Views of the 768 foot Fukuoka Tower in Fukuoka, Japan
Head over to the 768-foot Fukuoka Tower for stunning views of the city and the coast. Then take a relaxing stroll on the beach right next door at Momochi Seaside Park. To cool down, get familiar with local history at the nearby Fukuoka City Museum, which houses the Gold Seal, a national treasure linked to the foundations of Japan as a country.
Shofukuji Zen Temple in Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan
Founded in the late 12th century by the priest Eisai, Shofukuji is Japan's first temple dedicated to Zen Buddhism. The philosophy of Zen grew to become a central teaching for Japan's samurai warriors. The tranquil grounds here are perfect for reflection or a respite from the bustle of the city.
On the outskirts of Fukuoka, Dazaifu is a historic administrative center packed with temples and shrines. During your Fukuoka, Japan cruise, head to the grandest of them all, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to scholar Sugawara Michizane. Some 40 kilometers south but easily reachable by train, you can find Yanagawa, an ancient castle town of gorgeous old canals overhung by willows and cherry trees.
Fukuoka is synonymous with noodles. While ramen originated in China, Fukuoka took the dish to new heights with its hearty tonkotsu broth — made from long-simmered pork bones — and long, thin noodles. One of the best ways to enjoy this dish is at an outdoor yatai stand, where the beer and sake flow.
In Fukuoka, you can pick up Hakata ningyo, ceramic dolls that were first made in the 17th century and gained international renown in the 19th. They're elaborately painted and can be remarkably lifelike. Shogetsudo in the Nakasu district offers a wide selection of dolls — you can even create your own.
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