Home of Kyushu's largest cities in Fukuoka and Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka is the southern metropolis of Japan and the gateway to Kyushu. While you're in the big cities, be sure to try some tonkotsu ramen at one of the many food stalls, as well as seasoned cod roe (mentaiko).
Despite its urbanity, however, Fukuoka is also the location of the first Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, Shofukuji, the renowned Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, the relaxing hot springs in the Chikushino area, as well as countless picturesque parks and gardens. Or you can take a stroll around the Moji-ko Retro District, where many buildings have been preserved from the Meiji period.
Visit in early May during Golden Week and you can witness the Hakata Dontaku festival.