Where do I begin with in introducing a prefecture with many things worth experiencing? Hi, it’s Hiro, and I will challenge providing information on Fukuoka Prefecture in a condensed matter. This will not be easy as the Prefecture is full of places to see, hence not possible to introduce all of them, so I have taken the liberty in focusing on the main cities that many of you may be familiar with.
Beginning with Kita-Kyushu City: this City is connected to Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture through the Kanmon Straits. Kanmon Straits is famous for the sites of Battle of Dannoura and the Battle of Ganryujima. Moji Harbor is the gateway into the city from the sea, where it once thrived during the Meiji Era through to the early days of Showa Era. The proximity to the sea offers beautiful scenery with many museums and prominent tourism sites in the area. Many western-style architectures can also be seen, such as the Old Mitsui O.S.K. Line Building that remains as a vestige of the city’s prominent days. When seen through a picture, you can almost mistake it for a beautiful European city.
Another tourist site worth visiting is Kokura Castle. It is a renowned castle built using a technique called the Kara architectural structure, which was quite rare at the time in the seventh year of the Keicho Era (or A.D.1602) by Tadaoki Hosokawa. Hosokawa was the head of the Kokura Domain when the Battle of Ganryujima was carried out, and some of you may have come across this in your history class that he was married to Mitsuhide Akechi’s daughter, Garasha. Further, the city is not only alluring for Japanese history enthusiasts, but also for fans of Japanese literature, as it is known for sites such as Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum, Ogai Mori’s former residence, and Kita-Kyushu City Public Museum of Literature.
Next up is Fukuoka City. Hakata, without doubt is the most famous area, along with Tenjin and Nakasu. All of these three districts are flourished with commercial activities and culinary delights that even the locals do not get tired of visiting these places on a daily basis. You will be wowed by just glaring at the perfect east-meets-west blend of Tenjin Underground Mall and JR Hakata City (which opened in 2011). Nakasu is especially famous for lining up a legion of food stalls, where there are just endless choices of dishes to devour. With ramen and single bite dumplings, just to name a few, deciding what to eat and where to dine becomes a challenge, so do your research before heading out! Now, when you feel like taking a break from all the eating and shopping, why not relax at the Ohori Park, which Nagamasa Kuroda used as a moat when building the Fukuoka Castle? If you took interest in the historical television drama, “Kuroda Kanbei,” then this place is definitely worth visiting. For baseball fans, watching games at the Yafuoku Dome is the way to go!
Lastly, let me introduce an influential Shinto shrine, the Dazaifu Tenman-gu. Dazaifu City lies to the south of Fukuoka City and the Dazaifu Tenman-gu enshrines Sugawara-no-Michizane, the god of academic knowledge. He is a tragic figure who was demoted from the adverse game of politics, despite exhibiting extraordinary talent in academic studies since childhood. You may say that this spiritual monument is virtuous in that it teaches us the momentousness of dealing life with utmost sincerity, especially in times of difficulties.
I am sure I have left out so many places noteworthy of mentioning, but that is why you should consider visiting Fukuoka in the immediate future! A place so attractive that words are never sufficient to fully describe its charm: Fukuoka.