Fukuoka (福岡市, Fukuoka-shi, Japanese: [ɸɯ̥kɯꜜoka]) is
the capital city of
Fukuoka Prefecture, situated on the northern shore
of Japanese island Kyushu. It is the most populous city on the island,
followed by Kitakyushu. It is the largest city and metropolitan area
west of Keihanshin. The city was designated on April 1, 1972, by
government ordinance. Greater Fukuoka, with a population of 2.5
million people (2005 census), is part of the heavily industrialized
Kitakyushu zone as well as Northern Kyushu.
As of 2015[update],
Fukuoka is Japan’s sixth largest city, having
passed the population of Kobe. As of July 2011[update],
Fukuoka passed the population of Kyoto. Since the founding of
794, this marks the first time that a city west of the
has a larger population than Kyoto. In ancient times, however, the
area near Fukuoka, the Chikushi region, was thought by some historians
to have possibly been even more influential than the Yamato region.
2.1 Mongol invasions (1274–1281)
2.2 Formation of the modern city (1889)
2.3 20th century
2.4 21st century
7.3.2 Hakata Dontaku
9.1 Sports teams and facilities
11 International relations
12 Notable people from Fukuoka
13 See also
15 External links
Exchanges from the continent and the Northern
Kyushu area date as far
back as Old Stone Age. It has been thought that waves of immigrants
arrived in Northern
Kyushu from mainland Asia. Several
See also: Timeline of Fukuoka
Fukuoka was sometimes called the Port of Dazaifu (大宰府,
15 km (9 mi) southeast from Fukuoka). Dazaifu was an
administrative capital in 663 A.D., but a historian proposed that a
prehistoric capital was in the area. Ancient texts, such as the
Kojiki, Kanyen (found in Dazaifu) and archaeology confirm this was a
very critical place in the founding of Japan. Some scholars claim
that it was the first place outsiders and the Imperial Family set
foot, but like many early
Japan origin theories, it remains contested.
Fukuoka is sometimes still referred to as Hakata, the central ward of
In 923, the
Fukuoka was transferred from Daibu-gū in
Daibu (大分, 16 km (10 mi) northeast from Dazaifu) the
Usa Shrine and established as a branch of the
Usa Shrine at
Fukuoka. In Ooho (大保, 15 km (9 mi) south from
Dazaifu), there are remains of a big ward office with a temple,
because in ancient East Asia, an emperor must have three great
ministries (大宰, 大傳 and 大保). In fact, there is a record in
Chinese literature that a king of
Japan sent a letter in 478 to ask
the Chinese emperor's approval for employing three ministries. In
addition, remains of the Korokan (鴻臚館, Government Guest House)
were found in
Fukuoka underneath a part of the ruins of Fukuoka
Mongol invasions (1274–1281)
Main article: Mongol invasions of Japan
Kublai Khan of the
Mongol Empire turned his attention towards Japan
starting in 1268, exerting a new external pressure on
Japan with which
it had no experience.
Kublai Khan first sent an envoy to
Japan to make
the Shogunate acknowledge Khan's suzerainty. The Kamakura shogunate
Mongolia repeatedly sent envoys thereafter, each time urging
the Shogunate to accept their proposal, but to no avail.
Kublai Khan mounted an invasion of the northern part of
Kyushu with a fleet of 900 ships and 33,000 troops,
including troops from
Goryeo on the Korean Peninsula. This initial
invasion was compromised by a combination of incompetence and severe
storms. After the invasion attempt of 1274, Japanese samurai built a
stone barrier 20 km (12 mi) in length bordering the coast of
Hakata Bay in what is now the city of Fukuoka. The wall, 2–3 metres
in height and having a base width of 3 metres, was constructed between
1276 and 1277, and was excavated in the 1930s.
