This summer, I'm studying abroad in the Japanese beach city of Fukuoka. In preparation, I have been researching the city and everything it has to offer. If you ever have the time to spare to visit Fukuoka this summer, here are some of the places you need to visit.
There is nowhere else like it on Earth, truly. This is one of Fukuoka's biggest attractions, and it's not far from the major train stations. It's the largest shopping complex in all of Japan. It has shops, restaurants, and its very own hotel. Here, you will find something for you. A canal runs through the middle, giving it its name, and there's a light show at night.
2. Go see the shrines.
When it comes to Japan, Shinto shrines are iconic. They're on every postcard, and they're cover of every travel blog. It'd be remiss to go to Japan and not visit one. Thankfully, Fukuoka is not lacking. There are plenty of shrines. The most popular shrine is the shrine of education, Dazaifu. Students go here to bring themselves good luck on exams.
3. Go to the beach.
Fukuoka is a beach city, plain and simple. This feature sets it apart from other Japanese cities. Fukuoka's most popular areas are a walk away from the beach. Fukuoka has plentiful of beautiful real and artificial beaches lining its rim, perfect for the summertime. These beaches are some of the best in Japan.
Fukuoka used to be two cities, Hakata and Tenjin. Fukuoka has its own local variety of Ramen called, "Hakata Ramen." You can find stores that specialize in this all over Fukuoka, or at one of many street food vendors, known as Yatai.
5. Go to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park.
This is one of Fukuoka's most iconic locations. It's in north Fukuoka, close to the beach. It's a large park of flowers by the ocean, and it's a perfect photo shoot location for Instagram. The expanse of colorful flowers is truly a breath-taking sight.
6. Take the ferry to Busan.
Another great feature of Fukuoka is that it's a bay city, close in proximity to Busan, Korea, the second largest city in South Korea. While South Korea would normally be another trip entirely, you can also fit it in your Japan trip. The ferry is short but pricey.
7. Attend a festival.
Culture tends to get lost a little bit in big cities, however, festivals and celebrations are an inherent part of Japanese life where the culture comes out. America has holidays, but the only thing we really take to the streets is Macy's Parade. Japan has several festivals a year, and Fukuoka has some unique to it.
8. Visit Fukuoka Tower.
Most major Japanese cities have large, skyscraper-like towers that function as radio and broadcast towers. These towers are symbols of Japan's famed technological progress. Fukuoka has an observation deck open to the public, offering a panoramic view of the city. These are the some of the best views you can get in the city, and Fukuoka has Japan's highest seaside tower, of course.