Fukuoka is the biggest city on Kyushu Island in Southern Japan. It is an important harbor and a hub for Japan travel. In the Edo Period (1603-1868), Fukuoka Castle was the largest castle in Kyushu. It was torn down, but its castle walls remain in Maizuru Park, a popular cherry blossom spot in the spring. Fukuoka is famous in Japan for its culinary culture and cuisine, its many food stalls (yatai) and Hakata Ramen - thin noodles in pork-based tonkotsu soup. Visit the Yanagibashi Rengo Ichiba (fish market) and the yatai in the Nakasu area to try Fukuokas’s best foods.
If you travel by Shinkansen train from Tokyo to Kyushu Island, you will first come to Fukuoka Prefecture. Its capital Fukuoka City is a former castle town and now the biggest city on Kyushu Island. Ohori Park is located on the old castle grounds. The Kyushu National Museum has an excellent collection showing Japanese art and history. It is located nearby in Dazaifu, the former governmental center of Kyushu. The Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is the national headquarter for all Tenmangu shrines. Also in the Fukuoka area is Munakata Taisha, UNESCO World Heritage and one of the oldest shrines in Japan.