Kublai sent another envoy to
Japan in 1279. At that time, Hōjō
Tokimune of the
Hōjō clan (1251–1284) was the Eighth Regent. Not
only did he decline the offer, but he beheaded the five Mongolian
emissaries after summoning them to Kamakura. Infuriated, Kublai
organized another attack on
Fukuoka Prefecture in 1281, mobilizing
140,000 soldiers and 4,000 ships. The Japanese defenders,
numbering around 40,000, were no match for the Mongols and the
invasion force made it as far as Dazaifu, 15 km (9 mi) south
of the city of Fukuoka. However, the Japanese were again aided by
severe weather, this time by a typhoon that struck a crushing blow to
the Mongolian troops, thwarting the invasion.
It was this typhoon that came to be called the
Kamikaze (Divine Wind),
and was the origin of the term
Kamikaze used to indicate suicide
attacks by military aviators of the Empire of
Japan against Allied
naval vessels during World War II.
Formation of the modern city (1889)
The Tenjin area
Canal City Hakata
JR Kyushu's Hakata Station
Tenjin Underground City
Fukuoka was formerly the residence of the powerful daimyō of Chikuzen
Province, and played an important part in the medieval history of
Japan. The renowned temple of
Tokugawa Ieyasu in the district was
destroyed by fire during the
Boshin War of 1868.
The modern city was formed on April 1, 1889, with the merger of the
former cities of Hakata and Fukuoka. Historically, Hakata was the port
and merchant district, and was more associated with the area's culture
and remains the main commercial area today. On the other hand, the
Fukuoka area was home to many samurai, and its name has been used
since Kuroda Nagamasa, the first daimyō of Chikuzen Province, named
it after his birthplace in
Okayama Prefecture and the "old Fukuoka"
is the main shopping area, now called Tenjin.
When Hakata and
Fukuoka decided to merge, a meeting was held to decide
the name for the new city. Hakata was initially chosen, but a group of
samurai crashed the meeting and forced those present to choose Fukuoka
as the name for the merged city. However, Hakata is still used to
refer to the Hakata area of the city and, most famously, to refer to
the city's train station, Hakata Station, and dialect, Hakata-ben.
Fukuoka Medical College, a campus associated with
University, is founded. In 1911, the college is renamed Kyushu
Imperial University and established as a separate entity.
Fukuoka streetcar service begins. (The service ran until 1979.)
1929: Flights commence along the Fukuoka-Osaka-
1945: Saturation bombing of Japanese cities commences on Honshu, with
Fukuoka also one of the targets.
Fukuoka airport opens.
Fukuoka Zoo opens.
1975: The city absorbed the town of Sawara.
1981: Subway commences service.
1988: Osaka's pro baseball team, the Nankai Hawks, are moved to
Fukuoka and renamed the
Daiei Hawks (renamed the Fukuoka
SoftBank Hawks in 2004).
1989: Asian-Pacific Exposition is held.
1997: The 30th annual meeting of the
Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank was held
Fukuoka subway Nanakuma Line started operations.
2014: Selected as the National Strategic Zone for "global startups
& job creation" by the Japanese government.
Fukuoka is bordered on three sides by mountains and opens, on the
north, to the Genkai Sea.
It is located 1,100 km (684 mi) from Tokyo.
Fukuoka has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) and it has hot
humid summers and relatively mild winters. The city also sees on
average about 1,600 mm (63 in) of precipitation per year,
with a stretch of more intense precipitation between the months of
June and September. Along with much of the prefecture,
has a moderate climate with an annual average temperature of
16.3 °C (61 °F), average humidity of 70% and 1,811 annual
daylight hours. Roughly 40% of the year is cloudy.
Winter temperatures rarely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and it
rarely snows, though light rain does fall on most days if not as
consistently as on the Sea of
Japan side of Honshu. Spring is warm
and sunnier, with cherry blossoms appearing in late March or early
April. The rainy season (tsuyu) lasts for approximately six weeks
through June and July, during which time the humidity is very high and
temperatures hover between 25 °C (77 °F) and 30 °C
(86 °F). Summers are humid and hot, with temperatures peaking
around 37 °C (99 °F). Autumn, often considered to be
Fukuoka's best season, is mild and dry, though the typhoon season runs
between August and September.
