The Ultimate Fukuoka Itinerary: How to Spend 2-4 Days in Fukuoka, Japan
by Coco Tran On September 28, 2023
Fukuoka is one of Japan’s largest and most vibrant cities. As the gateway to the island of Kyushu, it makes for an excellent base to explore the region. With its temperate climate, rich history, lively food scene, and modern cityscape, Fukuoka has something to offer all travelers.
In this Fukuoka travel blog / guide I’ll provide the ultimate Fukuoka itinerary to help you make the most of 2-4 days in this fascinating city.
We’ll cover where to stay, top attractions and activities, day trip ideas, travel tips, and more. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Japan traveler, this Fukuoka guide has got you covered!
In This Article: Table of Contents
Here’s what we’ll cover in this itinerary:
- why visit fukuoka? is it worth visiting Fukuoka?
- How To Get To Fukuoka
- Where to Stay in Fukuoka
- 1 day in fukuoka
- 2 Days in Fukuoka
- 3 Days in Fukuoka
- 4 Days in Fukuoka
- Day Trips from Fukuoka
- Helpful Tips for Visiting Fukuoka
So let’s dive in and start planning an epic adventure in Fukuoka!
why visit fukuoka? is it worth visiting Fukuoka?
Here are some of the main reasons why Fukuoka is worth visiting:
- Foodie’s paradise – Fukuoka is renowned for its incredible food scene, especially ramen, gyoza, and fresh seafood.
- Vibrant city life – It’s a modern, cosmopolitan city with great shopping, nightlife, and amenities, while still retaining a laidback vibe.
- Rich history and culture – Historic shrines, temples, gardens, castles and museums offer insights into Japanese history.
- Accessibility – As a transport hub, it’s easy to get to Fukuoka by air and rail from across Japan and Asia.
- Day trips – Excellent base to explore Kyushu’s highlights like Nagasaki, Beppu, Mt Aso, and Kagoshima.
- Great festivals – Fukuoka hosts many famous festivals year-round like Hakata Gion Yamakasa.
- Parks and beaches – Relaxing green spaces like Ohori Koen and seaside spots in Momochi area.
- Hot springs – You can experience onsen hot spring baths and spa resorts.
- Shopping – Modern malls like Canal City and local shops in Tenjin and Daimyo districts.
- Friendly locals – Known for welcoming, laidback locals happy to share their city.
- Mild climate – Pleasant weather year-round due to its southerly location in Kyushu.
With delicious food, fascinating history, natural scenery, and friendly people, Fukuoka is an underrated gem worth adding to any Japan itinerary. The city offers a more relaxed experience than Tokyo or Kyoto while still packing great city attractions.
The ideal length of time to spend in Fukuoka depends on your interests and travel style, but here are some general recommendations:
- 1 day – If you only have 1 day in Fukuoka, you can see the highlights but it will feel rushed. Stick to the city center and main tourist sites.
- 2-3 days – This is enough time to see the top attractions at a comfortable pace, plus enjoy local experiences like markets, festivals, and food stalls. You could also take a half-day trip.
- 4-5 days – With 4-5 days you can take your time exploring Fukuoka and also take 1-2 day trips to places like Nagasaki, Beppu, or Yanagawa. This gives a good overview of the city and region.
- 1 week – Spending a full week or longer in Fukuoka allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and food scene. You’d have time for day trips plus in-depth exploration of city neighborhoods, museums, and more.
Key factors when deciding the length of stay in Fukuoka:
- Interests – Foodies may want a full week, history buffs can see highlights in 2-3 days.
- Pace – Those who like to rush can squeeze sights into 1-2 days, while a relaxed pace suits 3-5 days.
- Day trips – Add more time if using Fukuoka as a base to see Kyushu highlights.
- Festivals – During festival seasons, stay 3-5 days to experience the celebrations.
- Budget – Fukuoka offers attractions at all budget levels. But extra days allow you to stretch expenditures.
Whatever your travel style, Fukuoka is worth devoting 2-4 days to get a feel for this amazing city! With more time you can take it slower and make day trips for a deeper experience. Let me know if you need help deciding how long to spend on your upcoming Fukuoka trip!
How To Get To Fukuoka
Here are the best ways to get to Fukuoka:
To Fukuoka By Plane
- Fukuoka Airport (FUK) has domestic connections from Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and other major Japanese cities. It also has international flights from Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Hong Kong and more.
