Exploring an exciting town like Fukuoka, packed with historical landmarks, great shopping and plenty of places to dine, you can easily slaughter your wallet in a single day. But the best things in life are free! So Fukuoka Now listed up approximately 32 things to enjoy for FREE in Fukuoka, from culture to sightseeing, to museums, language lessons and more! Check back again soon, we’ll add some more as we find them!
FREE! 32 things to do in Fukuoka!
Free Lookout and Urban Forest Climb
This one requires a little leg work – literally. The rooftop of the spectacular ACROS Building in central Tenjin is a little known spot to see the city from above. To reach the rooftop observatory, which is open only on weekends and holidays, climb the 809 steps of the outdoor staircase at the back of the building. The staircase is almost entirely covered and surrounded by foliage that changes with the season, so you’ll want to do this more than once a year. Note the days and hours below before heading out.
• ACROS Fukuoka
• 1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Lookout: open only on weekends, 10:00~16:00
• Step garden: Mar. ~ Oct. 9:00 ~ 18:00, Nov. ~ Feb. 9:00 ~ 17:00 *closed on rainy days or inclement weather.
See and Touch the Skills of Fukuoka’s Artisans
This is a free admission gallery in ACROS Fukuoka where traditional crafts from Fukuoka Prefecture (7 designated by the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry and 34 designated by the prefectural governor) are on permanent display. Almost every week, traditional artisans and artists from Fukuoka Prefecture hold exhibitions, sales events, and sometimes workshops where visitors can try their hands. This is a valuable facility where you can find a wide range of traditional crafts such as Hakata textiles, Hakata dolls, Kurume Kasuri, and Koishiwara pottery, all of which are known worldwide.
* Temporarily closed for reopening construction (scheduled from June 26, 2022 to the end of September 2022).
Nihongo Hiroba – Free Japanese Classes
Kokusai Hiroba is a hub of information that facilitates exchange between local Japanese residents and members of Fukuoka’s international community. The center also offers Japanese language classes for all levels. The free talk style sessions give participants the chance to learn all kinds of spoken Japanese (including teen slang and local dialects) for no cost. No textbooks are required.
* If you want to participate, please make a reservation in advance by email
FUKUOKA Monument – New Photo Spot
Take a photo at the “FUKUOKA” monument to memorialize your next day out. The new monument can be found in Tenjin Central Park, located in the Nishinakasu area of Fukuoka and Fukuhaku Deai Bridge. The park was renovated in 2019 and looks lovely at any time of day. During the nighttime, the lit-up Kihinkan building provides a gorgeous backdrop to the park. The spot is adjacent to Hareno Garden, a site that is home to trendy cafes and restaurants. This is sure to become one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Fukuoka City.
Foot Bath at Kego Shrine
If you get tired from walking around town, you don’t have to look far to find a healing spot. There’s a free foot bath tucked away in a corner of Kego Shrine. It’s a great way to warm up your feet on a cold day, or just soothe your soul. The water itself, which is constantly circulating and contains natural minerals, is also thought to have antibacterial properties. Towels are available for ¥100.
JR Hakata City Rooftop – Catch a Great View
Discover a rooftop garden in the center of Hakata. Did you know that there is a large garden area on the JR Hakata City rooftop? The shopping complex is connected to Hakata Station, which means that the open-top space doubles up as an observation deck for visitors who enjoy seeing trains arrive and depart. There is also a railway shrine for any travelers who want to pray for a safe journey. The plaza is surrounded by an array of seasonal flowers, making it the ideal place to enjoy a packed lunch. Admission is free so that everyone can enjoy it. Hint: It’s one of the best places to catch a sunset!
• JR Hakata City Rooftop
• 1-1, Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• 092-431-8484 (information)
• 10:00〜22:00 (winter season: 10:00~21:00)
▷Kyushu Live – Canal City to Hakata Station Sunset Walk
Hakata Port Tower – landmark of Hakata Port
Hakata Port Tower, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Fukuoka City from Hakata Bay from its observation deck 70 meters above ground level, is completely free! It is well known as a landmark among locals, and although not as tall as Fukuoka Tower (234m), it is easily accessible from Tenjin and Hakata, and the night view is highly recommended. In 2020, the tower’s lights will be renewed to full-color LEDs to match the seasons and events. The window glass has also been renewed to tempered transparent glass, making the view easier to see. The Bayside Museum on the first floor is also free, and visitors can learn about the role played by the Port of Hakata through panels and models.
