Fukuoka city is located on the the northern shore of Kyushu island, and the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture. Fukuoka is Japan’s sixth largest city.
Recently, many cities are struggling with population loss, but the population of Fukuoka City is rising. London-based Monocle magazine has been releasing annual Quality of life surveys and Fukuoka city has been included in the world’s 25 most livable cities since 2008.
What makes Fukuoka a livable city?
Reason one: It’s compact.
The central part of Fukuoka city contains both the Tenjin area and Hakata area. Tenjin is the shopping quarter and Hakata is the business quarter. You can find anything you want in these two areas. From Fukuoka airport, it only takes 6 min. to Hakata and 11 min. to Tenjin using the subway. You can also easily travel to other parts of Kyushu by using the JR Kyushu express trains, or by bus or taxi on highway expressways. If you travel about 30 min. using cars or trains from this central area to the east, west or south, you can visit nice beaches or mountains. Fukuoka still has a lot of beautiful nature surrounding it.
Reason two: Food is good and cheap!
In Fukuoka city you can eat fresh seafood because of the location. Tonkotsu Ramen, Motsunabe and Mizutaki are popular among Japanese, but there are more good local foods. Fukuoka’s specialities include Yakitori places where you can ask for as much cabbage as you like, and soy sauce for sashimi that people find to have a unique sweetness. Udon is a popular local food and the texture of the noodles and taste of the soup are different from other regions. Don’t miss Gobouten Udon and Maruten Udon. You can not find them in any other places. If you are in Fukuoka, try local restaurants and not franchises. The price is almost the same but the taste is much better!
These two reasons are why Fukuokans love Fukuoka. You may not be able to live in other places once you try Fukuoka.
When you are staying in Fukuoka, you may see the word “HAKATA”many places in the city. Hakata Ramen, Hakata Mentaiko, Hakata station and Hakata dialect, etc.
Why do Fukuokans use Hakata so much? The answer is in Fukuoka history!
Fukuoka History part one: Hakata and Fukuoka are twin cities?!
Hakata was a port town on Hakata Bay and it has a history of over a thousand years. In the Medieval Period, Hakata was run entirely by its own twelve merchants,became an autonomous city and also prospered as a trade city. During the Age of Civil Wars, Hakata became the object of a contest between warlords(daimyos) and was destroyed by their invasions. Eventually, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi helped rebuild Hakata as an autonomous city. In the early Edo era, Fukuoka was established by daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa when he built Fukuoka castle at top of Fukusaki hill on the opposite side of the Naka river to the west of Hakata. This is the beginning of the twin cities, the castle and castle town known as “Fukuoka” and merchants town known as “Hakata”.
Fukuoka History part two: Nakasu was neither “Hakata” nor “Fukuoka”?!
Nakasu is famous as an entertainment district in Fukuoka. When daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa built Fukuoka castle, he created “Nakasu” to connect Hakata and Fukuoka by building bridges over the Naka river and Hakata river. At the time, people in Hakata and Fukuoka couldn’t go back and forth between these two areas. However, Nakasu was an exception. Nakasu became an entertainment district for Hakata and Fukuoka people who enjoyed leisure activities like theatre performance, sumo, lottery and “chaya”(a kind of cafe).
Fukuoka History part three: How Fukuoka city began.
In 1876, Hakata and Fukuoka became “Fukuhaku” because of restructuring of regional partitions. Then,in 1878, “Gun-ku-cho-son Henseiho” (the law for reorganization of counties, wards, towns and villages) was enforced so “Fukuhaku” was changed to “Fukuoka ku” and Hakata disappeared.A companion law, the Shichouson Seido (the law for reorganization of municipalities)was established in 1889, and “Fukuoka ku” became “Fukuoka City”. At the time, some people said “it should be “Hakata city” or “Fukuoka and Hakata should be different cities,”but they couldn’t make those changes. At the same time there was a plan to make a train station at the old Hakata area, so it was decided to name the station “Hakata station.”
Currently, Fukuoka City is getting attention from around the world, but it seems like Fukuoka had been getting a lot of attention before as well. After seeing this Fukuoka history, it is clear why we still hear“Hakata”so often in Fukuoka. Hakata has more history than Fukuoka does.