Canal City Hakata's fountain show (Photo: Canal City Hakata)

Fukuoka: Top Things to Do

Experience Hakata, the city’s bustling downtown district

Canal City Hakata's fountain show (Photo: Canal City Hakata)
Veronica Carnevale   - 16 min read

Thanks to its nationally-renowned cuisine, preserved history, and lively atmosphere, Fukuoka City—located in southern Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture—makes for a popular urban getaway.

This bustling metropolis is one of Japan’s most populous cities and one of the preferecture’s most frequented tourist spots. For an inside look into this vibrant urban culture, look no further than Canal City Hakata—a multifacility complex situated in Hakata, the city’s downtown area!

With its numerous shops and restaurants, movie cinema, live theater, gaming arcade, and more, Canal City Hakata is a perfect gateway to the city’s legacy. In addition, the complex features one-of-a-kind architectural designs, vibrant coloring, and even a central canal that flows through its buildings. In the surrounding area, you can explore the city’s historical and artistic side with its many shrines, temples, and museums. Canal City Hakata’s diverse offerings, coupled with its central location, make it an excellent base for your exploration of Fukuoka City!

Canal City Hakata: Restaurants

Let’s start with one of our favorite topics—food! Fukuoka has long been renowned for its food scene. Fortunately at Canal City Hakata, you can try a number of the city’s mouthwatering eats, as well as nationwide Japanese cuisine, all within the same complex.

Heishirou (平四郎)

Sushi sets at Heishiro
Sushi sets at Heishiro (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Given its location along the sea of Japan, it is no surprise that Fukuoka is home to delicious seafood. Treat yourself to some sushi at Heishiro, which has over 70 sushi dishes handcrafted by sushi chefs. We highly recommend the tuna sushi, which is freshly sourced from nearby Nagasaki Prefecture!

Location: Center Walk, 4F

Tonkatsu Shinjuku SABOTEN (とんかつ新宿さぼてん)

Crispy tonkatsu
Crispy tonkatsu (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Established 55 years ago, this tonkatsu restaurant serves expertly fried pork cutlets that have the perfect ratio of crunchiness to juiciness. The meal is uniquely served with a mortar and pestle so you can personally grind sesame seeds and add them to the tonkatsu sauce. The nutty and aromatic aroma of the sesame adds an addicting layer of flavor to the sauce’s fruity notes. Paired with rice, soup, pickles, and lots of cabbage, this Japanese comfort dish makes for a satisfying meal.

Location: North Bldg, B1F

Denko-Sekka (電光石火)

Freshly prepared okonomiyaki
Freshly prepared okonomiyaki (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Enjoy Hiroshima cuisine at Denko-Sekka! This nationwide shop specializes in Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki—a savory Japanese pancake typically filled with cabbage, meat, seafood, and noodles topped with an umami rich sauce, green onions, and a fried egg. The contrasting flavors and textures are guaranteed to send your taste buds on an unforgettable journey. For an elevated dining experience, take a seat by the flat top grill and watch the chef effortlessly craft the multi-layered dish as you are encircled by tantalizing aromas.

Location: North Bldg, B1F

Ramen Stadium

Ramen stadium
Ramen stadium (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Without a doubt, one of Fukuoka’s most renowned foods is ramen—especially its regional tonkotsu variety. This flavor-packed noodle dish is characterized by its rich, yet smooth tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, thin noodles, and tender pork slices. Try this Fukuoka staple and more at Canal City Hakata’s Ramen Stadium—a congregation of famous, nationwide ramen shops that serve different varieties of tonkotsu ramen, as well as Sapporo miso-style ramen. Each eatery has a ticket machine at its entrance for easy ordering. As you walk through the lantern-adorned area, you will feel as though you are exploring one of Japan’s retro alleyways.

Location: Center Walk, 5F

Ganso Tomato Raumen Sanmi (元祖トマトラーメン三味)

A unique bowl of ramen
A unique bowl of ramen (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Have you ever tried tomato-based ramen? Enjoy this unique Italian-Japanese fusion dish at Ganso Tomato Raumen Sanmi, located in Ramen Stadium. With an aroma reminiscent of a plate of freshly made pasta, the dish’s light, tomato-based broth strikes the perfect balance between sweet and savory. The thin noodles act as perfect vessels for the flavorful broth and are garnished with celery, spinach, pork, and grated Grana Padano. For additional Italian-Japanese flare, try a side of gyoza garnished with Grana Padano!

