Located in Dazaifu city, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is considered the most famous attraction in Fukuoka Prefecture. The best time to visit the shrine is in early spring when thousands of plum trees of different varieties reach in full bloom.
Unfortunately, this attraction is not included on the list of the Best summer attractions in Fukuoka Prefecture. In fact, there are other incredible things to do and see in the area that are worth exploring in summer.
Fukuoka is a flourishing, lively city with a lot of history and a lot of life! While not one of the better-known major touristy cities in Japan like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, Fukuoka is actually the sixth largest city in the country and offers plenty to explore.
With summer on its way, new opportunities open up and you can see a number of incredible sights. Fukuoka is a place of mountains and the sea, with the city sitting between the two, offering plenty for urban travelers as well as those seeking to commune with nature.
Here are the ten best things to do in Fukuoka Prefecture this summer:
1) Nokonoshima Island
If you’re tired of busy modern city life, Nokonoshima Island is a pleasant relief. This island sits just across the bay from Fukuoka. It is a green park full of incredible seasonal flowers. You can easily walk around the island in one afternoon since it is only 12 kilometers around.
While you walk, enjoy some lovely views of the city over the water. For those with children, there is a playground located near the seasonal flower bed, as well as a BBQ area, making it a perfect location for a soothing summer picnic. After the rains come in July, golden sunflowers start blooming. Marigolds bloom from May to July.
Whenever you pay for a ticket, you can also take along a bouquet of flowers. The Nokonoshima Camp Grounds are also open in the summer.
You can rent one of the ten cottages for a lovely few days in the park. Before you leave, stop by some of the local eateries at the island’s small port to get a taste of Fukuoka.
2) Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, Fukuoka
This festival is a fun and colorful way to explore the heritage of Fukuoka and the surrounding area.
The Hakata Gion Yamakasa is the Grand Gion Festival of the Kushida Shrine and is held every year from July 1st to July 15th. It has been going on for 770 years. The highlight of the festival is the 14 Kazari Yamakasa.
These decorative floats can be up to 10 meters tall and feature six pillars decorated with dolls and other figures. These figures are created by local master craftsmen every year.
Besides the floats, thousands of people appear in a variety of local dress, including men dressed in fundoshi loincloths. Don’t miss this incredible cultural experience!
3) Uminonakamichi Seaside Park
This large family park sits on a narrow peninsula across from the city. This is no simple park. You can find not only flower gardens, picnic spots, sports fields, and playgrounds, but also a Ferris wheel, a water park, and a zoo. To fit all this in, the park spans four kilometers end to end.
To get around, the park offers bicycles for rent and a network of cycling trails. There is also a seasonal bus you can ride for a small fee.
You can also find wonderful flowers in bloom here at any time of year. In the summer, roses, sunflowers and hydrangeas viewing is a quite popular outdoor activity for locals and tourists alike.
The Unimaka Rose Festival is held here in May and can be enjoyed till early June every year. The festival highlights approximately 1800 roses of 220 different varieties of roses.
4) Shikanoshima Island
One of the best things about visiting in Fukuoka in the summer is that there’s an opportunity of exploring beautiful islands. Shikanoshima (Shika Island) is one of the must see islands for all visitors to Fukuoka.
This historically important island is connected to Fukuoka by bridge. A legendary Gold Seal presented by the Chinese Emperor to a local monarch. The island is beautiful, offering incredible views of the ocean.
Visitors can also enjoy swimming, fishing, scuba diving, and windsurfing. A visit to this island is a great opportunity to get back to nature.
5) Hiraodai Countryside Park
This mountainous park is located in a landscape unlike any other in Japan. It is dotted with limestone formations through its rolling hills.
There are several caves and sinkholes created over the course of thousands of years. There are plenty of hiking trails that offer a great way to see many unique sights and take incredible photos.
The park itself is a very new feature. It’s all about family fun, providing plenty of places to shop and eat alongside educational activities and displays. There is also a campground here in case you want to spend a few days exploring this unique and intriguing location.
6) Food stalls (yatai) on Nakasu Island
These open-air food stalls (yatai) are icons of Fukuoka. They can typically seat seven or so people.
These food stalls provide a wide variety of delicious food and a lot of atmosphere. Nakasu Island sits in the middle of the city and at night you get some spectacular views of the city lights.
The stalls usually open at 6:00 PM and stay open until late. You can also find alcoholic beverages at some of the stalls, making it a fun and rowdy place to be. If you are looking for good food, unique atmosphere, and a bit of noisy fun, visit these food stalls on your trip!
7) Yanagawa River Cruise
Enjoy a more leisurely way to see the local sights. These river cruises take you through Yanagawa City, which lies a short trip outside Fukuoka. This castle town contains a network of moats, many of which are filled with water year-round.
You can spend a day in a small boat and view the many wonderful sights of this historic town. Willow trees and flowers grace the sides of the moats. The view of the town changes continuously as you drift along the water.
Your boat captain will sing nursery rhymes written by the local poet Hakushu Kitahara. You’ll also get a chance to visit some of the local eateries and museums. This Yanagawa cruise is a great way to spend a calm, relaxing day.
8) Ainoshima Island
This is one of the many “cat islands” found throughout Japan. There are many more cats living here than people. You can visit Ainoshima Island by taking a small ferry. The cats are all feral, so some are friendly, while others are less so, and they are everywhere throughout the island.
One of the other features of the island is its unique Tumuli, piles of stones that likely mark ancient graves. You can find some restaurants and shops here, as well.
9) Atago Shrine
Atago Shrine overlooks the city. It was built in 72 AD, making it the oldest shrine in the city. Wishes about warding off evil, relationships, good luck, and the prevention of fires are thought to be granted by this shrine.
More recently, it is thought to help those seeking to stop smoking and drinking. Atago shrine provides one of the best views of Fukuoka, thanks to its height and location. You will get some of the best scenic pictures here!
10) Ohori Park
This relaxing park is dominated by a large, lovely lake. There is a walking path around the edge of the lake, as well as a children’s park, a Japanese garden, and a Noh theater.
You can also find Fukuoka Castle ruins, Maizuru Park, Korokan Historical Museum, and Fukuoka Art Museum just outside its bounds. It is a great place for bird watchers.
Finally, you can take a paddle boat around the lake and grab a snack at the food stalls in the park.