In this blog post, I will help you to find Where to stay in Fukuoka (for first-time visitors, families, couples). I’ll also provide you the list of the the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Fukuoka (with a map) and best hotels in Fukuoka for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed).
Fukuoka is one of the ten biggest cities in Japan and the second largest port in the country after Yokohama. It has been an important harbor city for many centuries.
Fukuoka is situated on the northern coast of Kyushu and is the country’s closest region to mainland Asia. It has easy access to the Korean City of Busa, Taiwan, and Shanghai, as well as a few hours flights from major cities in Japan or bullet train rides such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.
Fukuoka used to be two separate cities, Hakata and Fukuoka, but they merged in 1889 and took on the name Fukuoka. Today, the old Fukuoka is located on the western side of the river and is home to the Tenjin area, while Hakata was historically known as a city of merchants and Fukuoka as a home for samurais.
Fukuoka is divided into two halves, Hakata and Tenjin, separated by Nakasu island. Hakata is the city’s business and transport hub while Tenjin is the city’s cultural center.
Where to stay in Fukuoka first time?
The best areas to stay in Fukuoka for tourists and first-timers are Hakata, Tenjin but there are also other neighborhoods consider stay in like Nakasu Kawabata, Chuo Ward, Nishijin, and Higashi Ward. These are popular areas, offering easy access to attractions, restaurants, and shops.
Fukuoka has an efficient public transportation system, including subway lines and buses, which makes it relatively easy to explore different areas of the city regardless of where you choose to stay.
Where did I stay in Fukuoka?
When I first visited Fukuoka, I stayed for 3 nights at the mid-range Mitsui Garden Hotel Fukuoka Gion. It has a great location, easy access to the bus, underground, or train to get to most places in the city. Close to a canal city shopping mall and a 7-11. I had a good size bedroom and bathroom. My breakfast buffet was excellent!
|💖 Best Area for first-timers:
|💎 Best luxury hotel:
|Miyako Hotel Hakata
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:
|Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Hakata
|💰 Best budget hotel:
|HOTEL FORZA HAKATA-GUCHI
Map of areas and neighborhoods in Fukuoka:
The 6 Best areas to stay in Fukuoka for tourists are:
1. Hakata – best overall area to stay in Fukuoka for first-timers
Hakata is the best place to stay in Fukuoka for the first time due to the convenience in terms of getting to other places in the Kyushu island and the Fukuoka Airport.
It is home to the Hakata Station, the transport hub of Fukuoka, with connections to Shinkansen, JR Train, subway and bus lines. Above the Hakata station stands a massive shopping complex called Hakata City.
Within walking distance from Hakata Station, you can find Hakata Old Town with many temples and shrines to learn about the city’s history, traditions and culture. Popular sites are:
- Hakata Sennen-no-Mon Gate,the entrance to the historic temple area
- the Jotenji Temple, the birthplace of udon, soba and manju dumplings
- Shofukuji Temple, the first Zen temple constructed in Japan
- Tochoji Temple, head temple of Shingon Buddhism Kyushu sect
- Kushida Shrine, the location of the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, in July
- The beautiful Waka Hachimangu Shrine
Hakata area is home to Hakata port, where the ferries depart to Busan of South Korea, and many other cities in Japan including Iki, Tsushima, and the Goto Islands. The port is home to the Hakata Port Tower, providing excellent views over Fukuoka City.
If you head to the Naka River, you will see the Canal City Hakata shopping mall, where you can grab souvenirs for your family and friends as well as eating there.
Hakata is Fukuoka’s one of the most well-known neighborhoods with many choices in many hotels, shops, restaurants, and breweries and sake bars, most of which are concentrated around the train station.
Hakata is a great base for foodies. Famous local foods you must try are tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen noodles, Motsunabe, and Mizutaki.
Hakata is famous for being the main producers of earthenware dolls or the Hakata-ningyo. These dolls have a human-like shape and are made from clay.
To learn about the city’s tradition, you can visit the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum. It shows history from the Meiji and Taisho periods, selling traditional crafts and souvenirs.
Hakata has a wide range of accommodation options ranging from budget guest houses to luxury hotels. You can find many hotels conveniently located close to the airport and the train station.
