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Tenjin

At a glance

Tenjin is the hub of urban youth culture in Fukuoka and the go-to destination for visitors when they’ve finished a day of traditional Japanese culture elsewhere.

Tenjin proper is Fukuoka City’s central shopping-drinking-dining district. The surrounding neighborhoods of Yakuin and Daimyo, and Watanabe-dori, are all within easy walking distance of the Solaria Stage “Big TV” landmark.

The streets of Yakuin and Daimyo contain some of the best shopping in Fukuoka – and its blend of record stores, tiny art galleries, fashion boutiques and western-style cafes is bait for Fukuoka’s resident hipster population.

Oyafuko-dori is the artery of the area’s nighttime entertainment. Don’t fear small doors or illegible menus—those places usually turn out to be the best!

Getting there

  • By train, Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station at the end of the Nishitetsu Omuta-Tenjin Line
  • By subway, Tenjin Station on the Kuko Line
  • Buses from all over the ken terminate here

Eating and drinking

There are plenty of places to eat, drink and shop in Tenjin. Consider this extensive list a primer.

Cafes
Art Space Baku provides a small getaway in the middle of the city to enjoy coffee shop/bar goodies. Baku has been supporting local artists for close to 30 years, so you can get a little culture with your martini. At the intersection of Oyafukodori and Showa-dori. 11am-8pm, cafe/bar til 10pm. (Koei Bldg.) 2F, 3-4-14 Tenjin. Tel 092- 781-7597. www.artspacebaku.com

Aux Bacchanals is a carefully replicated French terrace cafe that has an array of pies, cakes, quiche and a full bar. Cool people-watching spot. Between the two Daimaru buildings. 8:30am- 9pm, breakfast til 11am. Daimaru Bldg 1F, 1-4-1 Tenjin. Tel 092-762-7373.

Bleu Fonce Cafe and Patisserie has wonderful desserts and offers a nice hiding place from the crowded walkways of Tenjin Chikagai. The cafe is next door to the patisserie and is very popular among the city girls. Tenjin Chikagai. Tel 092-732- 8200.

Cafe Shiki This cute, contemporary cafe in Yakuin has a sister store in Imaizumi that goes by Cafe Xando. Both are great for lunch or a light snack, and the menu constantly changes with the seasons. If the weather is nice, patio seating is available at the Yakuin location. 2-14-29 Yakuin. Tel 092-738-5788.

Mabre Blanc Cafe is tucked away through a tiny door in the middle of Daimyo. Best known for its wonderful crepe desserts. Sun-Thu 12pm- 12am, Fri&Sat and days before holidays til 2am. 2-1-31 Daimyo. Tel 092-714-2520.

Patisserie 16(ku) is a sinfully good French confectionary in Yakuin. Each item is lovingly handcrafted just like in France. 9am-8pm; closed Mon. 4-20-10Yakuin. Tel 092-531-3011. www. kyushu-cake.com

Tulip Soup serves up a healthy lifestyle in a bowl. Following the slow food movement, this simple cafe incorporates local and organic foods into its salads, pastas, entrees and homemade soup. Lunch sets from 850 yen. Five-minute walk from Yakuin Station; turn right out of the central exit. 11.30-9pm; closed Mon. Tel 092-739-9088. Veggie Friendly!

Japanese
Asa-yama  A Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurant located just off Nishi-dori in Daimyo. Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm, 6-11pm. 1-13- 8 Daimyo. Tel 092-731-6554.

Chibo  Serves great Osaka-style okonomiyaki. Solaria Plaza 6F, 2-2-43 Tenjin, Chuo-ku. Tel 092- 733-7601.

Fujiya  One of the cheapest all-you-can-eat yakiniku joints in the city starting at 999 yen, or about 2500 yen with nomihodai. Reservations are recommended. 2-6-20 Daimyo, Chuo-ku. Tel 092- 735-0501.