Climate data for Fukuoka,
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average snowfall cm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Main article: 2005
Fukuoka is not as seismically active as many other parts of Japan, but
does experience occasional earthquakes. The most powerful recent
earthquake registered a lower 6 of maximum 7 of the Japanese intensity
scale and hit at 10:53 am local time on March 20, 2005, killing one
person and injuring more than 400. The epicentre of the earthquake was
Genkai Sea along a yet-undiscovered extension of the Kego fault
that runs through the centre of Fukuoka. Genkai island, a part of
Nishi-ku, was the most severely damaged by the earthquake and almost
all island residents were forced to evacuate. Aftershocks continued
intermittently throughout the following weeks as construction crews
worked to rebuild damaged buildings throughout the city. Traditional
Japanese houses, particularly in the areas of Daimyo and Imaizumi,
were the most heavily damaged and many were marked for demolition,
along with several apartment buildings. Insurance payments for damages
were estimated at approximately 15.8 billion yen.
A similar quake, with an intensity of 5+, also occurred one month
later on April 20, 2005.
Fukuoka's major Kego fault runs northwest to southeast, roughly
parallel to Nishitetsu's Ōmuta train line, and was previously thought
to be 22 km (14 mi) long. It is estimated to produce
earthquakes as strong as magnitude 7 at the focus approximately once
every 15,000 years. If the focus were located at a depth of 10 km
(6 mi), this would translate to an earthquake of a lower-6
magnitude (similar to the March 20, 2005 earthquake) in downtown
Fukuoka if it were the epicenter. The probability of an earthquake
along the known length of the Kego fault occurring within 30 years was
estimated at 0.4% prior to the March 20, 2005 earthquake, but this
probability has been revised upwards since. Including the new
extension out into the Genkai Sea, the Kego fault is now thought to be
40 km (25 mi) long.
Following reports that the city has only prepared for earthquakes up
to a magnitude of 6.5, several strong aftershocks renewed fears that
the quakes might cause the portion of the Kego fault that lies under
the city to become active again, leading to an earthquake as big as,
or bigger than, the March 20 quake.
Fukuoka has 7 wards (ku):
as of August 1, 2010
As of July 2016[update], the city had an estimated population of
1,550,627 and a population density of 4,515.64 persons per km².
The total area is 340.60 square kilometres (131.51 sq mi).
Fukuoka city is the Japan’s youngest major city and has Japan’s
fastest growing population.
A government survey of 2013 found
Fukuoka has 217 homeless.
Fukuoka is the economic center of the
Kyushu region, with an economy
largely focused on the service sector.
Fukuoka city is also the
largest startup city in Japan, and is the only economic zone for
startup. They have various services for startups like startup
visa, tax reduction, and free business consultations for startups.
Fukuoka city has the number one opening business rate in Japan.
Large companies headquartered in the city include
Iwataya and Kyushu
Fukuoka is also the home of many small firms playing a
supportive role in the logistics, IT, and high-tech manufacturing
sectors. Most of the region's heavy manufacturing takes place in the
nearby city of Kitakyushu. The GDP in Greater Fukuoka, Fukuoka
Metropolitan Employment Area, was US$101.6 billion in
Several regional broadcasters are based in the city, including Fukuoka
Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting, Love FM, RKB
Mainichi Broadcasting, and Television Nishinippon Corporation.
The port of Hakata and
Fukuoka Airport also make the city a key
regional transportation hub.
Fukuoka houses the headquarters of Kyushu
Railway Company (JR Kyushu) and Nishi-Nippon Railroad. Air Next, a
subsidiary of All Nippon Airways, is headquartered in Hakata-ku;
prior to its dissolution,
Harlequin Air was also headquartered in
Fukuoka has its own stock exchange, founded in 1949. It is one of six
Fukuoka was selected as one of Newsweek's 10 "Most Dynamic Cities" in
its July 2006 issue. It was chosen for its central Asian location,
increasing tourism and trade, and a large increase in volume at its
sea and airport.
