Ports & Excursions

Hakata, Japan

Since 1889, the old port of Hakata has been part of Fukuoka city, the major commercial center of Northern Kyushu. This region is perhaps the oldest settled area in Japan, and for centuries Hakata served as Japan's cultural and commercial gateway with China and Korean. The twin cities played another major role in Japanese history - it was here that Kublai Khan launched his two invasions of Japan in the 13th century. Two anchor stones from the great Mongol fleet destroyed by the famous typhoon or Kamikaze are still on display at Hakata's 8th century Kushida Shrine. Beyond the hustle and bustle of today's modern metropolis, visitor will still discover and enjoy the serenity of ancient shrines, superb formal gardens, and a duo of fascinating museums.

When Hakata and Fukuoka merged in 1889, the combined metropolis was to be named Hakata. Until a group of disaffected samurai from Fukuoka - an important castle town in feudal times - intervened to ensure the new city's name honored their old home.

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  • Kokura Castle & Garden Kokura Castle & Garden

    This postcard perfect 17th century castle is surrounded by a beautiful garden where you can watch a traditional tea ceremony. The castle houses a historical museum and offers spectacular views from its lookout tower.

  • Shimonoseki Shimonoseki

    This picturesque coastal city is the site of an important naval battle. In 1185, two clans fought over control of the city; instead of surrendering the eight-year old emperor threw himself into the sea.

  • Arita Arita

    Renowned for its porcelain since the 17th century, Arita is at the heart of the Japanese ceramics trade industry. Here, you'll find many shops selling beautiful tableware, vases and decorative pieces.

  • Karatsu & Kyozan Kiln Karatsu & Kyozan Kiln

    Pottery from the town of Karatsu is known for its simple dark brown glaze and is often used in tea ceremonies. To watch skilled craftsmen at work, visit the Kyozan Kiln.

  • Kushida Shrine Kushida Shrine

    Fukuoka's oldest shrine was founded in 757 and plays a large part in the city's cultural history. Merchants visit to pray for prosperity and it's the site of a 1,200 year-old festival called Yamakasa.

  • Fukuoka Tower Fukuoka Tower

    This city icon is Japan's largest seaside tower. Standing 767 feet tall, it functions as a broadcast antenna for TV and radio networks. The top floor offers sweeping views of Hakata Bay and Kyushu mountains.

  • Kyushu National Museum Kyushu National Museum

    The rich cultural heritage of Japan and how other Asian cultures have influenced the nation is reflected in its collection of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.

  • Yanagawa River Yanagawa River

    Once a castle town, Yanagawa offers leisurely boat rides in a gondola-like boat called a donko. Enjoy cruising up and down the river, soaking up the spectacular scenery.

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