Fukuoka (also known as Hakata) is one of Japan’s unsung culinary destinations, not to mention one of the country’s most pleasant and livable urban centers.
Those who do know Fukuoka usually know of it through one of its most famous offerings: tonkotsu ramen. If you love thick, rich ramen—packed with umami—tonkotsu hits the spot, and Fukuoka is Japan’s tonkotsu capital.
Ippudo, Japan’s most famous international ramen empire (with shops all over the country, and the world), began in Fukuoka, and it is the tonkotsu variety that ramen lovers outside of Japan are most familiar with.
Foodie travelers always speak of street food in hushed, worshipful tones, yet Japan is notably bereft of street food, especially when compared to other countries in the region.
But Fukuoka is Japan’s most notable exception. Yatai are food carts that have all but disappeared from most (though not all) of Japan, yet they remain a staple of Hakata’s culinary landscape.
Fukuoka is not all ramen and yatai, and despite these casual delights the city has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Direct flights are available to throughout Asia, and the shinkansen (bullet train) connects Fukuoka with Kyoto and Tokyo to the east, and Kagoshima to the remote south. Fukuoka also plays hosts the official November sumobasho each year!
It’s no surprise that Fukuoka is featured in the recently published Rice, Noodle, Fish (a project backed by Anthony Bourdain-san)—it is a fantastic city for food lovers seeking a unique slice of authentic Japan!
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We’re so excited to have welcomed our very first-ever guest contributor, Sophie Friedman, who wrote a wonderful article on what to do if you have 3 days in Kyoto
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Japan is receiving more visitors than ever, which means it’s wiser than ever to plan early, if you plan to visit!
If you’re thinking about a trip in Spring (late March/early April), time is running out. Most hotels in Kyoto have sold out for many dates during this period, making it increasingly challenging to put wonderful itineraries together around these dates.
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