Location: Center Walk, 5F

Canal City Hakata: Shops

Another one of Canal City Hakata’s claims to fame is its collection of entertaining shops—from pop culture to apparel to cosmetics to lifestyle goods. Visit the Japanese-related stores to pick up some memorable souvenirs and explore the country’s colorful subcultures. As a bonus, many of the shops are tax-free!


JUMP SHOP (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Manga and anime lovers will not want to pass up a visit to the JUMP SHOP. This store sells merchandise from popular series in the Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, such as「One Piece」, and has themed decor and anime music that immerses you in the exciting worlds. Find the perfect souvenir, or two, among the shop’s stickers, plushies, shirts, posters, and more.

Location: Center Walk, B1F


Life-sized Gundam statue
Life-sized Gundam statue (Photo: Bradford Pomeroy)

Recognized as the second official Gundam shop in Japan, after the one in Tokyo, THE GUNDAM BASE FUKUOKA is the best place to pick up some Gundam merchandise. At its entrance, the shop has a mighty Gundam statue, as well as a small gallery of posters and Gundam plastic models, called Gunpla in Japanese. Inside, it holds an impressive collection of purchasable gundam characters, with prices starting below ¥500! THE GUNDAM BASE FUKUOKA sells limited products exclusive to the Fukuoka store and even has an area where you can build your own Gunpla.

Location: South Bldg, 1F

Sanrio Gallery

For all things kawaii or cute, stop by Sanrio GALLERY. This colorful shop sells plushies, stationery, keychains, and much more featuring its lovable characters, including internationally loved Hello Kitty.

Location: Center Walk, B1F

Donguri Republic

For a dose of nostalgia, step into Donguri Republic, and lose yourself in the whimsical world of Studio Ghibli as you peruse its vast collection of themed merchandise.

Location: Center Walk, B1F


Reconnect with your playful side at BANDAI NAMCO Cross Store. This immersive store combines shopping, an amusement arcade, and exhibitions to create an interactive experience centered on the characters of anime, video games, TV shows, and more.

Location: South Bldg, B1F


Home to crane games, purikura photo booths, and more, TAITO STATION is an excellent place for both adults and children to have fun. If you find yourself in inclement weather, this gaming arcade makes for the perfect indoor activity!

Location: Center Walk, 4F

Art & Water at Canal City Hakata

Canal City Hakata's fountain show
Canal City Hakata's fountain show (Photo: Canal City Hakata)

In addition to its entertainment offerings, shops, and restaurants, Canal City Hakata also serves as a visually intriguing spot thanks to its unique features, design, and coloring. Unsurprisingly, one of the facility’s most notable features is its canal. The approximately 180-meter long waterway flows through the complex’s open-air center and is flanked by colorful, curved buildings. In theme with its connection to the outdoors, the facility incorporates lots of plantlife into its design and has open corridors where you can enjoy fresh air while still being sheltered from the elements.

The canal also acts as the center of the Canal City Hakata Sun Plaza Stage, which displays daily three- to eight-minute fountain shows every hour from 10am to 10pm. With instrumental music that ranges from magical to epic, enjoy the choreographed water displays from the ground level or floors above. At night, the water shows, called Canal City Aqua Panorama, incorporate lights, a water screen, and 3D mapping projections to further elevate the viewing experiences. The fountain area is also home to frequent stage performances and events. Be sure to catch a glimpse of the magic!

Schedule for Canal City Hakata’s daytime fountain shows and nightly Canal City Aqua Panoramas.

If you are an art lover, check out the complex’s public art display: "Fuku/Luck,Fuku=Luck,Matrix." This exhibit is Nam June Paik’s largest artwork in Japan and has 180 side-by-side TV monitors displaying a variety of fragmented images. The artwork’s airtime is from 12pm–1pm, 3pm-4pm, and 6pm-7pm.

"Fuku/Luck,Fuku=Luck,Matrix” location: Crystal Canyon South Side Glass Facade

Top Spots Near Canal City Hakata

Given Canal City Hakata’s central location in Fukuoka’s downtown area, the complex is close to a number of culturally enlightening and entertaining spots.

Theater 010

Theater 010 performance
Theater 010 performance (Photo: Theater 010)

Located in the artistically-provoking and chic 010 Building, Theater 010 offers an immersive experience that combines exquisite dining, a vibrant bar, and mesmerizing shows. The theater's latest production, "PHEROS," aims to express the excitement and uniqueness of Fukuoka City through avant-garde performances that incorporate movement, music, lights, and theatrics, creating a show-stopping viewing experience. Enhance your overall experience within this cultural haven by enjoying world-class signature cocktails at Bar 010.

