsukuri sashimi, and has three locations in Tenjin and Nakasu alone. The ALT favorite is in Nakasu, which features a foot onsen adjacent to your table. Reserve in advance, and be sure to specifically ask for the foot onsen table. Mon-Sat 5pm-5am, Sun and holidays til 1am.  (Spoon Bldg) B1, 5-1-7 Nakasu. Tel 092-262-3131.

Sala Thai is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving an authentic selection of popular northern Thai dishes. The sets are recommended and an English menu is available. 11:30am-2pm & 5pm- 9:30pm; closed Sun.  (BS) Bldg. 3-19-14 Hakataeki-mae. Tel 092-414-2139.

Tebaya This izakaya is a five-minute walk straight out of Hakata Station’s Chikushi exit that specializes in chicken wings. Good for large parties and nomihodai. 2-4-6 Hakata-eki Higashi. Tel 092-432-8377.

With the Style Fukuoka has a name that says it all. The bar and the restaurant flank a pseudo swimming pool and serve contemporary continental cuisine with an Italian accent. Outside, individual patio type seating with big comfy furniture is the perfect place to lounge poolside. 9am-2am, bar from 6pm. 1-9-18 Hakata-eki Minami. Tel. 092-433- 3901.

Bars
California Cotton Fields offers more than 100 beers from all over the world with an American country-western atmosphere. Beers from 600 yen and a small but tasty food menu. 6pm-2:30am. B1F, 4- 2-15 Nakasu, Hakata-ku. Tel 092-271-5130.

Bar Cooper is just a few blocks away from Cotton Fields and one of the few places where you can get a pint of Guinness poured right. Unlike the other Bar Cooper across from the Grand Hyatt there is no seating charge, which gives you some options if you find yourself wandering around Nakasu wanting one more drink before going home.

Others

Trandor is a top quality chain bakery located in Hakata station first floor and other JR stations. Many of their pastries would even hold up abroad. Price: ¥