The sleek triangular structure of Fukuoka Tower is the international symbol of Fukuoka, lighting up the city’s skyline as one of its most instantly recognisable landmarks. The 234m broadcast tower has been an iconic feature of the Momochi seaside area for nearly 25 years, and remains the best place to get some perspective on our favourite Japanese city.
With no shops or offices inside the tower itself, Fukuoka Tower is the third tallest building of its kind in Japan, after Skytree and Tokyo Tower. Its half-mirror sheen gives it a futuristic aspect, perhaps explaining why it was selected to be destroyed in the 1994 film Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. Luckily the tower is still standing despite the monsters’ best efforts, and its gleaming reception desk makes it feel as if we’re about to go up in a spaceship of our own.
Looking up from the ground floor, a maze of geometric patterns are created by the steel beams which hold up the earthquake-proof structure. We whoosh up to the fifth floor observation deck in the glass lift, ears popping on the way.
It is warm at the top of the building, and the view is impressive. Visitors can see landmarks such as Hakata Station, Ohori Park and, on a clear day, all the way to Dazaifu. Video boards displaying local history, ¥100 binoculars and novelty exhibits for kids including the ‘nearest shrine to the sky in Fukuoka’ make the trip a fun and interactive experience.
As we walk around the 360 degree viewing platform, one colour seems to dominate: the blue Kyushu skies and the expanse of Hakata Bay to the North match the hue of the tower’s exterior panels and interior decoration, as well as the bright get-up of Fuhta, the tower’s cheery mascot. The beachside location makes for relaxing views of people playing and walking their dogs along the Momochi sands – even in February!
The ‘Refuge’ Sky Lounge café on the fourth floor is a surprisingly affordable yet spectacularly picturesque location to grab some refreshment, tastefully decorated with painted blue pillars. We went for ice cream and a drink, but spaghetti, pizza and curry are also on offer. The quiet music and friendly staff made this a relaxing spot to enjoy the view over the city.
As the sun began to set, we headed down to the third and final public floor, which is decked out as a ‘Lover’s Sanctuary’ – complete with hundreds of padlock promises and a bright pink neon heart stand. The tower is also currently sporting a seasonal Valentine’s illumination (others include a Christmas tree and a summer Milky Way). This may feel over the top for some, but on the day we visited the tower was fulfilling its role as a date destination for young couple Ami and Seiya, pictured below.
A visit to Fukuoka Tower is a must for tourists and Fukuoka residents who want to see their city in its full panoramic glory. I liked it so much I decided to become the tower – for a moment, anyway.
Fukuoka Tower is open every day from 9:30~21:00(Apr~Sept)/22:00(Oct~March).
Last entry is 30 minutes before closing time.
Entrance is ¥800 (adults), ¥500 (concessions), with a 20% discount for foreign visitors.
Sky Lounge “Refuge” open 10:30~21:00 (last orders 20:30). Table charge ¥300 per person after 18:00.
Report by Katie Forster. Photos by Tae Yamane and Katie Forster.
FUKUOKA TOWER TICKETS
We’re giving away 1 PAIR FREE PASS to the Observation Room of Fukuoka Tower! The 123m Observation Room of Fukuoka’s landmark tower at Momochi beach offers a marvellous 360 degree panoramic view of the city and ocean. APPLY: To enter the draw, all you have to do is apply through this form: http://bit.ly/JhlS3W before Mon. 4/7 at 17:00. Winners will be notified by email and must pick up their tickets from the FN office in Tenjin by Fri. 4/11. Tickets valid for 3 months from the date of pick up. Good luck!