- The airport is just 5km from Hakata Station in central Fukuoka. You can take the subway or bus to the city center in under 15 minutes.
To Fukuoka By Train
- Fukuoka is a major Shinkansen bullet train hub linking to cities across Japan. The fastest trains from Tokyo take around 5 hours.
- Slower express trains also run from Osaka (2.5 hours), Hiroshima (3 hrs) and Nagasaki (2 hrs).
- Hakata Station is the main train station in Fukuoka. It’s in the central Hakata district.
To Fukuoka By Bus
- Overnight and long-distance buses are an affordable option for getting to Fukuoka from places like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and others.
- Buses arrive at the Fukuoka Kotohira Bus Terminal, just a short walk from Nakasu-Kawabata Station.
To Fukuoka By Ferry
- Regular ferries and high-speed hydrofoils connect Fukuoka to Busan, South Korea. The journey takes about 3 hours.
- Ferries arrive at the Fukuoka Ferry Terminal (Miyanoumi Port) in Hakata.
Once you arrive, Fukuoka has an excellent metro system making it easy to get around the city. The best way to travel is using a combination of subway, bus and walking.
Where to Stay in Fukuoka Japan
Fukuoka is divided into several central districts, each with their own vibe and attractions. Choosing where to base yourself will depend on your interests and budget. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Fukuoka:
Tenjin – For shopping, nightlife, and dining. Close to key attractions. Hakata – Transport hub and location of historic sites. More budget-friendly.
Daimyo – Trendy area with boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants. Canal City – Modern shopping/entertainment complex. Near many hotels. Momochi – Seaside district with beaches, parks, museums and hotels.
I recommend staying as close as possible to Hakata Station for easy access around Fukuoka. Tenjin is also very central and a great choice for first-time visitors.
Best Hotels in Fukuoka:
Budget: Hotel Nikko Fukuoka – Simple, affordable rooms 5 mins from Hakata Station.
Mid-range: Candeo Hotels Hakata – Stylish hotel with free breakfast near Canal City.
Luxury: Grand Hyatt Fukuoka – 5-star luxury, indoor pool and restaurants in Canal City.
what to do in Fukuoka
Here are some of the top attractions and things to do in Fukuoka, Japan:
- Visit the historic temples and shrines like Kushida Shrine, Tochoji Temple, and Sumiyoshi Shrine
- Explore picturesque parks such as Ohori Park, Maizuru Park, and Nishi Park
- Shop and dine at Canal City Hakata shopping complex
- Walk through the traditional Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
- See panoramic views from Fukuoka Tower
- Stroll through yatai food stall markets for street food
- Try local ramen dishes like Hakata ramen and gyoza dumplings
- Relax at hot spring spas and public baths
- Tour the remnants of Fukuoka Castle ruins
- Check out modern art at Fukuoka Art Museum
- Visit Shofukuji Zen Temple and Rakusuien Garden
- Take a river cruise in the scenic town of Yanagawa
- Explore Fukuoka’s beaches along Momochi district
- Learn about history at Fukuoka City Museum
- Go shopping in the trendy Daimyo district
- See kabuki shows at Hakataza Theater
- Day trip to pottery towns like Arita and Karatsu
- Day trip to the majestic Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Fukuoka for 2-3 days. The city offers a great mix of historic shrines and temples, modern malls and entertainment, art galleries and museums, plus delicious local cuisine.
1 day in fukuoka Itinerary
- Start your day at the iconic Canal City Hakata shopping and entertainment complex. Stroll along the canal and check out the wide range of shops, cafes, and restaurants.
- Walk over to Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka’s most revered shrine. See the giant red torii gate, main hall, and the floating Yamakasa festival float on display.
- Explore the historic Tochoji Temple nearby. See the large wooden Buddha statue and five-story pagoda.
- Have a relaxing afternoon visiting Ohori Park and strolling around its central lake. Stop to see the Japanese garden and Art Museum.
- Head to Tenjin for lunch and shopping in the underground mall and department stores. Enjoy some down time in Tenjin Central Park.
- Visit the Fukuoka Tower in Momochi for stunning views over the city at sunset from the Observation Deck.
- Finish your day feasting on Hakata ramen at one of the small yatai food stalls around Nakasu area.
