10 Best Things To do in Fukuoka in Winter

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Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education in Japan and got her Master’s degree in March 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.

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Fukuoka is a major economic area in Kyushu. If you plan to visit Japan in the winter, Fukuoka is the place to be. The best way to enjoy Fukuoka in winter is to explore this beautiful city that combines rich history and modern charm. Even in the coldest of seasons, Fukuoka will entice visitors with its warm hospitality and excitement-filled activities. This article presents 10 activities that will help you create wonderful memories in Fukuoka this winter. Why not enjoy all that Fukuoka has to offer and create warm memories that will make you forget the cold?

1. Hikari no Machi Hakata 2023

From November 1, 2023 (Wed.) to January 8, 2023 (Mon., holiday), the square in front of JR Hakata Station will be decorated with the fantastic illumination “Hikari no Machi Hakata 2023” in winter! This event—the first to be held in four years since the COVID-19 epidemic—has attracted much local attention for its spectacular and breathtaking gleam on Hakata’s nightscape. A total of 620,000 LED bulbs will illuminate the Hakata night, and dazzling exhibits such as the 14.9-meter-high symbol tree and the illuminated gate will enchant visitors. This is truly a special occasion that will surely make Hakata’s illuminated streets a sight to behold. As winter approaches, why not immerse yourself in the enchanting spectacle of “Hikari no Machi Hakata 2023” at JR Hakata Station Square? Don’t miss this uniquely beautiful scenery and enjoy the charm of winter to the fullest at this wonderful event!

2. Canal City Winter Illumination

This winter, from early November to late February, Canal City Hakata will be transformed from a shopping destination into a splendid illumination. The dazzling illuminations and a dark winter night make for a splendid show that tourists and locals can enjoy. You will be transported to a dream-like world by the shimmering lights. Not just the illumination, but especially during the Christmas period, an aqua panorama called “CANAL XMAS DISCO” is staged, and a fountain show in harmony with the lighting transforms Canal City Hakata into a treasure house of entertainment that goes beyond a mere shopping centre. Please take this opportunity to enjoy a unique winter night brought to life by the illumination and exciting events.

3. Christmas Advent (Fukuoka Christmas Market 2023)

The magic of Christmas is in the air at this year’s “Christmas Advent” in front of Hakata Station in Fukuoka! The Fukuoka Christmas Market returns for its 11th year in 2023 with a new name and even more grandeur to celebrate this new milestone. Here, you will find tree ornaments for sale, delicious Christmas food, music performed by different artists each day, and other events that will make it the climax of your Christmas. In Fukuoka’s winter season, Fukuoka’s Christmas Market is really the place to get a glimpse of the Christmas magic, where a warm atmosphere and beautiful moments await you!

Official Website: Christmas Advent (Fukuoka Christmas Market)

4. Fukuoka Tower

The Fukuoka Tower is a 234-meter-high, crystalline, half-mirrored seaside tower. 108 meters long, the tower will be illuminated for a month, starting in late November, with Christmas-inspired lights. It is decorated with vivid lights in seven different colors, creating a very romantic and magical atmosphere for visitors to enjoy the tower. In particular, a very popular photo spot event is being held at the observatory, where visitors are surrounded by blue-glowing phosphorescent stones and the night view. During the event, the tower will be decorated with Christmas-only decorations, making it a great opportunity to take pictures that will look great on social media. Fukuoka Tower shines with a special glow on winter nights, offering visitors an enchanting Christmas experience. We hope you will take advantage of this beautiful illumination and photo event to color your winter night!

Official Website: Fukuoka Tower

5. Celebrate New Years

Why not start the year off with a special moment in Fukuoka Prefecture? At Mt. Houman, follow the trail that begins at the local Kamado shrine and reach the summit in about two hours, where you will be greeted by an impressive sunrise. The mystical atmosphere, mixed with the beauty of surrounding nature, blesses the start of a new year. Not only that, but many shrines throughout Fukuoka host festivals to celebrate New Year’s Day. Traditional events are held in an energetic atmosphere to celebrate the arrival of the new year. Visiting shrines in Fukuoka is a great way to experience the culture and sacred moments. Celebrate the New Year and enjoy the charm of Fukuoka’s unique traditions and festivals.

