The gateway to Kyushu and one of Japan’s top food cities, Fukuoka is a brilliant overnight trip from Kyoto.
Fukuoka City – image © Jun Kitayama
With a population of 1.64 million, Fukuoka is Kyushu’s largest city. It’s affectionately known as the “Compact City” and it’s possible to explore most of the city’s major attractions on foot with a base in the city center. And, just at the outset, it’s worth noting that Hakata is a district and train station within the city of Fukuoka (resulting in some people calling the entire city Hakata).
Fukuoka’s convenience begins with Fukuoka Airport: the domestic terminal connects directly to the city subway, whisking you to Hakata Station in a mere 6 minutes. The airport’s proximity to the city center makes it impossible to construct skyscrapers, resulting in a charmingly picturesque and human-scaled urban landscape.
Kyoto-Fukuoka Transport Map
InsideKyoto.com’s Kyoto-Fukuoka Transport Map shows the main Kyoto-Fukuoka transport links on a colour coded Google map.
Click on a particular pin and it will give you the name of the transport hub. Use the + and – buttons in the top left of the map to zoom in and out.
Easy Port Access
Fukuoka is the main seaport in western Japan, with terminals serving international ferries to Busan (South Korea), and domestic ferries to islands such as Tsushima, Iki, and Goto, as well as city-operated ferries to Shikanoshima and Genkai-jima. From Hakata Station, a 20-minute bus ride or a leisurely walk (both tried and tested) will get you to the port.
Gateway to Kyushu
Fukuoka serves as the perfect base for exploring Kyushu. With direct access to Kyushu’s various regions via JR shinkansen, conventional train lines, and express buses, it’s a traveler’s dream. The city also boasts excellent air connections to major Japanese cities and key destinations across East Asia.
Fukuoka Food Scene
Fukuoka is rightly celebrated for its rich gastronomic scene, which starts with its famous Hakata ramen and Nagahama ramen. You should also try to local specialties of Hakata udon and aji furai (deep-fried horse mackerel). And, of course, Fukuoka is famous for its yatai (open-air food stalls, usually under tents), where you can drink and dine with the locals. Here are a few casual restaurants where you can sample some of these delights (all of them can be found on the map at the end of this page).
A brilliant little spot to sample the Fukuoka yatai experience.
Okei yatai – image © Jun Kitaytama
It’s not much to look at, but this is the original purveyor of Nagahama ramen (or so they say).
Ramen at Ganso Nagahamaya – image © Jun Kitaytama
For simple yakitori in a casual atmosphere, this is the place.
Torimasa yakitori – image © Jun Kitaytama
The udon here is so tender that you can cut it with your lips.
Miyake Udon – image © Jun Kitaytama
This is the place to try aji furai.
Aji fry at Mampuku – image © Jun Kitaytama
Fukuoka City Fish Market
There are several cheap but tasty eateries at this market – needless to say, the emphasis is on locally caught seafood.
Fukuoka City Fish Market – image © Jun Kitaytama
Fukuoka’s urban planning is an art in itself. The city masterfully balances its lively entertainment districts with serene rivers and parks. Come nightfall, a unique sight awaits – at the base of the gleaming facades of modern buildings, you’ll find traditional yatai (open-air food stalls) that appear along the streets, showcasing Fukuoka’s charming blend of old and new.
Fukuoka nightscape – image © Jun Kitaytama
Fukuoka’s history is divided by the Nakagawa River, with the western bank once known as “Fukuoka,” home to Fukuoka Castle, and the eastern side known as “Hakata,” the merchant’s quarter. The district in the middle, which is really an island in the Nakagawa River is known as Nakasu (the name literally means “in the middle of the Nakagawa River”). During the Meiji era, the city faced a debate—whether to name itself “Fukuoka” or “Hakata.” Ultimately, the city became “Fukuoka,” and the station was called “Hakata.”
Fukuoka castle ruins – image © Jun Kitaytama
Endless Summer Evenings
Fukuoka enjoys longer daylight hours compared to Kyoto and Tokyo, with sunsets occurring approximately 20 minutes later than Kyoto and 35 minutes later than Tokyo. As a result, locals and visitors alike often find themselves indulging in extended late-night adventures.