Advantages: central location, convenient transportation, wide range of shopping and dining options, vibrant nightlife, and numerous cultural attractions.
Disadvantages: can get crowded; limited green spaces; slightly more expensive compared to other areas due to its popularity and convenient location.
Hakata’s advantages in terms of convenience, dining, shopping, and nightlife make it an appealing choice for first-time visitors, despite potential drawbacks like crowds and higher costs.
Best places to stay in Hakata Ward for first-timers:
- Luxury ($$$): Miyako Hotel Hakata
- Mid-range ($$): Nishitetsu Hotel Croom Hakata
- Budget ($): HOTEL FORZA HAKATA-GUCHI
2. Tenjin – where to stay in Fukuoka for shopping
Tenjin along with Hakata is one of the best areas to stay in Fukuoka for the first time because it íis the downtown area of Tenjin that offers plenty of things to do and see.
Tenjin is the fashion capital of Kyushu and is a great base for shopping due to its huge department stores and international fashion shops.
It is a bustling area with a good range of bars, izakayas (Japanese pubs), restaurants, and shops. The neighborhood is centered around Nishitetsu Fukuoka Tenjin Station.
Tenjin is the western part of the city, separated from Hakata by the Naka river; it doesn’t have many interesting sightseeing spots as in Hakata, but it has a great selection of fashion shops and quality restaurants for shoppers and foodies.
You will find department stores such as Mitsukoshi, Iwataya, with lots of fashion shops and restaurants. There are also shopping experiences at Daimaru, Loft, Vivre, IMS, Tenjin Core.
For rainy days, take a look at the Tenjin underground shopping mall with dozens of streets and hundreds of shops. Tenjin Chikagai links Tenjin Subway Station with Tenjin Minami Subway Station, as well as the Mitsukoshi department store.
For entertainment, you can head West of Tenjin subway station where you can find Taito Station, Sega Game center, Karaoke, as well as fast food and Japanese specialty shops.
It is home to the ACROS, Asian Crossroads Over The Sea building where you will see an observation deck and enjoy the views of the ocean.
Next to the building is the Tenjin Central Park, a small park to relax and have a picnic. It is also the venue of festivals and events, as well as the cherry blossom viewing in the spring.
There are some cultural attractions such as the Kego Shrine near Kego park, and Fukuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, showing arts of Fukuoka and Kyushu.
Tenjin has a great selection of hotels, mostly mid-range and budget level. It is a great base for food, shopping, and vibrant nightlife.
Advantages: Central location, excellent public transportat connections, shopping paradise, vibrant Nightlife, and various cultural landmarks.
Disadvantages: can get crowded, especially during weekends and holidays; higher prices in accommodation and dining options; fewer parks and green spaces;
Tenjin is an excellent choice for first-timers in Fukuoka who want to be at the center of the action, enjoy shopping, nightlife, and explore the city’s cultural attractions.
Best places to stay in Fukuoka in Tenjin for first-time visitors:
- Mid-range ($$): Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Fukuoka
- Mid-range ($$): Nishitetsu Grand Hotel
- Budget ($): Richmond Hotel Tenjin Nishi-Dori
3. Nakasu – where to stay in Fukuoka for nightlife
Nakasu Kawabata is one of the best areas to stay in Fukuoka for nightlife because it is a famous amusement district in Fukuoka and is a great place to go for street food, party, drinks, neon lights, and karaoke.
It is a small island located between the two popular neighborhoods of Hakata and Tenjin, as well as between Nakagawa River and Hakatagawa River.
Nakasu is one of Japan’s largest red light districts with lots of eateries, bars, food stalls, and entertainment. You can find many yatai street food stalls on the edge of the Nakagawa River. Must-try dishes are yakitori, oden, and Hakata-style ramen.
The area is a well-connected neighborhood, home to Nakasu-Kawabata Station, offering easy access to Hakata and Tenji. You can find the Hakataza Theatre and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which are directly connected to the station.
For shopping opportunities, you can check out the Canal City shopping mall on the southeast of Nakasu and the Hakata Riverain nearby. The Nakasu-Kawabata shotengai shopping arcade has many shops selling traditional Japanese goods, clothing.