• 14-1 Chikkohonmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• Open: 10:00~17:00 (last entry 16:40)
• Closed: Wed. (if Wed. is holiday, the following weekday), 12/29~1/3
Ryuguji – A Temple with Mermaid Bones
Ryuguji is a temple that was built close to the sea and once known as Ukimido. Legend has it that a mermaid found in a fishing net in 1222 was buried in Ukimido for good luck. The temple’s current name comes from the phrase “Ningyo ha Ryugu no Tsukai,” which translates as “a mermaid envoy from the Dragon King’s Palace.” The mermaid’s bones are preserved in the temple, and visitors can request to view them by contacting the temple by phone (in Japanese) in advance.
・4-21 Reisenmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
・8:00 ~ Sunset
NOTE: to see the bones, contact the temple by phone in advance.
Ambitious Video Art in Canal City
A work by Nam June Paik, a world-renowned artist who established the art genre of video art, has a large installation in the atrium space connecting the shopping and office areas of Canal City Hakata. The work is titled “Fuku/Luck, Fuku=Luck, Matrix. It debuted in 1996 and was restored in 2021. The various fragments of images extracted by Pike are dizzyingly intertwined on the screen, creating a kind of chaos.
Canal City Hakata – Dancing Fountains
This dynamic fountain show takes place twice an hour outdoors on Canal City’s basement floor. The Canal Aqua Panorama, which starts at 18:00, is one of Japan’s biggest 3D projection mapping spectacles. Top-quality projection mapping technology, a huge 2,500-inch screen, concert-hall style acoustics, and colorful lights combine to give the show a real wow factor! Visitors can view the fountains in their entirety from the first, second, and third floors, or witness their full power up close on the basement.
CANAL CITY HAKATA 2022 Ⓒ FJ. Entertainment Works
Hakata Gion Yamakasa “Kazariyama” (decorative floats) on display year-round
Hakata Gion Yamakasa is one of the most popular summer festivals in Fukuoka. There are two types of Yamakasa: “Kaki-Yamakasa,” which runs through the streets of Hakata during the festival period (July 1 to July 15), and “Kazari-Yamakasa,” which is decorated for dedication.
There is a place where you can see the Kazariyamakasa, a symbolic part of the traditional Hakata festival, all year round at “Zenzai Hiroba” in Kawabata Shopping Street. At the rest area of the shopping street, where you can enjoy the famous sweet “Kawabata Zenzai.” Also, you can see items related to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa, such as the design tiles of the “toban happi,” the formal dress of the Yamakasa.
Bayside Place Hakata Aquarium
Immediately as you step inside Bayside Place Hakata, you’re sure to be blown away by the giant fish tank that stretches up to the second floor. The cylindrical tank, which is nine meters in diameter and eight meters in height, gives visitors a 360-degree view of more than 30 sea life kids. Keep an eye out for the sea turtles and colorful tropical fish! On Sat., Sun., hol., a free shuttle bus called the Sea Urchin runs between Bayside and the Tenjin / Hakata area to improve accessibility. (The schedule is available on the official website).
Free Legal Advice for Foreigners
Having legal troubles? Fukuoka Bar Association and Fukuoka City International offers free legal advice to foreigners living in Fukuoka on the first and third Saturday of each month. With notification well in advance an interpreter can be provided if your first language isn’t English or Chinese. The consultations take place in private inside Fukuoka City International Center. Call or inquire in advance at the information desk (1F) to confirm if sessions are available.
• Fukuoka City International Center
• 4-1 Tenya-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• First Sat., third Wed. of the month (schedule for 2022)
• Starting times: First Sat. of the month 10:30, 11:15, 12:00, 12:45, Third Wed. of the month 13:00, 13:45, 14:30, 15:15
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free Admission to Fukuoka Tower on your Birthday!
Riding up to the top of Fukuoka’s highest lookout will cost an adult ¥800, but go during your birthday week (three days before or three days after your birthday) and not only will they let you ride up for free, you’ll get a special birthday card too! Plus, they offer a 20% off coupon for the Sky Lounge restaurant on 2F. Then there is the “Art Illumination,” a series of seasonally themed animated illuminations on the sides of the tower – free for everyone to enjoy.
Seinan Gakuin University Museum – Architecture
The museum is located on the grounds of Seinan Gakuin University, and is open to visitors without being a student. Designed by an American architect W.M. Vories and completed in 1921 as the main building of Seinan Gakuin, the beautiful red brick building in the Georgian colonial style won the Fukuoka City Urban Landscape Award in 2000 and was designated as a Tangible Cultural Property of Fukuoka City in 2004. The basic exhibits are related to Christianity, the founding spirit of Seinan Gakuin. The permanent exhibits include historical books and artifacts related to the history and origin of Judaism and Christianity, the history of Christianity in Japan, and materials related to hidden Christians.