Fukuoka has a diverse culture and a wide range of
In its July/August 2008 issue, Monocle selected
Fukuoka as number 17
of the "Top 25 liveable cities". It was chosen for excellent
shopping, outstanding food, good transport links, good museums, "a
feeling of openness in its sea air", green spaces and because it's
friendly, safe, clean and close to the rest of East Asia.
Hakata-ku, Fukuoka § Economy#Cruise ship tourism
Fukuoka hosts more than 2 million foreign visitors annually, with the
majority coming from neighboring
South Korea and China. From the early
2010s Hakata became the beneficiary of significant growth in cruise
ship tourism; particularly with visitors from China. After expansion
and redevelopment of the Hakata Port international passenger ship
terminal, the number of cruise ship port calls in 2016 is expected to
Nearly ten thousand international students attend universities in or
Fukuoka prefecture each year. Nearly 200 international
conferences are held each year in Fukuoka.
Sky Dream Fukuoka, located in
Fukuoka City's western ward, was one of
the world's largest Ferris wheels at a height of 120 meters. It was
closed on September 2009.
Fukuoka Castle located adjacent to Ohori
Park in Maizuru Park features the remaining stone walls and
ramparts left after a devastating fire during the upheaval of the
Meiji Restoration. It has now been preserved along with some
reconstructed prefabricate concrete towers constructed during the
1950s and 1960s, when there was a trend across
Japan to rebuild
damaged castles as tourist attractions.
Ōhori Park is also the
location of one of
Fukuoka City's major art galleries. There is a
Kyushu National Museum in nearby Dazaifu.
The Marine Park Uminonakamichi is located on a narrow cape on the
northern side of the Bay of Hakata. The park has an amusement park,
petting zoo, gardens, beaches, a hotel, and a large marine aquarium
which opened in 1989. For tourists from other parts of Japan,
local foods such as mentaiko,
Hakata ramen and motsunabe are
associated with Fukuoka. Yatai (street stalls) serving ramen can be
found in Tenjin and
Nakasu most evenings.
Fukuoka Tower is near the
beach in Momochi.
Itoshima, which can be found to the west of
Fukuoka city, has recently
become a very popular tourist destination. There are many beaches
along the coast, notably Futamigaura beach, where there is a famous
Shinto shrine in the ocean, and Keya beach, which hosts the annual
Sunset Live festival every September. Inland, there is the Shingon
Buddhist temple called Raizan Sennyoji, where there are many Buddhist
statues and stunning autumn foliage.
Fukuoka City Museum
Fukuoka Art Museum
Fukuoka Art Museum – In Ohori Park; contains a wide selection of
contemporary and other art from around the world, including works by
Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, and Salvador Dalí.
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum – contains art from various countries of
Fukuoka City Museum – displays a broad range of items from the
region's history, including a spectacular gold seal.
Fukuoka Oriental Ceramics Museum
Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art
Genko Historical Museum (元寇史料館, Museum of the Mongol
Invasion) – In Higashi Koen (East Park); displays Japanese and
Mongolian arms and armor from the 13th century as well as paintings on
historical subjects. Open on weekends.
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum – Dedicated to displaying the traditional
ways of life, speech, and culture of the
Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize was established to honor the
outstanding work of individuals or organizations in Asia.
Hakata Gion Yamakasa
Fukuoka is home to many festivals (matsuri) that are held throughout
the year. Of these, the most famous are
Hakata Dontaku and Hakata Gion
Yamakasa (山笠), held for two weeks each July, is Fukuoka's
oldest festival with a history of over 700 years. The festival dates
back to 1241 when a priest called Shioichu Kokushi saved Hakata from a
terrible plague by being carried around the city on a movable shrine
and throwing water. Teams of men (no women, except small
girls, are allowed), representing different districts in the city,
commemorate the priest's route by racing against the clock around a
set course carrying on their shoulders floats weighing several
thousand pounds. Participants all wear shimekomi (called fundoshi in
other parts of Japan), which are traditional loincloths.