If you like some green spaces, head to the Seiryu park, located right next to the river. It is a beautiful area to view cherry blossoms in the spring.
Advantages: bustling nightlife scene, centrally located, food paradise with a wide variety of dining options;
Disadvantages: can be noisy due to its lively nightlife, can get crowded, limited parks or green spaces for leisurely activities or relaxation.
Best places to stay in Fukuoka in Nakasu Kawabata:
- Luxury ($$$): Hotel Okura Fukuoka
- Mid-range ($$): Hotel Resol Trinity Hakata
- Budget ($): The Lively Fukuoka Hakata
4. Daimyo – super cool neighborhood to stay in Fukuoka
Daimyo along with Tenjin is one of the two main areas of Chuo Ward. It is a cool area located between Tenjin and Akasaka stations.
Daimyo is a cool place for hip young crowds for drinking and vintage shopping. The neighborhood has a laid-back vibe with many cafes, vintage shops, Izakaya pubs, and bars.
You can find big brands like The North Face and Nike, but also many Japanese boutiques.
It is home to the popular Maizuru Park, built on the site of Fukuoka castle ruins. It is a famous place for watching cherry blossoms. It is located close to the Ohori Park and Fukuoka City Art Museum.
Daimyo is also a great location to book a hotel. You can find a range of budget-friendly accommodations here.
Advantages: vibrant nightlife and shopping, Central location, Variety of dining options;
Disadvantages: can be noisy, higher prices, accommodations might have smaller rooms due to space constraints,;
Daimyo is an exciting area with a vibrant atmosphere, ideal for first-time visitors who enjoy city life, shopping, and a wide variety of dining options.
Best places to stay in Fukuoka in Daimyo/Chuo Ward:
- Budget ($): LAMP LIGHT BOOKS HOTEL fukuoka
- Budget ($): Hotel JAL City Fukuoka Tenjin
- Budget ($): Yagura Hostel
- Budget ($): ピオーレ大手門401
- Budget ($): Fukuoka Chapel Coconuts Hotel Ipolani
5. Sawara Ward – great place near the beach
Sawara Ward is a major ward in the city, encompassing a number of neighborhoods including the Seaside Momochi area, Nishijin/Fujisaki area, the Muromi River area, and the Noke/Kamo area.
The Seaside Momochi Area is home to Momochihama Beach and Momochi Seaside Park. It is only 15 minutes by bus from Tenjin, providing lots of entertainment facilities and attractions.
The Seaside Momochi area features several of Fukuoka’s tourist attractions and iconic buildings including the Fukuoka Tower and the Fukuoka City Museum.
Nearby is the 234m high Fukuoka Tower, which has an observation deck on the fifth floor and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Fukuoka. It is illuminated with different themes at night.
You can visit the Fukuoka City Museum, watch a baseball game at Fukuoka Yafuoku Dome, go fishing, take a stroll along the river, and enjoy the natural beauty of Mt. Sefuri.
Sawara Ward has a range of apartments and traditional Japanese inns. You can choose to stay near the waterfront, or close to Nishijin Station for convenience.
Advantages: Affordable accommodation, a quieter and residential atmosphere, good access to Fukuoka Airport; more local vibe;
Disadvantages: further away from the city center, limited dining and entertainment options, Less vibrant nightlife scene;
Best places to stay in Fukuoka in Nishijin:
6. Higashi – great area for Marine World
The term “Higashi Ku” directly translates to “towards the east”. This locality has multiple academic institutions, including Kyushu University, and a bustling port that employs a significant portion of the city’s population.
Additionally, the Higashiku district in Fukuoka encompasses notable sites such as the Hakozaki Shrine, Marine World, Island City, and the Genkai National Park.
Best places to stay in Fukuoka in Higashi Ward:
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In conclusion, Hakata, Tenjin, Nakasu Kawabata, Chuo Ward, Nishijin, and Higashi Ward are the best places to stay in Fukuoka for tourists. These areas offers safe locations with a wide range of accommodation options for all budget travelers.
In my opinion, Hakata is overall the best area to stay in Fukuoka for first-timers because it is the most popular destination of the city. So there you have it, where to stay in Fukuoka for tourists, all you need to do now is to book your hotels, and get ready to go!