Fly to Fukuoka, Japan
Fukuoka was once two cities, divided by a river and class distinctions. The noble Fukuoka castle town eventually merged with the commoners’ Hakata, marking the birth of the modern, cosmopolitan city that Fukuoka has become.
Known for its international outlook and diverse contemporary attractions, Fukuoka has risen to the point of bidding on the 2016 Summer Olympics against its cousin, Tokyo. As a renowned culinary centre with a thriving nightlife, particularly beautiful women, and a much-loved baseball team, Fukuoka is the subject of much local tourism. It is also attracting more and more international travellers, and is considered an excellent introduction into Japanese culture.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African Passport holders travelling to Fukuoka do require a Visa to enter Japan. Make sure you leave enough time for Visa processing, and check that your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date, and that you have 2 blank pages available for entry stamps.
- The South African Embassy to Japan is located in Tokyo. 4th Floor, Hanzomon First Building, 1-4 Kojimachi - CHIYODA-KU, Tokyo, 102-0083. Phone: + 81 3 3265 3366 / + 81 3 3265 3369.
See and do
When you think of Japan, beaches tend not to spring immediately to mind, but Fukuoka is blessed with some fabulous coastal areas, with sandy beaches, great swimming, and even some surf spots. Momochi Kaihin Koen is the most popular, although the beach itself is artificial. Iko-no-matsubara Beach is natural, and cleaner, longer, and more scenic than Momochi, and boasts the nearby remains of 13th century fortifications built to defend against the Mongol invasion. Obaru and Shingu are also great options.
After checking out the ruins at Iko-no-matsubaru, pay a visit to the Genko Historical Museum in Higashi Koen park. It chronicles the Mongol Invasions in Japan, and has a fascinating range of artefacts from the 13th century and later. The Kyushu National Museum is also worth paying a visit, for its concept of presenting Japanese culture from an Asian perspective.
The Fukuoka Asian Art Museum has a spectacular contemporary collection, and Chuo Ward in which it is located is home to some other major attractions as well. The City Zoo and Botanical Garden are both here, as is Ohori Park – a favourite spot with locals, and a lovely place for a scenic stroll.
For more traditional Japanese shrines and temples, included the 8th century Kushida Shrine, and Japan’s first Zen temple, Shofukuji, pay a visit to the Gion area. You’ll find some great souvenirs here as well, including Hakata dolls, and items made from Hakat-ori textiles. Pick up a bottle of sake while you’re at it - it’s always fun to give folk back home a taste.
Public transport in Fukuoka, as in most of Japan, is extensive, reliable, and fairly easy to navigate. Three subway lines form the backbone of the transit network, with buses filling in the gaps, and the bullet train handling long distance travel. Downtown is compact enough to explore on foot, but a bicycle is said to be the best way to get around.
Fukuoka Airport – FUK
Food and beverage: Flap Kitchen, JALUX Blue Sky, ANA Festa, Café de Tablier, Wing 1, Eastern and Royal.
Currency Exhange: Fukuoka Bank, Nishi-Nippon City Bank, Fukuoka Airport Post Office, and TiscoJapan Currency Exchange all offer forex facilities in the airport.
Lost Luggage: Lost hold luggage should be handled by your individual airline’s help desk. Items lost or found within the airport can be reported to the nearest Information Counter, or ask security to direct you appropriately.
Airport Hotels: None on site, but Guest House Aloha Spirit has a complementary shuttle service and can be contacted from Fukuoka Airport.
Car Hire: None on site. Reservations can be made at the Information Desks. Alternatively use the Fukuoka City Subway, which connects Fukuoka Airport to the CBD, and rent a car from within the city.