Go west : Hakata in Fukuoka – General Info
Many native English speakers laughs when they see the name of the prefecture, Fukuoka.
(The common Japanese name “Takeshita” also makes them laugh.)
The name “Hakata”
“Hakata” is actually not the official name of the present city.
The city’s name is the same as the prefecture’s: “Fukuoka”.
However, the major JR (Japan railway) station is “Hakata” station, and probably many Japanese call the city “Hakata” rather than “Fukuoka”.
The name “Hakata” is shown in the book “Shoku-nihon-gi” (lit. “The sequel to the chronicles of Japan”) which was completed in 797.
On the other hand, “Fukuoka” has been used only from the Edo era.
Ieyasu Tokugawa, the first shogun of the Edo period, granted this area to the Kuroda family as a reward for their distinguished service in the Battle of Sekigahara.
The Kuroda family were from “Fukuoka” in Okayama (see my Osafune post), so when they built a castle there, which took seven years to finish, they started to call the area around the castle as “Fukuoka”.
So, “Fukuoka” was used for a samurai town, the west area of the “Naka” River.
And “Hakata” for a common people’s town, the east area.
In 1889 in the Meiji period, there was a fierce argument which name should be used for the city among the members of the city council from each area, “Fukuoka” or “Hakata”.
Although “Fukuoka” was chosen in the end, “Hakata” voices were still quite strong.
The name “Hakata” was used for the station, which was built in the same year, to lessen their frustration.
Members supporting “Hakata” were far from satisfied, though.
In the following year, one of them submitted a proposal to change the city name.
Again there was an acute discussion, and they decide to call for the vote.
There were 17 members from Hakata and 13 from Fukuoka.
Strangely enough, four of Hakata members were absent on vote (there was a rumour that they were locked up in a toilet).
13 votes each for each name, so the chairman from Fukuoka voted for his town name.
Well, I myself use “Hakata” for the city in my posts and “Fukuoka” for the prefecture, because “Hakata” is more familiar for me as the city’s name.
Also, just calling “Fukuoka” is confusing whether it means the city or the prefecture.
Hakata area is quite near to the foreign countries like Korea or China.
Thus, it’s been very important not only as an international trading area but also as a defending base since the old times.
I was expecting to see historical monuments because it’s such an old city, but I could find almost nothing in my travel guidebook.
Presumably, it’s because of a great US air raid on the city for about two hours in June 1945.
If you are not very keen on eating nor shopping, I don’t feel that there are many things to do or see in Hakata.
How to get there
The most common transportation is hi-speed train, shinkansen.
Take “Nozomi” from Tokyo.
It takes about five hours to get there.
Only some of “Nozomi” go to Hakata, which is a terminal station.
From Osaka, take “Nozomi”, “Sakura” or “Mizuho”.
Sakura and Mizuho go to other areas of Kyushu and they terminate at Kagoshima.
Takes about two hours and a half.
There are also express bus services to Hakata.
From Tokyo, it seems to take about 14 hours.
If you want to go there by air, it’s about two-hour flight.
Hakata Airport locates in the city centre: Only five-minute tube (metro) ride from Hakata JR station.
Tips for public transportations in Hakata
All the information is as of March 2015.
- “Otonari kippu” (Ticket to neighbour)
If your destination is just one-stop away, buy this ticket.
100 yen for adult.
- “Eco-chika kippu”
One day ticket on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays only.
520 yen for adult, 100 yen cheaper than usual one day ticket.
Can be used solely for tube.
You also get a discount or service at the certain places with this ticket.
Fukuoka Tourist City Pass
Only available to foreign people.
You need to show your passport on your purchase.
Can be used for buses (served by two companies), JR (and Nishitetsu) trains, and the tube.
- Around Fukuoka City
820 yen for adult.
You can not get on Nishitetsu trains with this.
- Around Fukuoka City and Dazaifu
1340 yen for adult.
If you are going to Dazaifu, probably this is the best buy.
For more information, see here.
Next post: “Moomin Cafe”
#Dazaifu (1: General Info)
(2: Michizane – general)
(3: Michizane – legends)
(4: Michizane – vengeance)
(5: Michizane – Tenman-guu)
(6: Dazaifu – to the main shrine)
(7: Dazaifu – the main shrine and around)
(8: Dazaifu – Kyushu National Museum)
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
What to see in Fukiya surrounding area (3) [The Nishie residence] This house is located on the opposite side of the Hirokane residence and there is no bus service to/from the village centre in the off season, and even in the high season, a cyclic bus goes there only once a day. However, a bus […]
Since grade school, I always like science museums. Learning outside the four corners of the classroom or beyond the books and wiki pages I read is fun and more exciting than sitting for hours. Interactivity is the key here. It is because I learn and remember more when I can use more than one of […]
Naruto. Surely, when one hears the word Naruto what comes to mind is the popular manga Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto’s name was derived from similar Japanese words: naruto which can mean a powerful whirlpool (maelstrom) or the narutomaki which is the white topping with spiral design on a ramen, and uzumaki(渦巻) which means spiral or the […]
After the scorching heat of the summer sun, who doesn’t love the cool breeze of fall? Especially in Japan where the summer heat is not that friendly at all. Japan, having four distinct seasons and almost 70% of its land area is covered with foliage, each season has its own something to look forward to. […]
I didn’t do “sight-seeing” in Hakata, because there aren’t many things to see as I wrote in my first post of this series. However, according to one of the official websites of Fukuoka city government (Japanese page), there seems to be many historical locations. They offer a free tablet application called “Fukuoka rekishi nabi” (navigation […]
Mini hachi-jyuu-hachi kasho meguri (Quick circuit for 88 sacred places) Behind the temple, there is a small mountain called “Koushiki-zan” (lit. “Mt. Scent-colour”). There is a path encircling the mountain, which is about 1.6 km (approx. 1 mile) long. This is a very short version of the well-known pilgrimage in Japan : “(Shikoku) Hachi-jyuu-hachi kasho […]
Okayama Castle they say is one of the must see places here in Okayama City, Japan. Well if you have been around cities here a number of them have their own castle. I believe there are about hundreds of them scattered all over Japan. But what then sets this castle apart from the rest of […]
Toshodaiji Temple Toshodaiji Temple, a world heritage, is the headquarters of the Ritsu Sect of Buddhism. The temple was established in 759 when Ganjin Wajo(688 to 763), a high Buddhist priest of the Tang Dynasty, opened Toritsushodai-ji Temple here to help people learn the Buddhism by Japanese Buddhists studying in China,Ganjin Wajo decided to go […]
Every time I visit Japan for work, one of the many highlights I look forward during my stay is to get to travel with my Japanese language teacher – I fondly call her sensei. We have traveled together to so many different tourist destinations around Kyoto and Okayama. Having her as a travel buddy is […]
Talking about Tokyo, I could think of tall buildings, high bridges, and a well-developed City. That is what comes out of my mind before I went to Japan. When I was in Japan, we had our trip to Tokyo and we visited some of the famous places there and I could say, Tokyo is not […]