Gombei  This yakitori joint in Daimyo is famous for their torikawa, skewered grilled chicken skin slathered in a secret teriyaki sauce. Other kinds of yakitori also available from 100 yen. 5pm-11pm; closed Sun. 2-1-43 Daimyo. Tel 092- 714-2296.

Hyotan no kaiten sushi  Probably the best kaiten-zushi in the city (main restaurant is across the street). Fresh fish and quick service keep the seats filled any time of day. The grilled anago is their specialty, but you have to order it as it does not come out on the conveyor belt. Take-out also available. 11am-9pm. Solaria Stage B2, 2-8-222 Tenjin. Tel 092-733-7081.

SuSu is a chic izakaya whose fountain at the entrance will immediately catch your eye. Offers nomihodai starting at 1500 yen and can accommodate large parties without reservations. 5pm-3am. 1-14- 26 Daimyo. Tel 092-735-4747.

Tadasuke You’ll fall in love with Japanese food all over again. More than just a sushi bar, this experience in Japanese haute cuisine will allow you to fully appreciate the beauty of umami, the fifth taste. Mon-Sat 6pm-12am; closed Sun & and holidays. (Yayama Bldg.) 3F 5-1-22 Watanabe-dori. Tel/Fax 092-738-3522.

Takoyan  A small takoyaki joint that’s great for a snack while wandering the back streets of Daimyo. Mon-Thu 3pm-2am, Fri&Sat 3pm-3am, Sun 3pm-1am. 1-4-12 Daimyo. Tel 092-724-9633.

Ume no Hana  This locally-owned chain of veggie-friendly specialty tofu restaurants creates tasty dishes that look too good to eat. There are both Japanese and Chinese-style versions of Ume no Hana, and 12 in Fukuoka alone! Check the website for other locations around Kyushu. 11am-LO 2:30pm, 5pm-LO 9pm. Acros Bldg B2, 1-1-1Tenjin, Chuo-ku. Tel 092-725-9022. www.umenohana.co.jp Veggie Friendly!

Zauo is a novelty restaurant chain that lets you fish for your own dinner, then choose how it’s to be prepared. There are ten locations around Fukuoka, most with a giant pond and boat to fish from inside the restaurant. There’s a discount on anything you catch, as well as the joy of being slow-clapped by the whole restaurant when you go without a bite for 20 minutes. Tenjin location in Nagahama next to Yu no onsen. Visit the website for maps to all locations. Mon-Fri 5pm-LO 11pm.Sat&Sun and holidays 11:30am-LO 11pm.1-4-15 Nagahama. Tel 092-716-9988. www.zauo.com

Asian (non-Japanese)
Garyumon  This Chinese izakaya serves food that’s tasty, filling and cheap. A great go-to when nobody can decide what they want. One location across from Yodobashi Camera next to Hakata Station; the other in Daimyo. Daimyo location: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-12am. 1-12-36 Daimyo. Tel 092-713-7230.

Jammin Kah is a “super ethnic” restaurant great for Southeast Asian cuisine. The food is honest and there is a reasonably cheap nomihodai (1260 yen) available for groups. 12-4pm, 5pm-LO 12am. (Nanpu Bldg.) B1, 1-1-20 Daimyo. Tel 092-771-3108. 13

Nanak is a popular Indian chain with all the usual favorites. Good specials if you happen to make it for lunch. Sets from 1500 yen. On the corner of Oyafuko and Showa-dori. Mon-Fri 11am-3:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm, weekends and holidays 11:30am- 10:30pm. 1-1-4 Maizuru. Tel 092-713-7900.

Sagar lets you choose how much spice they put in your curry when you order. The owner and staff speak very good English and always welcome foreign visitors. Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, 6-10:30pm, weekends and holidays 11am-10:30pm. ELK Daimyo Bldg. 1F, 2-2-43 Daimyo. Tel 092-714- 7199.

Sala Rim Naam is probably the most authentic Thai restaurant in town and will gladly prepare vegetarian versions of their most popular dishes. Mon-Fri 5:30-10pm, Sat&Sun 5-10pm. (Tip the Akasaka) 2F, 3-9-25 Akasaka, Chuo-ku. Tel 092-715-1418. Veggie Friendly!

