Nature Lovers! A Guide To The Good Vibes Of Fukuoka's Great Outdoors
Go beyond the neon lights of Tokyo, step outside the hustle and bustle of Osaka, and venture past the traditional temples and geishas of Kyoto by adding Fukuoka to your adventure and experience the good vibes of Japan's great outdoors.
Whether you jump behind the driver’s seat and unravel the prefecture in your own set of wheels in the ultimate Japanese road trip, or climb aboard a JR train and explore the region by rail, Fukuoka Prefecture on the northern shore of Kyushu Island deserves to be added to your itinerary in Japan.
Nestled in southern Japan and only a one and a half hour flight or five-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, it’s a region of stunning nature, charming culture and delicious food. It’s divided into four main sub-regions – Fukuoka region (including Fukuoka City), Chikuho, Kitakyushu and Chikugo – each overflowing with tons of things to see, do and eat.
Fukuoka Prefecture boasts heritage landmarks and is surrounded by both mountains and the sea. It’s also populated with some of the warmest and most welcoming people on the planet. Indeed, thanks to its geographical proximity to other Asian nations, Fukuoka has developed into one of the most unique and diverse regions in the country, and it is absolutely adored by the Japanese themselves. In fact, it’s mostly remained something of a secret to the rest of us…But this needs to change (once travel is once again a possibility, that is) because we’re seriously missing out on the best bits of the Land of the Rising Sun. Especially if we’re the outdoorsy type.
Getting off the beaten track is highly recommended…
If you’re the kind of traveller that revels in plunging into the heart and soul of a country and immersing yourself in the outdoors, then you’re going to love Fukuoka. And it’s oh-so-easy to do that in this southern prefecture, with literally hundreds of amazing nature experiences all over the place. Mountains, cherry blossoms, lush forests, landscaped gardens and the Genkai Sea and its pristine beaches – this region has it all, and then some…
You don’t even have to travel far…
And the best bit is that you needn’t travel too far from Fukuoka City – the prefecture capital and the main entry point into the region – to get amongst it all. For example, just 30 minutes from the city centre (and the same distance away from the airport) is the Shingu Olle hiking trail, which runs parallel to a stunning coastline along a stunning beach. It’s just one of six of Fukuoka’s Olle Trekking Courses, making this part of Japan a mecca for hikers from all over Japan and indeed the world. Olle trekking trails were first developed in South Korea. They offer the hiker the opportunity to experience the joys of hiking through the forest or on the mountains, as well as take in sublime viewing spots, on courses that aren’t too easy or hard. There are six official Olle’s plus many other hikes in Fukuoka Prefecture. Alternatively, you can breathe in the fresh sea air on Nokonoshima Island – famous for its colourful flowers – or visit Futamigaura Beach and Shiraito Waterfalls – both of which are just outside Fukuoka City on Kyushu’s northwest coast.
Climb mountains, cycle or just stroll – it’s up to you…
In the Chikuho region, hikers and rock-climbers can tackle Mount Hiko, whilst cyclists can hop on the saddle and ride along Mount Fukuchi’s beautiful “Iizuka-Nogata Cycling Road” – it’s an absolutely stunning circuit to ride. Or, if you prefer something a little more leisurely, you can’t go wrong with a stroll inside the 10,000-square-metre Gyorakuen Garden with its picture-perfect and 500-year-old landscaped design. You’ll be feeling contemplative in no time!
Beauty literally grows on trees over here…
Over in Chikugo, visit the Yame Tea Gardens which is one of the oldest green tea producers in the world. Or visit one of the most beautiful villages in Japan, Hoshino-mura, and wander around its forests, tea plantations and rice fields. If you’re up for it, you can even spend a night here under the stars at the on-site camping grounds!
You can fill your Instagram feed with amazing memories…
Finally, in the Kitakyushu area, ascend to the top of 622-metre-tall Mount Sarakura via cable car for commanding views over the verdant Kitakyūshū Quasi-National Park. Or get back on your bike and ride through fields in the shadows of Mount Kubote and along the coast to one of the island’s most famous Instagram spots: the “Big Chair.” And definitely do not skip out on visiting the magical Kawachi Wisteria Garden with its famous 100-metre-long tunnels of wisteria (the garden is only open to the public during spring and autumn). Note: Although both seasons are colourful in their own ways, you’ll only see Wisteria in spring.
This article was brought to you by: Fukuoka Prefecture Tourist Association in partnership with KarryOn
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