FEATURE

You'll Spontaneously Start Snapping Photos! A Tour of Photogenic Spots in Hakata's Old Town

This course of photogenic spots around Hakata’s Old Town will have you reflexively reaching for your viewfinder!
While searching for the best position for your shot, you’ll make unexpected discoveries, such as stone monuments marking, “This is where … originated”.
Why not stroll around Hakata, feeling the history of its Kamakura and Muromachi periods?
You might find your own photo spot that no one else has noticed!
A welcome gate called “Hakata Sennen-no-Mon” guides visitors to the temple and shrine area of Hakata, in which a lot of historic cultural artifacts remain.
Start by taking some photos at this solemn and stately welcome gate.

Key Photo Points: Hakata Sennen-no-Mon’s Momo-no-Kawara Roof Tiles and Jotenji Street’s Ishi-Datami

Hakata Sennen-no Mon

  • Hakata Area

Address/Jotenji Dori 1-Chome, Hakata-Ekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Access/5 minutes on foot from Gion Subway Station

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Go through Hakata Sennen-no-Mon gate and a charming, tidy and well-kept stone path will appear. It’s called “Jotenji Street Ishi-Datami”.
Jotenji Street is known as the place where quintessentially Japanese food originated, such as udon and soba noodles, as well as Yokan (sweet red bean jelly) and Manju (small cakes filled with sweet bean paste). What’s more, it’s where Hakata Gion Yamakasa, a festival representing Hakata, got its start.

*Key Photo Point: Jotenji Street’s Ishi-Datami

When strolling along the beautiful stone path, feeling the peaceful atmosphere, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the heart of the city.

After strolling along Jotenji Street, head for Myorakuji Temple, located at the end of Gokusho Dori, a street running north and south along the east side of Tochoji Temple.

It is also said that a Japanese sweet rice jelly called Uiro originated here.
At first, the temple was located along Hakata Bay. After burning down along with the town of Hakata during the wars of the Tensho Era (1573-1591), it was rebuilt in its present location during the reconstruction of Hakata, which took place after the arrival of Nagamasa Kuroda, the founding daimyo (feudal lord) of the Fukuoka Clan.
On the temple grounds, there remain mud walls made of clay mixed with stones and tiles that had been burned in battle during the upheaval of the Warring States period. Such walls, called Hakata-bei, are unique to Hakata.

*Key Photo Points: Oni-Tawara Tiled Roof, The Monument to the Origins of Uiro, Hakata-Bei (Hakata’s Unique Walls)

Here at Myorakuji Temple, you can experience zazen, a Buddhist meditative discipline.
How about taking some time out to get in touch with yourself in Hakata’s Old Town?

Myorakuji

  • Hakata Area

Address/13-6 Gokusho-Machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Access5 minutes on foot from Gion Subway Station

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After letting Myorakuji relax you, head to Shiratsugu for lunch.
At this famous restaurant, savor washoku (Japanese cuisine) which has been passed on from one generation to the next in Gokusho Machi, a temple town redolent in history.

Enjoy a number of colorful, healthy dishes.
Not only are they good for you, these dishes also feature a beautiful, chic appearance.

Experience anew the delicious taste of washoku, the cuisine developed from the excellent culture of ancient Japan, which valued the importance of the four seasons.

Address/2-4 Gokusho-Machi, Hakata-Ku, Fukuoka
Telephone/092-400-3569
Access/5 minutes on foot from the #1 Exit of Gion Subway Station
Business/Hours Lunch from 12 to 3 pm,Dinner from 5 to 10 pm
URL/http://shiratsugu.co.jp/en/

Once you’ve eaten your fill at Shiratsugu, head for Tochoji. This was the first temple founded in Japan by Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi, who *established the Shingon Buddhist sect.

Although it’s surrounded by city buildings, once you enter the temple grounds, you’ll feel like you’ve slipped back in time.