Shinkai is a Chinese restaurant that has fabulous dim sum and other dishes starting at 100 yen. Lunchtime can get busy so get there early. 11:30am-1:30pm, 6-11pm; closed 2nd Tue of every month. 2-3-34 Chuo-ku. Tel 092-731-5548.

Tamon is hands-down the best Korean place in Fukuoka. Their chijimi and grilled pig’s feet are a must, along with the motsunabe. Reserve in advance. 5pm-LO 11:30pm. JOJO Bldg. 1F, 3-12- 26 Haruyoshi. Tel 092-751-7865.

Tunapaha serves a wide selection of traditional Sri Lankan food featuring authentic spices ranging from a “just a tinge” to “the burning fires of hell.” 11:30am-11:30pm. KFC Bldg. 5F, 2-1-1Daimyo. Tel 092-712-9700.

European
Bistro A Vin/ Bal Musette has a street level café with indoor and patio seating that’s great for a cappuccino and a bite to eat, but downstairs is the good stuff. Like stepping into a French wine cave, the low arched ceiling and soft lighting lets you escape the noise and sets the mood for a great meal. Courses start at 3500 yen, or you can go a la carte. Wed-Mon 12-2pm, 6pm-LO 11pm. 1-14-13 Daimyo. Tel 092-736-5055.

La Boheme Qualita is fabulously hip Italian eatery above the Apple store. Outfitted with a patio, cigar lounge, main bar and a chic main dining room, there’s a mood for everyone. 11am-LO 4:15am. (Tenjin Luce) 5-7F, 2- 3-24 Tenjin. Tel 092-737-2601. www.global-dining. com 

Perche No! is one of the top trattorias in Fukuoka. It has a great wine list, delicious food, a superb atmosphere and unrivaled service. Order ala carte or choose the course menu. Reservations recommended. Tue-Fri 6pm-LO 10pm, Sat 12-2pm & 6pm-LO 10pm.Sun & holidays 12-2pm, 6-9pm; closed Mon. Spazio-IV Bldg 1F, 2-17-10 Kego. Tel 092-725-3579.

Tundora Intended to uphold the body through cold winters, this cuisine is true comfort food. The borscht, a tomato-and-beetroot-based stew of meat and vegetables, is delicious. 11am-10pm, lunch til 3pm. (Saito Bldg) 1F, 2-7-11 Daimyo. Tel 092-751-7028.

Velona is named after a sister restaurant in Italy and imports only the best ingredients for its pasta and pizza. Tomatoes from Naples, olive oil from Tuscany and salt from Sicily are just some examples. 11:30am-LO 9:30; closed Wed. (Fukuoka Toyota F?T Bldg.) B1, 4-8-28 Watanabe-dori. Tel 092-721-0057.

Vigneron has an intimidating wine list (over 2600 labels) and owner/senior sommelier Fukushimasan will gladly help you find the perfect wine to complement your meal. The cuisine, prepared by one of the best chefs in Fukuoka, is an eye-opening arrangement of seasonal ingredients sourced locally and from abroad. Ten-minute walk from Tenjin Station. Wed-Mon 6pm-LO 12am; closed Tue. (Corazon Bldg.) 2F, 1- 24-24 Takasago. Tel 092-531-3880.

Yebisu Kitchen serves simple, seasonal pasta and pizza. Easy to find, tasty and filling for a nice price. Mon-Fri 12-2:30pm, 5:30pm-LO 10pm; weekends & holidays 12-3pm, 5:30pm-LO 10pm.2-1-50 Daimyo, Chuo-ku. Tel 092-712-0563.

Spanish/ Mexican
El Borracho is the JET favorite for authentic Mexican food and over 100 varieties of tequila. In Spanish, the name means “the drunk.” Mon-Fri 5:30pm-1am, Sat&Sun til 2am. Liberty Daimyo Bldg. 2F 2-3-2 Daimyo. Tel 092-720-5252. Sister location on the 10th floor of Hakata Station.

