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RECOMMENDED PROPERTIES IN FUKUOKA

FUKUOKA

Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka prefecture and the largest city on the island of Kyushu. Fukuoka is a good starting point for first-time visitors to Japan. Being a sizable, modern city it's still not hard to get around. A subway connects most of the city's main attractions, providing transportation between Hakata, Tenjin, Fukuoka International Airport, Meinohama, and Nishijin.

The Gion area has several historical shrines and Buddhist temples, including the 8th century Kushida Shrine, starting point for the annual Gion-Yamakasa Festival, Tochoji with its 10.8 meter wooden Great Buddha, and Shofukuji, Japan's first Zen temple. Visit the ACROS building is Tenjin Chuo Park. ACROS has a rooftop garden which is open during the day until 16:00, and makes for a good view of the city. The building has a terraced roof that merges with the park and contains some 35,000 plants representing 76 species. Just east of ACROS is the former Prefectural Guest House, featuring turn of the century architecture.

Tourists visiting Fukuoka should not miss the beautiful Ohori Park located 2 stops west of Tenjin on the subway. The park has a 2 km jogging track that is popular with locals throughout the year. Also, next to Ohori Park is Maizuru park, featuring the ruins of Fukuoka Castle and a good view of the city. Fukuoka tower is a 234-metre skyscraper with a magnificent view. In Christmas and the Star Festival (Tanabata) on July 7, this tower is decorated. During the rest of the year the view is best at night time. This is an iconic symbol of Fukuoka. The area is famous for 2 local annual festivals, the Dontaku (May 3–4) and the Yamakasa (July 1–15), both of which are some of Japan's oldest festivals and draw huge crowds.

Atago Shrine is a hidden gem near the Muromi Subway Station, with a superb view of the city and Hakata Bay from a hilltop. You can also see many storks that fly by and nest in the area. Walk west from the subway station across the Muromi Bridge until you see the Atago torii gate with the stairs heading up. Nokonoshima is a small (about 12 km around) island in the middle of Hakata Bay and offers some splendid hiking, swimming, and camping. It is easily reached by a 10 minute ferry ride from the Meinohama Port. It also has the Nokonoshima Island Park that has several well manicured gardens and fields of flowers that vary by the season.

Especially on weekend nights, the street that comes alive with youth activity is Oyafuko Street in Tenjin, which also has several ex-pat bars. It's only 400m long but swells with young people at night. Just northwest of Oyakuko St. is Nagahama, famous for Hakata's Nagahama ramen, with stalls (yatai) that get set up daily to handle the locals who are proud of their ramen. You will most likely smell it before you see it, and if you want a true Fukuoka experience is definitely worth a look if not a full meal.

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