Hatsuhinode (初日の出) literally translates to first sunrise, and is one of Japan’s traditional New Year’s activities. The first in ‘first sunrise’ refers to the first of the year, the moment when the sun graces the sky and dawn breaks over 2017. While Fukuoka doesn’t have anything as iconic as Mt. Fuji, it has some great spots from which to watch the first sunrise of the year.
Chikushino at dawn. Photo: Oscar Boyd
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably got an ounce of the steely determination needed to get up (or stay up) post New Year’s Eve to take part in hatsuhinode. Barring any catastrophes or gravitational defects, the sun is set to rise around the 07:20 mark. Read on for five hatsuhinode spots recommended by the team at Fukuoka Now.
1. The City Spot: Fukuoka Tower (07:22)
Fukuoka Tower will be holding a special event on New Year’s Day to welcome the sun. The tower is 123m high and will be open from 05.30. Weather providing, there will be incredible views towards Dazaifu and across the sea towards Nokonoshima.
Sunrise from the tower is almost certainly guaranteed to look this good.
• 05:30~22:00 (on Jan. 1)
• Adults ¥800; ES and JHS ¥500; over 4 years ¥200
• 2-3-26 Momochihama, Sawara-ku
• Sunrise: 07:22
2. The Island Spot: Nokonoshima (07:22)
From Nokonoshima you’ll be able to see the Fukuoka coastline as the sun rises above it. From the island, you’ll be able to see Fukuoka landmarks such as the Yahuoka! Dome and Fukuoka Tower lit up by the first sun of the year. Great hastuhinode spots on the island include the island’s central observation tower and the beach to the east of the ferry terminal
View from Nokonoshima towards Fukuoka. Photo: Oscar Boyd
Nokonoshima Observation Tower
• 1608-26 Noko, Nishi-ku
• First ferry: Around 05:00
• Sunrise: 07:22
3. The High Mountain Spot – Homanzan (07:17)
Homanzan is one of the most popular mountains in the Fukuoka area, and one of the tallest. At 829m high, the top offers INCREDIBLE views across Fukuoka Pref. On a clear day you can see from the north coast of Fukuoka City to the Chikushi fields in the south. If you’re up for the hike, the views will be amazing. If you’re determined/half-goat you can do the hike in just over an hour but we recommend you stay the night at the Homanzan campsite, located near the summit of the hike. Read our hiking guide for advice on getting to the top.
• Car Park at base of Kamado Jinja Shrine
• 883 Uchiyama, Dazaifu
• Sunrise: 07:17
4. The Low Mountain Spot: Tenpaizan (07:23)
At only 258m high, Tenpaizan is much more accommodating for the early start. The route up is gentle and well surfaced, making it perfect for novice hikers. The viewing platform at the top of mountain gives views across Fukuoka, Dazaifu and Chikushino City. Read out hiking guide for details on how to get to the top.
The hidden wonders of Tenpaizan Historical Park. Photo: Oscar Boyd
• Inside Tenpaizan Historical Park
• Musashi, Chikushino-shi
• Sunrise: 07:23
5. The Nature Spot: Aburayama (7:20)
A few kilometers south of Ohori Park is the Aburayama Citizen’s Forest. Drive (or cycle, it’s a great hill climb!) through the foothills of Aburayama and then stroll up to the park’s observation tower which stands 347m above sea level. Another great spot is the park’s suspension bridge (吊り橋 tsuribashi). Views over the city and to the sea to the north!
Aburayama at dawn. Photo by Jack Brajcich
Aburuyama Citizen’s Forest
• Free entry/parking
• Opens: 06:00~ (1/1)
• 855-4 Hibaru, Minami-ku
We hope that there’s a sunrise spot to your taste! Many of these spots are quite high up and exposed, so remember to bring all necessary clothing and provisions to keep yourself warm. Flashlights/headtorches are recommended for all pre-dawn trips. Good luck and have a great New Year! If you get any good photos or want to share stories of your New Year’s adventures, do submit them using our contact form.