Risa Risa is a Spanish tapas restaurant offering an a la carte menu starting at five dishes for 1680 yen. Nomihodai available for an additional 1500 yen. 11:30am-1am. G Bldg. 5F, 2-1-5 Daimyo. Tel 092-718-0117.

Sancho Panza is around the corner from Bic Camera and serves delicious Latin-fusion dishes. The chef hails from a five-star hotel restaurant in Argentina, but the food is reasonably priced from 500-600 yen. They frequently host salsa dancing nights and provide live flamenco guitar performances during weekday dinner hours. 12- 11pm. Dayton Bldg 3F, 2-4-5 Tenjin. Tel 092-762-4110.

Other/Fusion
Choperia offers a decent selection of Brazilian food and beer. 6pm-2am; closed Mon. Venus Bldg, 1-8-40 Tenjin. Tel 092-714-3100.

Haleakala is a hip California-style sushi bar owned by a husband and wife who spent a few years as sushi chefs in the US. Their English menu features the roll-style sushi you’d expect to find in the States and a wide selection of drinks and delicious desserts. Mon-Thu 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-3am, Sun 11am-11pm. Cerebro Bldg. 3F, 1-2-9 Daimyo. Tel 092-738-2004.

MacSween is a Scottish pub with a wide assortment of scotch whiskeys, beers, and a great shepherd’s pie. 12pm-3am; closed the 1st Mon of every month.  (Concealment Bldg.) 2F, Akasaka. Tel 092-735-2110.

Propeller Drive is a two-level, mirror-lined bar and restaurant popular with the 20-somethings. Mon- Fri 6pm-LO 1am, Sat-Sun 6pm-LO 3am. 1-13-30Imaizumi. Tel 092-715-6322.

Sushi Den is originally an American sushi restaurant that made its way over to Fukuoka and became a mainstay. The posh ambience is a welcome escape when you are craving a California roll like the ones from back home. The dynamite and spider rolls are excellent. Just north of the yatai stands in Nagahama. 5:30pm-12am, Fri&Sat til 1am. 1-9-22 Minato. Tel 092-738-5570.

Bars
Fireball Cafe is the only sports bar in Tenjin that actually feels like a real sports bar. The walls are adorned with sports memorabilia and the pub grease they call food is reminiscent of home. Die hard fans can catch all major sporting events via satellite TV, although the time difference can pose a problem. Make reservations for popular sporting events well in advance. Sun-Thu 6pm-1am, Fri&Sat 6pm-3am. (Commune Bldg.) B1, 2-6-28 Tenjin. Tel 092-732-8688.

Goo is the perfect place to pre-party or grab a nightcap before heading home. A full bar is accompanied by an interesting selection of beers from around the world and tapas-style munchies. Nice staff, friendly atmosphere and no seating charge. 6pm-3am. (Ono Bldg) 1F, 2-2-47 Daimyo. Tel 092-741-9560. tagban.com/goo/top. php

Hakata Harp is an Irish pub with happy hour from 5-7pm so you can drink your dinner at halfprice: draught Guinness, Kilkenny and Yebisu beer (Guinness normally 900 yen). On Showa-dori, opposite Okura Hotel. 300 yen seating charge. 11:30am-4pm, 5pm-3am (weekends from 12pm). 1-1 Hotel Eclair Hakata. Tel 092-283-6446.

Nakamura Wine More of a wine store than bar, but Nakamura-san always has at least one bottle of Champagne and a few wines open to try, along with select cheeses and cured meats. Mon-Sat 11am-7pm. Tel 092-741-7331.

Tattoo is known for its eclectic lighting, rooftop balcony and 300 yen happy hour. The staff speaks English and it has an English menu. The naan curry pizza and spring rolls are excellent. 11:30am- 5pm, 6pm-LO 3am. 1-18-36 Imaizumi. Tel 092- 716-6119.