6. Yatai food stalls

One of Fukuoka’s most famous attractions is its yatai culture. About 100 yatai stalls line the streets of Fukuoka City, and their glittering appearance adds a lively atmosphere to the city’s nightlife. Here you will find an array of Hakata delicacies that will warm your cold body, such as Hakata tonkotsu ramen, a typical Hakata speciality, and warm oden. This yatai tour will be a delicious adventure in cold Fukuoka, filled with Fukuoka’s unique colors and flavors.

7. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is revered as the head shrine of approximately 12,000 shrines throughout Japan, and its presence is felt as the most significant shrine in Kyushu. The shrine is dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, whose solemn atmosphere attracts many visitors. The Japanese have long revered Sugawara Michizane as a god of learning, culture, and the arts, and especially during the winter exam season, students from all over Japan come to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine to rely on his divine power. This is a special place where quiet prayer and powerful energy resonate with students as they hold in their hearts their hopes for success and expectations for a fresh start. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is a reassuring ally for those looking to quench their thirst for knowledge.

Official Website: Dazaifu Temnagu Shrine

8. Ohori Park Japanese Garden

Ohori Park Japanese Garden is the pride of Fukuoka and a treasure of Japanese botanical knowledge. The Ohori Pond, built by Nagamasa Kuroda, the first lord of the Fukuoka domain in the Edo period, is at the garden’s core, and its historical flavor is fascinating. Japanese traditions are alive and well in this beautiful Japanese garden, which includes a karesansui garden and a prestigious sukiya-style teahouse. Visitors are offered a particular moment where history and art intersect. Experience the depth of Japanese beauty in this garden, which is the pride of Fukuoka.

Official Website: Ohori Park Japanese Garden

9. Nanzoin Temple & Reclining Buddha

Buddhism is widely practiced in Japan, and the “Reclining Buddha” statue at Nanzoin Temple in Fukuoka is known as the largest in the world. This gigantic reclining statue is 41 meters long, 11 meters high, and weighs approximately 300 tons, making it an overwhelmingly impressive sight. By praying to this huge reclining statue at Nanzoin Temple, you may gain something new, potent, and inspiring. It will be a memorable experience to spend a moment of silence in front of the gargantuan Buddha statue while feeling the depth of Japanese religious culture.

Official Website: Nanzoin

10. Fukuoka Castle Ruins

Fukuoka Castle, also known as “Maizuru Castle”, was built by Nagamasa Kuroda the First over seven years from 1601. Today, only part of the castle is still standing, and the main keep serves as an observatory and is a great vantage point from which to view the city of Fukuoka. Especially in spring, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom in the castle, and a cherry blossom festival is held yearly. Approximately 500 lights illuminate the park at night, creating a fantastic atmosphere of cherry blossoms and historical buildings. Fukuoka Castle creates a beautiful balance between history and nature, offering visitors the charm of each season.

Official Website: Fukuoka Castle (Only in Japanese) 

In this article, we have introduced 10 recommended activities in Fukuoka in winter, but is there any activity you want to try? After your wonderful experience in Fukuoka in winter is over, the memories that linger in your mind will remain as a pleasant warmth. Walking through the charming streets of Hakata, warming up with a bowl of hot ramen, and feeling the moment when the past and present intersect at historical places are all good ways to further deepen Fukuoka’s winter charm. Many activities can be enjoyed only in the cold season, and we hope you will enjoy a heartwarming time in Fukuoka in winter. Enjoy Fukuoka in winter to your heart’s content, and welcome your winter with warmth and excitement.

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