This packs many of Fukuoka’s top sights into one busy day. With just 24 hours in the city, this itinerary focuses on must-see shrines, temples, shopping areas, and local experiences like ramen and street food.
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Fukuoka Itinerary 2 days
If you only have 2 days in Fukuoka, you can cover all of the highlights at a comfortable pace. Here’s an ideal 2 day Fukuoka itinerary:
Day 1: Hakata Area
Morning: Explore Kushida Shrine, Tochoji Temple and visit the morning market at Kushida Honmachi Shotengai street.
Afternoon: Walk through Hakata Machiya Folk Museum, visit the Sumiyoshi Shrine, shop and eat at Canal City Hakata.
Evening: Feast on ramen and gyoza at one of the food stalls at Nagahama Fish Market.
Day 2: Tenjin, Ohori Park, Fukuoka Tower
Morning: Stroll through scenic Ohori Park, visit Fukuoka Art Museum and Fukuoka Castle ruins.
Afternoon: Shop and grab lunch in Tenjin’s underground shopping mall and department stores. Relax in Tenjin Central Park.
Evening: Visit Fukuoka Tower for panoramic city views, then explore the beachfront Momochi district.
This itinerary covers Fukuoka’s main shrines, temples, parks, shopping areas and local experiences like markets and street food. With 2 days, you’ll get a great overview of what Fukuoka has to offer.
Fukuoka Itinerary 3 Days
With 3 days in Fukuoka, you’ll have time for a day trip or more leisurely exploration of the city’s highlights. Here is a suggested 3 day Fukuoka itinerary:
Day 1: Hakata Area
See recommended Day 1 itinerary above.
Day 2: Tenjin, Ohori Park, Fukuoka Tower
See recommended Day 2 itinerary above.
Day 3: Day Trip to Dazaifu
Spend a day visiting Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu (30 mins by train from Hakata Station). Dazaifu was an important center of religion, culture and government over 1,000 years ago. The shrine is especially beautiful when the plum blossoms bloom in early spring.
Alternatively, you could visit the pottery town of Karatsu or relax at a seaside onsen in Imazu.
With 3 days, you can further explore Fukuoka’s dining scene. Treat yourself to a multi-course kaiseki meal showcasing seasonal Kyushu ingredients. And don’t miss the chance to join locals at a lively yatai food stall!
Fukuoka Itinerary 4 Days
With 4 full days in Fukuoka, you’ll be able to take day trips to other parts of Kyushu and see more beyond the city center. Here is an idea for a 4 day itinerary in Fukuoka:
Day 1: Hakata Area
Day 2: Tenjin, Ohori Park, Fukuoka Tower
Day 3: Day Trip to Nagasaki or Beppu Onsen Town
Take a day trip to see highlights of Nagasaki including the Peace Park, Chinatown and Dejima Island. Or travel east to relax in the hot spring baths of Beppu Onsen Town.
Day 4: Yanagawa, Suizenji Park, Rakusuien Garden
On your last day, take a morning canal boat cruise in picturesque Yanagawa, nicknamed “Little Venice”. Then visit the tranquil Suizenji Park and Rakusuien Garden back in Hakata before departure.
With 4 days, you’ll have time for more leisurely exploration of Fukuoka’s eating scene. Be sure to try a kaiseki meal, ramen varieties and fresh sashimi. And visit both a lively night market and chilled out yatai food stall.
What to Eat in Fukuoka Travel Guide
Fukuoka is a food lover’s paradise! Here are some iconic dishes and local specialties to try when visiting:
- Hakata Ramen – Fukuoka is famous for its rich, creamy pork bone ramen. A must-try!
- Mentaiko – Spicy marinated pollock roe, usually enjoyed on top of rice.
- Mizutaki – Local hot pot chicken dish with vegetables cooked in a light broth.
- Soft-Shell Turtle – A regional specialty, often sautéed in butter or deep-fried.
- Gyoza – Japanese pan-fried dumplings, usually filled with pork.
- Jakoten – Fried fish cakes made from local whitefish.
- Toriten – Japanese tempura style fried chicken.
- Fresh Sushi & Sashimi – Take advantage of the city’s coastal location.
- Motsunabe – Offal hot pot made with beef or pork intestines and vegetables.
- Mentaiko Pasta – Spicy pollock roe sauce tossed over pasta.
- Japanese Sweets – Favorites include castella sponge cake and dango rice flour dumplings.