Each day of the two-week festival is marked by special events and
practice runs, culminating in the official race that takes place the
last morning before dawn. Tens of thousands line the streets to cheer
on the teams. During the festival, men can be seen walking around many
Fukuoka in long happi coats bearing the distinctive mark of
their team affiliation and traditional geta sandals. The costumes are
worn with pride and are considered appropriate wear for even formal
occasions, such as weddings and cocktail parties, during the festival.
The uniform used during the ceremonies and preparation.
The uniform used during the competition.
Hakata Dontaku (博多どんたく) is held in
Fukuoka City on May 3
and 4. Boasting over 800 years of history, Dontaku is attended by more
than 2 million people, making it the festival with the highest
attendance during Japan's Golden Week holidays. During the festival,
stages are erected throughout downtown for traditional performances
and a parade of floats is held. The full name is
Hakata Dontaku Minato
The festival was stopped for seven years during the Meiji era. Since
it was restarted in the 12th year of the
Meiji era it has been known
as Hakata Dontaku.
Notable musical names in
Ayumi Hamasaki (allegedly
Japan's richest woman), singer-songwriter Ringo Shiina, hugely popular
singer-songwriter duo Chage & Aska, singer-songwriter Eri
Misia and Yui. During the 1970s, local musicians prided
themselves on their origins and dubbed their sound, Mentai Rock.
Morning Musume 6th generation member
Reina Tanaka was also born here
in 1989 along with 9th generation member
Erina Ikuta in 1997.
Dominican songwriter and singer
Juan Luis Guerra
Juan Luis Guerra pays homage to the
city in his bachata song
Bachata en Fukuoka
Bachata en Fukuoka (2010).
HKT 48 have their own Theater at
International terminal of
Bayside Place Hakata Port
Main article: Transport in Fukuoka-Kitakyushu
Fukuoka is served by
Fukuoka Airport, the
San'yō Shinkansen and the
Kyushu Shinkansen high-speed rail line and other JR
Kyushu trains at
Hakata Station and by ferry. JR
Kyushu and a Korean company operate
hydrofoil ferries (named Beetle and Kobee) between Hakata and Busan,
South Korea. The city has three subway lines, and the newest one,
Subway Nanakuma Line, opened on February 2, 2005. A private railway
line, run by
Nishitetsu is also heavily used and connects the downtown
area of Tenjin to the city of Ōmuta.
Fukuoka is the home of the
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, one of Japan's top
professional baseball teams. Threatened with bankruptcy and forced by
its creditors to restructure, former owner
Daiei sold the Hawks to
Softbank Capital in 2004.
Fukuoka is home to a professional football team, Avispa Fukuoka.
Annual sporting events include:
Category Championships are held in early April.
Kyushu ekiden, beginning in
Nagasaki and ending in Fukuoka, the
world's longest relay race, held in October. (Defunct)
The November tournament of professional
Sumo is held at the Fukuoka
Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championships, with start/finish
at Heiwadai Athletic Stadium, held on the 1st Sunday of December.
Fukuoka has hosted the following sporting events:
1983 Asian Volleyball Championship for Women
1995 Summer Universiade
1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships
1998 Women's Volleyball World Championship
2001 World Aquatics Championships.
2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Fukuoka International Women's
Judo Championships from 1983 to 2006.
2013-14 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final
Sports teams and facilities
Coca-Cola Red Sparks
Sawayaka Sports Park
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
1989 (year of relocation from
Daiei Hawks, changed to
current name from 2005)
1995 (year of relocation from
Fujieda, Shizuoka as
changed to current name from 1996)
Fukuoka Jogakuin High School football club, changed to a
senior club team and participated Nadeshiko League Div. 2 from 2006)
Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka
Fukuoka City operates all public elementary and junior high schools,
while the prefecture operates the high schools.