Location: 1-minute walk from Canal City Hakata

Kushida Shrine

Kushida Shrine
Kushida Shrine (Photo: cowardlion /

In contrast to Canal City Hakata’s urban vibes, Kushida Shrine serves as a reminder of Hakata’s past. Known as one of the oldest shrines in Fukuoka, Kushida Shrine is best known as the main venue for the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa—a summer festival where men parade elaborate floats down the city streets. In fact, you can admire some of the more extravagant floats year-round at the shrine. During February, around the time of the Setsubun Taisai festival, you can also walk through Japan’s largest Otafuku mask for good luck! With its historical significance, events, and traditional presence, Kushida Shrine is a must-visit spot in Hakata.

Location: 3-minute walk from Canal City Hakata JT article:

Sumiyoshi Shrine

Sumiyoshi Shrine’s Main Hall
Sumiyoshi Shrine’s Main Hall (Photo: ben bryant /

Sumiyoshi Shrine in Hakata, the first of thousands of Sumiyoshi Shrines across Japan, is a historic wonder popular for its sumiyoshi-zukuri architecture. This ancient style of Shinto architecture pre-dates the arrival of Buddhism in Japan, making it a purely Japanese design, and is characterized by its gable roofs and ornamental beams. In fact, Sumiyoshi Shrine’s Main Hall, which features examples of sumiyoshi-zukuri, is designated as a National Important Cultural Property. The vermillion buildings are located on an over 25,000-square meter complex encircled by greenery, making the shrine an excellent spiritual and natural retreat. During your visit, stop by the shrine’s sumo statue as well! According to superstitions, you will gain strength if you touch his outstretched palms.

Location: 7-minute walk from Canal City Hakata


A peaceful scene at Rakusui-en
A peaceful scene at Rakusui-en (Photo: Perri Silverstein / JT)

Situated beside Sumiyoshi Shrine, Rakusui-en is a Japanese-style garden located on the former site of a Hakata merchant’s villa. In the garden’s restored tea room, enjoy matcha and seasonal sweets as you admire the surrounding tea garden from soft tatami floors. The main garden itself offers a pleasant walking course where you can meander past moss-decorated stone lanterns, mini waterfalls, koi-filled ponds, and carefully landscaped plantlife.

Location: 7-minute walk from Canal City Hakata


Nightlife in Nakasu
Nightlife in Nakasu (Photo: masary78 /

Centered in the heart of Fukuoka City, Nakasu is the city’s premier entertainment district. This key nightlife destination is renowned for its restaurants, retro alleyways, yatai (open air food stalls), izakaya (Japanese-style bars), karaoke, and more. One of Nakasu’s key attractions is its yatai. These food stalls resemble mini restaurants, with usually around 10 seats, and sell late night food staples such as Hakata ramen, yakitori (grilled meat skewers), oden (a type of hot pot), and more. The tiny eateries typically open from 6:00pm to midnight and rest along the Naka River. For a different perspective, dine on the Naka River with a traditional yakatabune boat ride! If you are looking for an authentic, local experience, Nakasu is a must visit!

Location: 5-minute walk from Canal City Hakata

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (Photo: EQRoy /

Further explore Hakata’s artistic side with a visit to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (FAAM). With its goal of promoting the originality and charm of Asian art, FAAM is the only museum in the world that exclusively collects and exhibits modern and contemporary Asian art. Currently, the museum has over 3,000 pieces from 23 countries and regions in Asia. Admire a variety of mediums, such as paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs that cover a number of thought-provoking topics.

Location: 8-minute walk from Canal City Hakata

Getting there

From Tokyo, Fukuoka is accessible via plane or shinkansen. The flight from Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport is about two hours. After arriving at Fukuoka Airport, take the subway to Hakata Station (six minutes) or Tenjin Station (12 minutes) to access Fukuoka City’s center. Alternatively, you can opt for a roughly five-hour ride on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen, which travels directly from Tokyo Station to Hakata Station.

From Hakata Station to Canal City Hakata, you can either catch a train to Kushida Shrine Station and walk three minutes, or simply walk about 10 minutes.

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Find out more about Canal City Hakata.

Veronica Carnevale

Veronica Carnevale @veronica.carnevale

Fulfilling my traveler's soul!