There are so many things to see here, from the beautiful pagoda (pictured above) to the large Fukuoka Daibutsu statue of Buddha and Jigoku-Hakkei, a depiction of the eight views of hell (not pictured).
This grand temple also boasts deep ties to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival.*
Considering the expression of each season, a variety of different photos can be taken in the same place.

With a view of the buildings standing behind Tochoji Temple, it might be interesting to take a “now and then” snapshot.

*Key Photo Points: The Five-Storied Pagoda, A Huge String of Prayer Beads Hung on a Pulley

Tochoji Temple

  • Hakata Area

Address/2-4 Gokusho-Machi, Hakata-Ku, Fukuoka
Access/1 minute on foot from the Gion Subway Station

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After going around Tochoji, head for Kushida Shrine, familiar to the locals as Hakata’s main Shinto deity, widely known by its nickname, O-Kushida-San.

The climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, famous across Japan as a festival recalling summer in Hakata, is the “Oi-Yamakasa” event. This is when giant floats are “pulled” into Kushida Shrine.
Since this is the shrine where the festival floats are dedicated, the decorated Yamakasa are on display year-round, so you’ll certainly want to take some pictures!

Inside the shrine grounds, there is a sacred well decorated with cranes containing water for a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, in spite of its splendid decoration, the water in this well cannot be drunk.

There are many other interesting things to discover inside the shrine, such as a board where visitors can confirm the most favorable direction for this year’s Chinese zodiac or a Chikara-Ishi, a rock where you can test your physical strength.

The brilliant main shrine will catch your eye, and you’ll find yourself reaching for your lens.

Key Photo Points: The Decorated Yamakasa Floats and the Main Shrine

Kushida Shrine

  • Nakasu-Kawabata Area

Address/1-41 Kami-Kawabata-Machi, Hakata-Ku, Fukuoka
Access/8 minutes on foot from Nakasu-Kawabata or Gion Subway Stations

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Following your visit to Kushida Shrine, if you are in search of something sweet, head to Ishimura Manseido Honten, the flagship store of the Ishimura sweets shop chain.

Established 110 years ago, this famous sweets shop has continued to evolve and innovate while maintaining its traditions and creativity.
This shop is the birthplace of “White Day”. Every March 14, men and boys who received Valentine’s Day chocolates are expected to reciprocate with a “white” gift of sweets. Their famous treat, called Tsuru-no-Ko (“Crane Child” in Japanese) is known throughout Japan as a souvenir representing not only Hakata but also Japan itself.

With their plump, white appearance, these delicious Tsuru-no-Ko sweets look just like baby crane eggs. How about buying some as a remembrance of your travels to Hakata?

Address/2-1 Suzaki-Machi, Hakata-Ku, Fukuoka
Telephone/092-291-1592
Business Hours/From 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
URL/http://www.ishimura.co.jp/

After filling your stomach a little at Ishimura Manseido Honten, head for the last spot of our photogenic Hakata tour at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum inside Hakata Riverain shopping complex.

This is the only art museum in the world that systematically gathers and exhibits modern art works from Asia.

About 2900 works of art from 23 countries and regions in Asia are stored and displayed here.
This extensive exhibition of high-quality modern art works boasts the attraction of being unique and different from all other art museums around the world.

Why not put down your camera, allowing your own two lens to enjoy the artwork here?

*Key Photo Points: The Mural on the 1st Floor and the Art Cafe on the 7th Floor

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum

  • Nakasu-Kawabata Area

Address/Riverain Building, 7-8 Floor, 3-1 Shimo-Kawabata-Machi Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Access/Directly Connected to the #6 Exit of Nakasu-Kawabata Subway Station, or in front of the Kawabata Machi Hakata-za Mae Bus Stop on the Nishitetsu Bus

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Maybe now you can see the difference between just looking at the scenery and learning the history of this area, imagining how it felt, and aiming your camera lens as you like.
What you store in your camera will become photographs, and those in turn will become precious memories of your journey to Hakata!

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