Kyushu University (九州大学,
Kyushu Institute of Design (九州芸術工科大学,
Kōka Daigaku) – merged with
Kyushu University on October 2003
Fukuoka Women's University
Fukuoka Women's University (福岡女子大学,
Fukuoka Joshi Daigaku)
Daiichi University, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences
(第一薬科大学, Daiichi Yakka Daigaku)
Fukuoka Institute of Technology
Fukuoka Institute of Technology (福岡工業大学,
Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University (福岡女学院大学,
Fukuoka University (福岡大学,
Kyushu Sangyo University (九州産業大学,
Kyushu Sangyō Daigaku)
Nakamura Gakuen University
Nakamura Gakuen University (中村学園大学, Nakamura Gakuen
Seinan Gakuin University
Seinan Gakuin University (西南学院大学, Seinan Gakuin Daigaku)
Fukuoka College of Health Sciences (福岡医療短期大学, Fukuoka
Iryō Tanki Daigaku)
Fukuoka Institute of Technology, Junior college
Fukuoka Kōgyō Daigaku Tanki
Junshin Junior College (純真短期大学, Junshin Tanki Daigaku)
Koran Women's Junior College (香蘭女子短期大学, Kōran Joshi
Kyushu Zokei Art College (九州造形短期大学,
Nakamura Gakuen Junior College (中村学園大学短期大学部,
Nakamura Gakuen Daigaku Tanki Daigakubu)
Nishinihon Junior College (西日本短期大学, Nishi Nihon Tanki
Seika Women's Junior College (精華女子短期大学, Seika Joshi
Fukuoka Junior and Senior High School
Fukuoka has nine sister cities.
Atlanta, United States
Auckland, New Zealand
Busan, South Korea
Oakland, California, United States
The city established the Asian Pacific City Summit in 1994. It
consists of 26 Asia-Pacific cities.
Notable people from Fukuoka
Nao Sakuma, principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet
Jirō Akagawa (novelist)
Aska (singer) (Chage and Aska)
Sonny Chiba (actor, singer, film producer, film director, and martial
Kaibara Ekken (Neo-Confucianist philosopher)
Kenji Hamada (voice actor)
Ayumi Hamasaki (
Angela Harry (model and actress)
Kiyoshi Hikawa (enka singer)
Kōki Hirota (politician: 32nd Prime Minister of Japan)
Erina Ikuta (
J-pop singer and member of Morning Musume)
Tomo Inouye, (medical doctor)
Gakuryū Ishii (film director)
Ai Kawashima (singer-songwriter)
Yoshinori Kobayashi (manga artist)
Kenzo Nakamura (
Ai Nonaka (voice actor)
Yukari Oshima (actress)
Victoria Principal (American actress)
Noriko Sakai (singer and actress)
Kensuke Sasaki (professional wrestler)
Kōji Seto (actor)
Sui Ishida (manga artist)
Ringo Shiina (
J-pop singer born in
Saitama Prefecture and raised in
Keita Tachibana (
J-pop singer and member of W-inds)
Akitomo Takeno (basketball player)
Dan Takuma (businessman)
Tamori (TV presenter)
Reina Tanaka (
J-pop singer and a member of Morning Musume) and
Ryoko Tani (judo athlete)
Rintaro Tokunaga (basketball player)
Ryutaro Umeno (baseball player for the Hanshin Tigers)
Masaaki Yuasa (director)
Yumeno Kyūsaku (novelist)
Maonyan (singer and member SID)
Elaiza Ikeda (model and actress)
HKT48 (Idol Group)
Kanikapila (Rock Band)
Masamune Kusano (
J-pop singer and a member of Spits)
Fukuoka mayoral election, 2006
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^ "SISTER-CITY AGREEMENTS/ MEMORANDUM". Department of Urban
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Guangzhou Sister Cities[via WaybackMachine.com]".
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fukuoka, Fukuoka.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Fukuoka.
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article
Fukuoka City official website (in Japanese)
Tourism Site of
Fukuoka Facts Data about the Best of Fukuoka
Wards of Fukuoka
Wards of Kitakyushu
List of mergers in
Metropolitan cities of Japan
Special wards of Tokyo※
Note: ※ also a prefectural capital
Metropolitan areas in
Japan with a population of over a million
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