Fukuoka Cruise

Excellent folk museums

Tenjin’s bars and restaurants

The ancient town of Dazaifu

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Fukuoka / Hakata

A light-hearted metropolis

Kyushu’s largest city, Fukuoka is one of the most likeable places in Japan – indeed, despite the fact that it’s not exactly a household name abroad, it regularly pops up on global best-places-to-live lists.

While it boasts few actual sights, there’s a certain Kyushu-style joie de vivre here, best exemplified at the umpteen rustic street-side yatai, where locals slurp happily away on their ramen while knocking back beer, sake or whatever takes their fancy. Until recently, the city was an industrial nonentity, notable only for its transport connections to Korea and the rest of the island, but its renaissance has been remarkable. 

When you are cruising the Pacific Ocean with MSC Cruises you’ll find that Fukuoka is a squeaky-clean metropolis; it deserves a day of any cruiser’s time. Highlights here include one or two excellent museums and ranks of eye-catching modern architecture – most notable in the latter category are Canal City, a self-contained cinema, hotel and shopping complex built around a semi-circular strip of water, and Hawks Town, which forms part of a major seafront redevelopment incorporating venues for shopping, eating and entertainment. If you feel like something more educational during your MSC Grand Voyages cruise, head for Fukuoka renowned festivals and folk crafts, which are presented at Hakata Machiya Folk Museum.

As with any self-respecting Japanese city of this size, Fukuoka maintains a lively entertainment district, in this case crammed onto the tiny island of Nakasu, though it’s safer on the wallet to head for the less glitzy bars and restaurants of Tenjin, the city’s main downtown area. There are also a couple of excellent sights just south of Fukuoka: the ancient temple town of Dazaifu, once the seat of government for all of southern Japan, but now a pleasant backwater best known for its collection of temples and shrines; and the healing waters of nearby Futsukaichi Onsen.

Must see places in Fukuoka

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    A dìfferent planet
    A dìfferent planet

    There’s nothing quite like a cruise to Japan. The very quintessence of Eastern culture, it has long excited the imagination of the West, with a great many of its joys etched indelibly into the minds of folk who live oceans away.

    Sushi and sake, anime and manga, samurai, ninja and the bullet train: everyone knows something of this island nation’s culture, but there’s far more to discover beyond these highly enjoyable stereotypes. Prepare to be pleasantly disorientated. 

    One of the joys of visiting Japan is experiencing the ordinary ways in which the Japanese aesthetic enters into everyday life. The presentation of food, a window display or the simplest flower arrangement can convey, beyond the walls of any museum or gallery, the essential nature of Japanese art. 

    An MSC cruise to Japan will reveal the major attraction of this “Land of contrasts”; it may be the world’s laziest travel cliché, but those who visit Japan find themselves constantly surprised at the easy co-existence between the country’s past and present. 

    Discover Japan and its unexpectedly beautiful landscapes, its charmingly courteous people and its tangible sense of history and cherished traditions – few will be able to resist the chance to get to grips with its mysterious, yet tantalizing, culture.