Visiting Fukuoka Japan and the many places we visited, what we enjoyed and what is worth passing on.
Deals and Duds from our trip to Fukuoka Japan 11 reasons for you to visit the city of Fukuoka, we found some great things to do and we had a couple duds as well!
Our latest trip was to Fukuoka Japan and like everything in life, some things I planned worked out great and we really enjoyed them and some items were a complete dud. Here are 11 things we did while we were there.
Booking flights through Kiwi.com
I was trying to find a place we could go with nice beaches and some historical places to visit, and the closest and as a newbie travel blogger (still on a budget), the cheapest flight I found on Kiwi.com was to Fukuoka Japan. So I did some researching on beaches and found that there were many beaches around Fukuoka and they also had castle ruins, lots of temples, shrines and a Tower we could go up in. This sounded like the perfect place to spend 2.5 days of vacation.
Deal: We got a great deal on flights through Kiwi.com– this is the site I use for many of our trips.
Booking hotels through hotels.com
Deal: When searching for our hotel, my first go-to site is Hotels.com. I have had great luck with hotels.com and have always been able to rely on the honest reviews of the hotels on the site. I try to always go back and leave an honest review of the hotel as well after a trip to hopefully help other travelers. The great thing about Hotels.com is after 10 stays you get a night free!!!
After paying $52 a night for our hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia I was a little shocked by the prices of the hotels in Japan. Though I know the economies are completely different I hadn’t thought to look at hotels before I purchased plane tickets. I will learn from this and do more research before buying tickets (have I said this before??)
We were very excited about going and we were also flying a new airline- Eastar Air– though they are an economy airline we were very pleased on our flight to Japan. The seats had plenty of leg room and the airplane was very new. All the flight attendants were friendly and it was a short flight but a very comfortable one.
Hakata Tokyo REI Hotel
We stayed at the Hakata Tokyo REI Hotel– this was a great hotel. The staff at the front desk spoke very good English and assisted me with using the Kiosk to check in and purchase breakfast vouchers. Our room was not huge, but it was adequate for the 3 nights. The best thing was the bed was comfortable and we found 2 extra pillows in the closet.
Another thing we enjoyed was the bathroom- we live in Korea so we appreciated the heated seats on the toilet! The shower was awesome as well and had multiple shower heads and nozzles-the water pressure was great and we appreciated the large size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body soap that were provided.
In addition to the comfort of the hotel it was close to a convenience store and the subway. The Hakata Station was just across the street -exit 6 West, this is a huge station and takes you anywhere you want to go by subway. The top of the station is the train station so this is a very convenient location as well.
Upon arriving in Japan we decided to take a taxi to the hotel, which cost us $1,800 yen =$15.95 USD. What we found out after the fact was that a subway ticket from the hotel to the airport is only $260 yen 1 way=$2.30. We would have been better off taking the subway on our first day. (that was my call and a bad one financially)
Seaside Momochi Park
#1 Deal: We went to Seaside Momochi Park as our first stop the day. In the subway station- 2 very nice women saw us struggling with the machine and showed us how to use it. They do offer a day pass for the subway which was $890 yen=$7.82 USD. If you are going to travel around the city I highly recommend purchasing a day pass.
From the Tojimmachi subway station it is a good 10 minute walk to the Momochi beach area. The first thing I did when we got to the beach was start collecting some shells, Daryn flew the DJI Mavic Pro over the beach and water and got some great shots of the beach and Fukuoka Dome and the Fukuoka Tower. There was a beautiful sunset that night and we got some good video and pictures of it.
Peaceful Restaurant Mammamia
#2: Deal: We were starving by then and we walked further down the beach to the boardwalk where there are several restaurants. We chose an Italian one –Peaceful Restaurant Mammamia—yes I know – we flew all the way to Japan to eat Italian pizza. (2-902-1 Momochihama Sawara-Ku | Marizon, Fukuoka 814-0001, Fukuoka Prefecture)
This was a quaint little place and the pizza was awesome. We sat on the patio and watched people walk by on the boardwalk- it was a great way to end our first night in Fukuoka Japan I highly recommend if you are on the boardwalk– stop in and have a great meal. We sat on the patio and the view was amazing!
