While Fukuoka is a dynamic city on Japan’s Kyushu island, visitors can enjoy the natural splendor of nearby forests and islands all year round.
Fukuoka has always been known as the heart of Japan’s Kyushu region, offering beautiful nature, colorful festivals and traditional cultural activities. Fukuoka has four distinct seasons, which makes it ideal for visiting any time of year. During the summer months, Fukuoka enjoys plenty of sunshine and July is when the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival takes place. In spring and fall, Fukuoka takes on the color of cherry blossoms and momoji leaves. Winter here is time to hit ice-skating rinks and small ski resorts and enjoy seasonal dishes such as mizutaki hotpot with chicken, vegetables and mushrooms. Fukuoka offers many options but perhaps the simplest pleasure is a walk in the forest and on nearby islands to enjoy the area’s pure and peaceful nature.
Deep in the forest
Aburayama, famed for its red leaves in fall and cherry blossoms in spring, is an ideal picnic spot less than an hour’s drive from Fukuoka. In Aburayama Forest Park, you can plan your own hiking trip or go camping with friends and family. If you want to take in a panoramic view of Fukuoka, you can ascend to the observatory at an altitude of 347 meters, which is the ideal spot for visitors to admire the beautiful leaves of autumn. When winter comes, Aburayama remains a great destination for sports, with popular skating rinks drawing crowds.
Out on the islands
Fukuoka has many beautiful islands off its shores such as Shikanoshima and Nokonoshima. Shikanoshima Island looks out on Hakata Bay. It is connected to the Kyushu mainland via a long sand bank and is accessible by road.
Shikanoshima is ideal for those who prefer to slow down and enjoy peaceful moments surrounded by the sea and the sky. There are not many vehicles on the island, making it ideal for walking or cycling. If you seek even more serenity, you can visit Shikaumi Temple or the sacred Shogonji Pagoda. And if you want to walk on the sand, dip your feet in the sea or enjoy water sports in the summer, head to Katsuma Beach.
Besides the island’s tranquility, Nokonoshima island attracts crowds of tourists thanks to its landscape featuring a park where flowers bloom all year round. It only takes around 10 minutes by ferry to reach the island and visit Nokonoshima Island Park, which opened in 1969. Canola flowers bloom here in spring, sunflowers in summer, cosmos in fall and Japan narcissus in winter.
Visitors to the park often choose to walk or ride bicycles. Before the park was opened, most local residents made a living by fishing. Thanks to the idea of growing flowers to turn the island into a park, Nokonoshima has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Fukuoka.