Who else misses Japan? We certainly do! As we wait to be able to travel to Japan again, we’d like to share this guest post by Marie from BeMarieKorea, a Korea-focused travel blog.
Besides living and travelling extensively around South Korea, Marie also visited Fukuoka, a Japanese town we’ve had on our list forever. Here is her post about 7 fun and easy day trips from Fukuoka!
If your Japan travel itinerary includes Kyushu, why not go on one of these easy day trips from Fukuoka to some of the more remote hidden parts of Northern Kyushu.
There are many offbeat things to do in Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost large island, overlooked by most visitors. Read on to find out more about what you can discover on 7 easy day trips from Fukuoka!
Looking for other offbeat destinations in Japan? Have a look at our Kyoto Off the Beaten Path guide!
Day Trips From Fukuoka
All these day trips from Fukuoka are all accessible by train or bus. To some of these destinations, guided tours are available through websites like GetYourGuide.
1. Nanzoin Temple Fukuoka
Surprisingly, Nanzoin Temple is not a busy destination at all, so if you love going to more secret places in Japan, you will love this!
Throughout history, the temple used to be an important pilgrimage destination, and it still is. The massive complex has lots of hidden back alleys and small statues, but the main sight is an impressive large Buddha statue, 41 meters long and 11 meters in height. The resting Buddha statue weighs approximately 300 tons.
Getting There – It’s fairly easy to get to this temple from Fukuoka as it’s located on the JR Sasaguri line. Express trains will take 21 minutes from Hakata Station and local trains only 24 minutes.
Address – 1035 Sasaguri, Kasuya District, Fukuoka 811-2405, Japan
2. Karato Market Shimonoseki & Mojiko
Karato is located in downtown Shimonoseki and is most know for its fresh fish market. The market is a great place to find fresh produce, including fugu or blow fish, a tasty but dangerous delicacy! You’ll see vendors hawking all sorts of things – from whole fish to sushi, drinks and a lot more.
This is not a wholesale market, meaning you can buy even just some sushi or sashimi to eat, and enjoy them just outside Shimonoseki fish market while overlooking the beautiful port.
From Karato, you can easily take the ferry to Mojiko, a 10 minute ride to the other side of the channel or by train (280 yen).
Mojiko used to be an important international trading port. Nowadays, the port isn’t as popular, but the town has remained the way it used to be and is now know as ‘Mojiko retro town‘.
You can spend a good half day in Mojiko, walking around downtown, enjoying the port and its red brick buildings, observation deck, music box museum and glass house. Make sure to also try the local specialty, grilled curry!
Getting There – From Fukuoka, it takes around 1h30 by bus to reach Shimonoseki and Mojiko. Daily bus tours are also leaving from Fukuoka. These tours include visiting Yamaguchi Tsunoshima Bridge, Karato Market and the Motonosumi Inari Shrine.
3. Kurokawa Onsen Kumamoto
Kurokawa is a small picturesque town located 20 kilometers north of Mount Aso, famous for its beautiful hot springs. This resort type town has remained quite traditional, as most of the buildings are made out of wood.
The town is located in a forest valley. There’s a river flowing through, and small streets filled with public bath houses, cute restaurants and coffee shops.
Kurokawa is especially known for its outdoor baths, some which are located next to the river, with great views of the valley and forest. There are also many ryokan if you wish to spend the night – some can be found in the center of the town, whereas the bigger ones are located just outside, within walking distance.
It is possible to stay in town overnight or just pass through as a day trip from Fukuoka. For most baths you pay 200 yen per person (gender segregated) and 100 yen per person (mixed bath); but you can also buy a wooden pass which allow you to visit 3 baths of your choice.
Getting There – From Fukuoka, it take around 2 hours to reach this town by bus. For more information check out the official Kurokawa Onsen Japan website.
4. Karatsu Castle & Yobuko Morning Market
Karatsu is a coastal town in the Saga prefecture, famous for its pottery. One of the most popular things to do in Karatsu is visiting the Karatsu Castle, with a stunning view over the ocean! The castle was constructed by the Hirotaka order in the early 17th century.
Before going to Karatsu, you should make a stop along the way at Yobuko, a small picturesque rural Japanese town, famous for its morning market and fresh squid offered in sashimi style or eaten when still alive.
If you visit on the first Saturday or Sunday of June, you’ll be lucky enough to witness the rope pulling festival. This local event includes a tug-o-war between two teams from different parts of town. Tradition says that depending on which team wins, there will be a good harvest, or it will be a great year for fishing!
Getting There – To get from Fukuoka to Karatsu, you can take the bus from Hakata station. There are also buses running 2 times an hour between Karatsu and Yobuko, taking 30 minutes, and costing 120 yen. More exact bus schedules can be found in Hakata station or Fukuoka Tourist Information Center.
5. Kokura Castle & Japanese Garden
Modern Kitakyushu is the second biggest city in the Fukuoka Prefecture, with just under 1 million inhabitants. One of the most popular things to do in Kitakyushu is visiting Kokura Castle, 10 minutes walk from Kokura Station.
Parts of the castle have been turned into an exhibition hall, presenting accounts of wars that this castle experienced. Not far from the castle, you can find a typical Japanese garden with a small pond where you can catch a breath and relax for a bit while being surrounded by graceful landscapes.
Getting There – You can travel from Fukuoka to Kitakyushu by bus and train, with frequent departures.
6. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
For more than 500 years, Dazaifu used to be the administrative center of the whole of Kyushu. Nowadays, Dazaifu is a small, frequently visited town not far from Fukuoka, making it perfect as a day trip.
In the center, you will find the oh-so famous Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, next to some other smaller shrines and the massive Kyushu National Museum.
If you want to escape the hectic city center, there are lots of smaller shrines like Kanzeonji Temple and the Government Ruins located within walking distance of the main street.
If you don’t like touristy places, we recommend skipping the main shrine and focusing on the smaller ones instead. You can get a map of all shrines from the tourist information centre.
Getting There –From Hakata Bus Center and Fukuoka Airport there is a direct bus to Dazaifu. It takes around 45 minutes, and costs 600 yen.
7. Ureshino Onsen
Ureshino Onsen is famous for making your skin extra smooth, due to its pure alkaline spring water. On top of that, the onsen also seem to have a therapeutic effect, making it popular since the Edo period.
In Ureshino you can choose between going to one of the Onsen or to a public bath. Prices vary according to location, and start from about 200 yen for a public bath.
The town specialty is Ureshino tofu soup with Ureshino tea, what makes it special is that the tofu is boiled in onsen water. A must try!
Getting There – Ureshino is a very small town, it has no train station and the bus station lies a 15 minute walk on foot from the city center. From Hakata bus station you can take a bus to Ureshino, taking just over an hour.
JR North Kyushu Pass Train & Bus
The best way to enjoy your day trips from Fukuoka is purchasing a train or bus pass; this is a pass specially for foreigners and will save you a lot of money.
The SUNQ Pass is perfect if you want to take the bus around the prefecture; as this is a 3-day unlimited bus ride ticket that can be used on almost every highway and local bus within the region. More prices and info here.
If you prefer taking the train; then the JR Kyushu Rail Pass is perfect for you! The pass covers the following areas: local trains, limited express trains and the Shinkansen. More info and prices here.
Make sure to purchase your passes before arriving in Japan!