The following day we no longer felt like newbies in the subway station, we walked right up to the ticket machine and bought our all-day pass. Our first stop of the day was taking the subway to Meinohama where we were looking for the port area to catch a ferry to .
Note: we started walking but went back to the subway station and got a cab, it was a bit of a drive to the station I would not suggest walking to the ferry terminal. There is also a huge outlet mall by the Ferry terminal if you want to shop!
Nokonoshima Island Park
#3: Deal: Nokonoshima Island Park was an amazing island full of things to do for the entire family. The cost of the ferry to the island was only around $6 us dollars round trip and entry into the park is $1200 yen for adults and $600 yen for children. The ferry drops you off on the island and we immediately walked across the street and got on a bus. Now we had no idea where this bus was going but everyone was walking that direction so we went with them.
The bus ride to the top took about 10 minutes on a long and curving road. We were packed on the bus and it was HOT! The bus ride was $230 yen per person and we were very relieved when we got to the top and got off the bus.
The park itself is well laid out and we took the path to the left first. There was a place to rent croquet equipment and a well laid out field with many holes to play croquet. After finding a place to launch the Mavic Pro, Daryn took some great shots of that part of the island. We caught the end of hydrangea season, but some were still beautiful!
We then headed to the opposite end of the park. We stopped and got a strawberry smoothie at Café Yumeji. The smoothie was awesome but the air conditioning and wifi nice as well. Walking along the street there were many different shops that had things to do such as a pottery place where you can make your own item.
We found a rabbit enclosure that had many rabbits, going in you can purchase food and they will eat it right out of your hand. This was really fun and the rabbits came right up to the fence for the food. There were all sizes of rabbits and this was quite fun.
The goat enclosure was next and again you can buy a wafer with pellet food to feed them. I didn’t go in the enclosure-having had goats I know they are pretty stinky and I did not want to smell like goats the rest of the day. There is a chicken pen and a duck pen as well.
There is a beach on the island but it must be another bus line as the bus we got on to go back took us to the ferry site. Heading back to the mainland we went on to our next stop-
#4: Deal: Nanzoin Temple: The world’s largest reclining Budda said to be the largest bronze statue in the world. Completed in 1995 it measures 41 m long and 11 m tall and weighs around 300 tons. We took the subway to Hakata station and then bought train tickets on the JR Sasaguri line and got off at Kidonanzoimnae Station. We walked about 10 minutes up and around the hill across the street from the station and arrived at the Temple. It is a scenic walk and there is a tunnel you walk through that is lined with Budda’s on the wall. This was free except for the train ticket so it was definitely a great deal and very interesting to see.
#5: We ate that night at the Hardrock Café right outside the Hakata Station, it is fairly new and Daryn got a giant burger and I got my t-shirt and pin😊 Prices were fairly steep- not much under $1300 Yen even for an appetizer so go prepared to spend $40-50 for a dinner for two.
I had intended to go to more beaches in Fukuoka, I had even printed off a list of all the beaches but without a car it is time-consuming to ride buses/trains/subways to get there. So we opted on our last day to spend it in the city.
Fukuoka Open Top Bus
#6: Dud: Fukuoka Open Top Bus– We completely misunderstood what this bus did. We thought it was like the Hop on Hop off bus that we have used in Rome, Paris etc. For $1500 yen =$13.17 US the bus took us on 1 Route of our choosing which lasted about an hour-there are 3 to choose from and 1 is a night tour.
We chose the Hakata Downtown Course and we sat in the sun and baked for an hour. The bus went by several places that I would have loved to have gotten off and explored but when I asked the tour guide she told me we could not get on the next bus if we got off-which was 2 hours from then. We decided to stay on the bus and I tried to make note of the interesting places and what subway stops were close by. This was so we could go back later.
