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Fukuoka (Fukuoka-shi) is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan. Fukuoka is Kyushu's largest and one of Japan's ten most populated cities. As of July 2011, Fukuoka is Japan's 6th largest city, having passed the population of Kyoto. This marks the first time that a city west of the Kinki region has a larger population than Kyoto since the founding of Kyoto in 794.Because of its closeness to the Asian mainland; Fukuoka has been an important harbor city for many centuries.
Historically, it was divided by the central river into two separate cities, Hakata and Fukuoka. Today's Fukuoka is the product of the fusion of two cities in the year 1889, when the port city of Hakata and the former castle town of Fukuoka were united into one city called Fukuoka. Hakata remains the name of one of Fukuoka's central districts and of the main railway station.The main railway station and port are still known as Hakata Station and Hakata Port.
Climate and weather
Fukuoka has a humid subtropical climate with hot humid summers and relatively mild winters.
Fukuoka is served by 3 subway lines. The Hakata subway station, located under the JR Hakata Station, can take passengers straight to Fukuoka International Airport as well as to Tenjin. Downtown is small and compact enough to potentially wander around on foot for example, Tenjin, Hakata and Gion Stations.
As one of the closest cities to the Asian mainland, Fukuoka has developed a fusion-like food culture that has been influenced by Chinese and Korean cuisine.
Hakata Ramen is a local ramen dish that features thin noodles in a thick, creamy tonkotsu soup, topped with slices of chashu, pickled ginger and lots of sesame seeds. Motsunabe is a local hot pot dish typically made up of beef or pork tripe, cabbage, garlic, chives and togarashi peppers in a soy sauce or miso based soup. The inexpensive, slightly spicy stew is usually cooked at the table on portable burners and served with a bowl of white rice. Tetsunabe Gyoza is pan-fried, Chinese style dumplings, which are typically stuffed with a mixture of ground pork, cabbage and green onions. They are also a popular Fukuoka specialty where they are served in large batches on ceramic or hot iron plates. These Fukuoka dishes have actually swept Japan by storm and become widely popular across the country.
Festival celebration should not be missed during your trip to Japan. The Hakata Gion Yamakasa is one of the most interesting festivals in Japan. It is held every year during the first half of July and climaxes with a spectacular time trial race On July 15 at 4:59am, just before sunrise. The first team starts into the race, followed by the other teams in five minute intervals. In the race, seven neighborhoods of Fukuoka's Hakata district compete in pushing beautifully decorated festival floats along a five kilometer long course through the city.
Being the first Zen temple constructed in Japan, Shofukuji was founded in 1195. The temple grounds of Shofukuji have many of the features of a typical Zen temple, and its wooden buildings have been destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout the centuries. Sanmon Gate is the most prominent of among all the gates on the temple grounds. This large gate stands in front of a small pond and bridge and was most recently rebuilt in 1911. Be aware of the fact that, visitors can walk through Shofukuji's attractive temple grounds and observe the buildings from outside as the temple buildings cannot be entered.
Seaside Momochi is Fukuoka's modern waterfront located on reclaimed land along Hakata Bay. It was originally developed as the site of the 1989 Asia Pacific Expo and was designed with attractive, modern features such as wide, tree lined streets, futuristic buildings, public parks and no phone or electricity lines above ground.
Fukuoka Tower was built in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fukuoka City and it is still the landmark of the city. The tower is adorned in over 8000 mirrors and sports a three-storied observation deck at 123 meters above ground with good views over the city.
Momochihama Seaside Park is a one kilometer long stretch of artificial beach at the foot of Fukuoka Tower. Momochihama Beach, Hawks Town Mall and Fukuoka City Museum are some of the entertaining spots to both local Japanese and international travelers as well.