Fukuoka is a prefecture on Japan’s main island of Kyushu whose capital, Fukuoka city, was formed from a castle town. Edo-period fortress ruins can still be seen among Maizuru Park’s cherry blossoms. Modern-day Fukuoka is also known for its elaborate float races during Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, and for its open-air food stalls, or yatai, selling specialties such as yakitori chicken skewers.
Shōfuku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple on the eastern end of town, dates to the 12th century, while Hakata Machiya Folk Museum re-creates a neighborhood from around the Meiji era. Neighboring Canal City Hakata is a modern waterside complex with shops, restaurants and theaters. Nearby, Kushida Shinto shrine displays a towering float from the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. South of Fukuoka, Dazaifu is a quiet city noted for the Zen garden at Kōmyōzen-ji temple and its plum-lined Tenman-gū shrine. The industrial Kitakyushu city attracts visitors to its seasonal Kawachi wisteria garden.