Voodoo Lounge is a bar/restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere, and is often a venue for a variety of live music. Tuesday night is Ladies’ night: all drinks are half-price. Between Oyafukudori and Watanabe-dori, Tenjin Center Building 3F, 3-2-13 Tenjin. Tel 092-732-4662.

Nightclubs
Fukuoka’s dance club scene centers around Oyafuko-dori in Tenjin. Check out flyers at record stores in Tenjin to get up-to-the-minute information on special events and drink specials hosted by the clubs. Usually 3000 yen will get you admission and a drink or two, but a few do nomihodai as well.

Air resonates with the thumping bass of its impressive sound system and DJs. Even the most uncoordinated dancer can take respite in the nearly pitch black smoke and laser-induced dance floor. Fri from 9pm, Sat&Sun til 12am. B1, 3-6-23, Tenjin. Tel 092-732-0060.

Anmitsu Hime is a comedy and dance show with a cross-dressing cast. It’s entirely in Japanese, but so over-the-top that even if you don’t get the jokes, you’ll still be laughing. Your 5000-yen ticket includes a nomihodai, so at least you have the option of drinking until it’s funny. There’s a lot of audience interaction and foreigners usually get suckered into doing something. Shows at 8pm, 10pm and 11:45pm. Lion Bldg 2F, 3-7-13 Tenjin. Tel 092-725-2550.

Dark Room is owned by a former JET and often hosts events such as the Jan-Ken-Pon Charity Tournament or the New JET Welcome Party. There is a great outdoor patio on the roof in summer, and music varies by DJ but tends to be alternative. No cover. From 8:30pm. Tenjin Bacchus House Bldg 8F. Tel 092-725-2989. www.thedarkroom.biz

Fubar is one of the more popular clubs amongst ALTs in Fukuoka. It’s now run by an ex-JET who does a good job of looking after the regulars. Weekends offer a good vibe and drink specials, not to mention the drinking competitions with the bartenders. On Oyafuku-dori in the Tenjin Okabu Bldg 4F. Next to Family Mart, above Buaiso. Tel 092-722-3006.

Happy Cock is filled with beautiful people and has great energy fueled by chart pop/dance/hiphop music, especially on wild holiday weekends. For 3000 yen (men) or 2000 yen (ladies) you get an all-you-can-drink pass on Friday and Saturday nights, otherwise its 1200 yen with two drinks for everyone. Drinks from 500 yen. Mountain 5 Bldg 9F, 2-1-51 Daimyo. Tel 092-734-2686. www.happycock.jp

Lab-Z Remix is a cozy but sophisticated dance club with a nicely mixed clientele. The upstairs lounge is also a welcome retreat from the dance floor below. Cover 3000 yen with two drinks. Tenjin Okabu Bldg 6F, above Fubar. Tel 092-711-1004.

One Way is the place to indulge your salsa cravings. If you’re a fabulous Latin dancer, you’ll fit right in here. Otherwise, expect to sit on the sidelines watching jealously. Sun-Thu no cover, Fri&Sat  1000 yen with a drink. From 7:30pm. Tel 092- 722-2565.

Safari is an izakaya on weekdays and becomes a hip-hop and R&B club on Friday and Saturday from 1am. The club comes to life around 3am but stays open well into the morning. 1000 yen with one drink. Drinks from 500 yen. On Oyafuku- dori. 3-6-18 Tenjin. Tel 092-762-6767. www.club-safari.com

Sam & Dave extended its reach from Osaka and has firmly planted its roots in the Fukuoka clubbing scene. It often hosts fundraisers and mixers that usually have a good turnout. Music varies with the DJ but the standard is chart pop/ dance/hip-hop. Wed-Thu 7pm-4am (no cover), Fri&Sat from 9pm (men 2000 yen with two drinks, women 1000 yen with one drink), Sunday 7pm-2am (no cover). West Side Bldg 3F, 2-8-22 Tenjin. Tel 092-713-2223. www.samanddave.jp