We were mainly disappointed about not being able to get on and off the bus, in addition to that our voice iPod didn’t work either most the time. I could hear her talking in Japanese but then my iPod was quiet…then it would start talking randomly. Daryn’s only worked twice the whole hour. So if you want to sit- and just sit -and take a bus ride around the city this would be for you!
#7: Deal: Walking underground from Subway to Train station we ended up in the Tenjin Chikagai Underground Shopping Mall. This mall went on for miles underground and was quite amazing. If you want to shop this is the place for you. Should you find yourself in Fukuoka on a rainy day, this would be a great place to spend a few hours.
Fukuoka Castle Ruins
#8: Deal: Fukuoka Castle Ruins– we took the subway and found an entrance-there are several. There is no cost to walk around the ruins and we wandered up to the highest point and let the Mavic Pro take some awesome pictures. We left by a different gate and came across a small visitor’s center.
I was curious and went inside where they had a large model replica of the fortress and the surrounding area. The man who was inside pointed to where we were on the map and the woman who worked the front desk came back and gave us a flyer with walking map information. They were both exceptionally nice and helpful!! I wish we had come in from this entrance and had the walking map from the beginning!
Outside the castle is a moat that was filled with beautiful flowers.
#9: Deal: For the rest of our last day we stopped at various temples which did not charge anything for entry. Our first stop was the Kego-kinja Shrine, we walked through it and headed on to the Tochoji Temple. This Temple had various buildings the main one being a large beautiful red one. We were walking along the front of the largest building and at the end there was a sign with directions to a big Budda.
Well who doesn’t want to see a big gold Budda?? We walked up the stairs and for a small fee we purchased a candle and 3 sticks of incense. We lit the candle and put it in a display case and then lit the incense from the candle and put in a huge bowl with other burning incense.
Then we were allowed to go in to see the Budda. After ringing a large bell we stood in front of the Budda and there was a path to go around back of it with some history lessons and a very dark tunnel..then we exited and headed to the nest temple.
The next Temple we found was the Shofukuji-Zen Temple. The first thing I noticed when walking in was that there were several cats laying around. I tried to pet one but he just looked at me like I was completely invading his space so I backed away. There were other buildings which all seemed to have cats sleeping on them. So maybe this is a cat sanctuary as well?? It was a pleasant walk through the grounds and we crossed a quaint bridge.
By now most of the temples and shrines were closed so we headed back to Momochi Beach because I really wanted to go up in Fukuoka Tower and see the sunset. We stopped at Hakata station and had another fabulous pizza on the 7th floor at Napoli Pizza @esse_due
#10: Deal: Fukuoka Tower: We were so tired from walking all day that we rode to the subway station we always had and then took a cab- which cost $1280 yen to take us to the Tower. To go up in the tower we actually got a 20% discount for being foreigners, typically it is $800 yen for adults. The tower itself is 234 m tall and the observation deck which is where we got off at is 123 m above the ground.
Unfortunately, on this night it was cloudy and there was no sunset to view, though the views of Fukuoka were amazing from the tower. The tour was not a bust though 3 floors down is a Love Sanctuary where for $1200-1500 yen you can purchase a small lock and put it on the railings around that level. There is also a huge heart shaped flower arch that you can take a picture under. While standing under the arch there is a place on each side to put your hand and it plays a romantic song while you stand and get your picture taken.
#11: Deal: Kits at the base of Fukuoka Tower again staff was extremely friendly and I got myself a raspberry cheesecake waffle cone. It was a great way to end our last night in Fukuoka Japan!!
On the way back we were so tired we took a taxi, just to see which is really the closest subway I just asked the driver to take us to the closest subway station. Come to find out Nishijin station is closest to Fukuoka Tower and Momochi Beach Boardwalk area, that taxi ride was $670 yen which was ½ the price of the one from the Tokimmachi stop and would be a much shorter walk as well!
We had way more deals then duds on this trip which is a plus. The one thing we did not do at the airport was get a sim card for our phones. We waited until mid-day on our second day to get one, which only gave me 1.5 days of use out of a 7 day sim card. Even if they were marginally marked up at the airport it would have been better to have them from the beginning of the trip, we won’t make that mistake again.