Fukuoka yatais at night – image © Jun Kitaytama
Fukuoka embraces modern technology with open arms. You can utilize NFC touch payments (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay) via credit cards for subway and JR train rides, making transportation a breeze. If you opt for the subway, the system automatically caps your daily fare at 640 yen, ensuring that no matter how many times you ride, you’ll never pay more.
The Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu: The Perfect Base for Fukuoka
Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu exterior – image © Jun Kitaytama
In the heart of Fukuoka’s vibrant Nakasu district, on the banks of the Hakata-gawa River, you’ll find The Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu, a “casual luxury hotel” which is an excellent base for exploring the city.
Hotel entrance – image © Jun Kitaytama
The hotel is just a two-minute stroll from Nakasu-Kawabata subway station, which in turn is only two stops from Hakata Station. If you’re coming by plane, it’s a mere 15 minutes from the airport. Situated north of Nakasu’s bustling nightlife district, the hotel fronts the scenic Hakata River, a picturesque tributary of the Nakagawa River. Cross the bridge, and you’re in the heart of the historic Hakata Old Town. Its central location places many great tourist attractions within walking distance, making it an ideal hub for exploration.
Canvas Lounge – image © Jun Kitaytama
The hotel spans from the 2nd to the 14th floor. The 2nd floor houses the reception, the Canvas Lounge, and the ONO HAKATA – Octo Natura Kyusyu Restaurant, while the 3rd floor boasts a rooftop garden, a bar, a spacious communal bath, laundry facilities, and a rental corner.
Canvas Lounge in the evening – image © Jun Kitaytama
The guest rooms occupy the 4th to 14th floors and many of the rooms boast fantastic views over the city, as well as stylish, locally themed artwork on the walls.
Guest room interior – image © Jun Kitaytama
Those on the 14th floor offer luxurious bathtubs, setting them apart from the other rooms.
View from guest room – image © Jun Kitaytama
The breakfast menu reflects a conscious effort to showcase the region as a whole rather than just Fukuoka, and the Canvas Lounge’s breakfast is a healthy and filling way to fuel a day of sightseeing in the city.
Breakfast at Canvas Lounge
For those who relish the outdoors, the Canvas Lounge offers al fresco seating, although the midsummer heat can be a challenge.
Canvas Lounge outdoor seating – image © Jun Kitaytama
A hidden gem awaits on the hotel’s rear side: the tranquil Rooftop Garden. Compared to the bustling Canvas Lounge, this space offers a more peaceful atmosphere, perfect for unwinding amidst the urban backdrop.
Rooftop garden – image © Jun Kitaytama
For those in need of serious relaxation, The Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu has a sauna, (a dry sauna for men and a mist sauna for women), which is located in the communal bath area. In the same area, the large bath features a unique mist shower cascading from the ceiling, offering a refreshing sensory experience. Additionally, an outdoor bathing area allows guests to soak while enjoying the fresh air.
Corner room on the 14th floor – image © Jun Kitaytama
Boasting an excellent location, great amenities, and warm service, The Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu is a great place for international travelers looking to step a little of the main tourist route in Japan. It can also serve as the perfect jumping off point for an exploration of Kyushu, or as a place to relax after a rigorous climb among the mountains of Kyushu.
Name in English:
The Royal Park Canvas – Fukuoka Nakasu
Name in Japanese:
ザ ロイヤルパーク キャンバス 福岡中洲
5-6-20 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City 810-0801
Internet: wifi access
Non-smoking rooms: Yes
Two-minute walk from Nakasu-Kawabata subway station
Official site: (English)
InsideKyoto.com’s Fukuoka map shows the key Fukuoka landmarks listed above on all on a colour coded Google map.
Here is our Google map of the key Fukuoka landmarks:
Click on a particular pin and it will give you the name of the attraction. Use the + and – buttons in the top left of the map to zoom in and out.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
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- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
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