Fukuoka Topics – Western-style architecture in Nishijin that conveys the spirit of education >> https://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/western-style-architecture-nishijin/
Free Film Screenings
Perfect for a rainy day! There’s a 25 seat mini-theater located next to the video library on the first floor of the Fukuoka City Public Library in Momochi, where all screenings are free. Enjoy films suitable for children and adults including fairy tales, world history and documentaries of Fukuoka prefecture history. The screenings change from month to month so check the schedule on the official website.
• Fukuoka City Public Library Film Theater
• Wed., Fri., & Sun.: 14:30~ (open from 14:00)
• Closed: Mon.
• 3-7-1, Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
• Screening schedules: http://toshokan.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/theater_schedules/detail
Discover Fukuoka’s Traditional Crafts
This museum exhibits Fukuoka’s traditional crafts, including Hakata Ori (woven textiles) and Hakata Ningyo (dolls), Hakata Magemono (items made of shaped wood), Hakata Koma (spinning tops), Hakata Basami (scissors), Hakata Hariko (ornaments), Multi Glass (glass art), and Chikuzen Hakata Ya (bamboo arrows) which have been passed down through centuries of craftsmen. Exhibits are rotated and events are held regularly such as during the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival in the summer and traditional craft festivals in the fall.
* Moved to Fukuoka City Museum 2F in April 2021 (for excavation of buried cultural properties at the former site of Reisen Elementary School in Kamikawabata-machi).
• Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum
• 3-1-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
• 9:30~17:30 (last entry 17:00)
• Closed: Mon. (open if Mon. is a hol. and closed next day), 12/28 ~ 1/4
Experience an Earthquake
If you feel like a cheap thrill, or if you’re genuinely interested in what it feels like to experience an earthquake or fire, then visit the Fukuoka Disaster Prevention Center for an accurate simulation. They will put you through various scenarios including floods and fires while offering useful advice on how to cope in such crises. An English guidebook is available there or online. Free advice that could someday save your life! Reservation required.
• Fukuoka Disaster Prevention Center
• 1-3-3 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka
• 9:30~17:00 (last entry 16:30)
• Closed: Mon. & last Tue. of month
Takatori Japanese Language Classes
Free Japanese lesson by volunteers who have experience teaching or similar experience. Usually about 20 people, teachers and students, attend. Basically, one student for each teacher, so all levels can be accommodated and textbooks are chosen according to the level of the student. They also offer hands-on Japanese cultural experiences such as participation in the Dontaku festival, flower arrangement, etc., so students can learn something about Japanese culture. * If you want to participate, please make a reservation in advance by email or phone (as of May 2022).
Shake Hands with Paul McCartney
Shake hands with Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson all in a few minutes and all for free! Someone bright spark at the Dome was clever enough to ask many of the celebrities to have performed there to have their hands cast in bronze. The hands are now on display around the periphery of Fukuoka PayPay Dome where you can shake or photograph them to your heart’s content. They’ll never run away.
• Gates 5~7, Fukuoka PayPay Dome
• 2-2-2 Jigyohama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Accessible 24/7
• List in Japanese of all the celebrities
Fukuoka City Science Museum
The Fukuoka City Science Museum re-opened in Ropponmatsu during October 2017. A permanent exhibition room is located on the fifth floor of the premises, and on the sixth floor is one of Kyushu’s largest planetariums (25 meters high) which gives children and adults alike the chance to have a fun-filled science experience!
Admission to the third and fourth floor is free! Stop by the JR Kyushu booth, where you can ride a train of your on creation on the map projected on a big screen. A selection of scientific reading material is also available for gathering data or information. This is a real must if you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day!
• Fukuoka City Science Museum
• 4-2-1 Ropponmatsu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• 9:30~18:00 (last entry 17:30)
• Closed: Tue. and New Year holidays (12/28 ~ 1/1)
• 5F entrance fee: adult ¥510, HS ¥310, JHS and ES ¥200, Planetarium: adult ¥510, HS ¥310, JHS and ES ¥200
This unique museum collects and displays antique technology mostly from the 17th and 18th century. Discover quadrant instruments used to measure altitude, wartime compasses, to historic maps of the seas near Japan as used by Japanese sailors.
Observation Deck at Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal
Even if you are not flying anywhere, Fukuoka Airport can be enjoyed as a gourmet and shopping destination. The domestic terminal was entirely renovated in 2020, and the observation deck is open to the public with a 360 degree view. The close proximity of the deck to the runways makes watching airplanes take off and land quite impressive. The foot of the deck is equipped with 650 LEDs creating a dazzling illumination at night.