Be sure to also check out street food options like yatai food stalls, especially for local ramen varieties. And don’t miss the chance to join the locals for after-work drinks and bites at casual izakaya pubs. Fukuoka’s dining scene is diverse and casual – ideal for food-focused travelers.
best Day Trips from Fukuoka
Thanks to its central location, Fukuoka makes an ideal base for taking day trips around Kyushu. Here are some top day trips I recommend from Fukuoka:
Nagasaki – Historic port city with influences from trade with Europe and China. Visit Peace Park, Chinatown, Dejima Island.
Beppu – Famous hot spring resort with sand and mud baths. Relax in therapeutic mineral waters.
Arita/Imari – Tour the picturesque pottery towns of Arita and Imari. Learn about Japanese ceramics.
Yanagawa – Ride a boat through the canals of this scenic town nicknamed “Little Venice”.
Mount Aso – Hike around the crater of Japan’s largest active volcano (1.5 hour drive from Fukuoka).
Takachiho – See mythical Takachiho Gorge and Amanoiwaki Shrine (2.5 hours by train and bus).
You can take any of these as a side trip on a 3 or 4 day visit to Fukuoka. With more time, you could also visit Kagoshima, Kumamoto or other parts of Kyushu.
Must do in fukuoka japan
Here are some of the top things that are must-do experiences when visiting Fukuoka:
- Try Hakata Ramen – Slurp up Fukuoka’s famous rich, creamy pork bone broth ramen.
- Visit Kushida Shrine – See the giant torii gate and floats from the Yamakasa festival.
- Relax in Ohori Park – Stroll and picnic around the central lake and gardens.
- Shop at Canal City – Wander this modern shopping and entertainment complex.
- See Spectacular Views from Fukuoka Tower – Take in panoramic views from the tallest seaside tower in Japan.
- Explore Tochoji Temple – View the nearly 10-meter tall wooden Buddha and pagoda.
- Eat at a Yatai Food Stall – Enjoy street food like skewered meats and ramen.
- Tour the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum – Experience traditional life and architecture.
- Bathe at Marine Spa Hawaiians – Relax at this large hot spring complex and water park.
- See the Samurai Procession at Tsuyazaki Shrine – Catch this weekend ritual enactment.
- Visit Shikanoshima Island – Take a ferry to this island shrine with wild rabbits.
- Learn about History at the Kyushu National Museum – See artifacts from across Kyushu region.
- Day Trip to Dazaifu – Make a pilgrimage to this important shrine and cultural area.
Trying the local ramen, exploring historic shrines and temples, relaxing in parks, and experiencing traditional culture are top activities to make your time in Fukuoka complete.
Helpful Tips for Visiting Fukuoka
To make the most of your time exploring Fukuoka, keep these tips in mind:
- Purchase a 1-day subway pass (600 yen) or multiday Fukuoka Tourist City Pass for unlimited travel.
- In summer, visit attractions early before the heat and crowds arrive after midday.
- Eat early or late to avoid peak meal times when restaurants are very busy.
- Bring cash for entrance fees, local buses and old-school shops/restaurants.
- Learn a few basic Japanese phrases. Not much English is spoken outside major attractions.
- Visit Tourist Information Centers at Hakata Station and Tenjin for maps, discounts and travel advice.
- Stay flexible as Fukuoka often hosts interesting events, festivals and markets throughout the year.
- Don’t just stay in the city! Take a day trip or two to fully experience the diversity of Kyushu.
- Enjoy Fukuoka’s famously friendly, laid-back vibe and take time to immerse yourself in local life.
Planning a trip to japan:
Ultimate japan travel planning Guide
find these helpful japan articles and resources to plan your ultimate trip to Japan:
Resources for your Trip To Japan:
Tokyo City Guide:
Kyoto City Guide
Takayama City Guide
Kanazawa City Guide
Japan Travel Guide:
Fukuoka is an underrated gem that delivers history, culture, cuisine and so much more. In just 2-4 days you can get a great introduction to one of Japan’s most welcoming and livable cities.
Use this Fukuoka itinerary to plan your own adventures exploring temples, shrines, gardens, museums, markets, cafes,Izakayas and beyond. With day trips to historic towns and stunning natural landscapes nearby, you’ll understand why Fukuoka is a fantastic gateway to Kyushu and western Japan.