• 4F Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal
• 778-1 Shimousui, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
• 7:00~22:00 *closed in case of bad weather
New 24.8-meter High Gundam Statue Unveiled at Lalaport Fukuoka
Visit the 24.8m tall statue of the ν Gundam statue over the main entrance of the commercial facility, LaLaport Fukuoka. Every hour from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., visitors can watch a special “ν Gundam startup” performance that lasts approximately 2 minutes and 20 seconds, during which the Gundam’s right arm and face move. Also, from 19:00 to 21:00, every 30 minutes, there’s a special wall projection and Gundam performance using images and lights.
Click here to see details (video too)
• Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport Fukuoka
• Open: 10:00~22:00
• Performance Schedule through Dec. 31, 2022
• 6-23-1 Naka, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka
Street Pianos in Fukuoka City – Play it free♪
With the goal of making Fukuoka a leading music city in Japan and Asia, Fukuoka City has been installing street pianos. As of June 2022, upright pianos have been installed at Solaria Plaza and a grand piano at Bayside Place Hakata.
1F Solaria Plaza
2-2-43 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
11:00~19:45 (only weekdays, as of June 2022)
TOTO Museum – A Museum for Toilets
TOTO boasts the largest market share of toilets in Japan. These days the company is known for its toilets and washbasins, but at the Toto Museum, you can also learn more about the tableware goods they once produced and the history of toilets around the world. The facility opened to celebrate Toto’s 100th anniversary. Inside, you can expect to find exhibits that explain key changes in water circulation, how the company’s products have evolved since they first opened for business in 1917, and what happens during the manufacturing process. Explanations for exhibits are provided in five languages (English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) on your own smartphone using the free Wi-Fi in the museum.
• TOTO Museum
• 2-1-1 Nakashima, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu
• 093-951-2053 (weekdays 9:00~17:00)
• Closed: Mon., Summer holidays, New years holidays.
• 10:00~17:00 (last entry 16:30)
• Free entry
Mo Mo Land – a tourist ranch near the city center of Fukuoka
It is a popular spot that can be reached by car or bus in about 30 minutes from Tenjin. Its expansive grasslands, with seasonal flowers blooming everywhere, an observatory with a great view, walking paths, and a picnic plaza. In addition to watching cows grazing, playing with goats and sheep, and interacting with animals, you can also enjoy activities that only a farm can offer, such as milking cows (¥100), horseback riding (¥550), and making butter (¥350), etc.
*To prevent spreading diseases to animals and livestock at the farm, visitors coming from overseas must have stayed more than one week in Japan before visiting. Click here for more details.
Free Trilingual City Map
Never get lost again! Pick up a free copy of Now Map, which is available for free at about 190 places at any tourist information counter (JR Hakata City, in front of Mitsukoshi Dept., in Tenjin, Hakata Port) or nearly 100 hotels. Landmarks and transportation routes are clearly marked in English and in Korean, Chinese and Japanese too. There are some money-saving coupons too! Every international resident or tourist should have their own copy!
* An updated edition will be published by the end of FY2022.
Published by Fukuoka Now
Fukuoka Map – Now Map
Free Wifi Spots in Fukuoka
Free Wi Fi hotspots are available in all subway stations and many other public places. Here’s a list of just some of the places who provide free Wi Fi. For a detailed list of all Fukuoka City Wifi Access Points, click here.
Kyushu Live – Free Virtual Walking tours of Fukuoka
Enjoy dozens of online video walking tours of Fukuoka and Kyushu, led by Fukuoka Now Magazine, Editor-in-Chief Nick Szasz. Each episode introduces a different part of the city while sharing insights that only a resident of over 30 years could provide.
List of all Episodes
Fukuoka Now Classifieds
Here’s another free yet incredibly valuable service provided again by yours truly, Fukuoka Now. Read or post messages for free (some exceptions) about items for sale or for free. Browse around for teachers or students. It’s also a great place to find friends with similar interests or maybe even find a new job! Start on this page!
Published by Fukuoka Now
Fukuoka Now Classifieds
Fukuoka & Kyushu English News Summaries
Sure, you can find plenty of articles about Japan in English online, but that’s not the case for local news. That’s where we come in and save the day. Fukuoka Now posts summaries of news stories found in Japanese media about life, business, and entertainment in Fukuoka and Kyushu. Read these summaries on our website or once a week in a convenient and free email(register here) It’s a great way to keep up with what’s happening and coming up. Use the contents in language classes or at the watercooler at work. Knowledge is power! We also post news on Instagram and Facebook.
Originally written in Feb 2015, updated June 2022.
Copyright Fukuoka Now – including all text, photos and illustrations. Permission required to re-use in any form. Meanwhile, feel free to link to this page.
NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us. This report was originally written in Feb 2015.