The town of Hakozaki developed around Hakozaki Shrine, and until recently was a bustling student town home to a campus of Kyushu University. However, the University began relocation of the campus in 2005 and many feared that the town would become desolate as a result. Despite these gloomy predictions, “over the last two years or so, more and more interesting shops are opening” says Mr. Oyamada, the owner of Gallery & Live Space Momo-An. Taking a stroll through the old shopping arcade, alongside the greengrocers and butchers you can see many small bars and fashionable shops. Some, such as Nagata Bakery, are even conversions of old private houses. In Hakozaki, away from the constant hustle and bustle of the city, the old and new have found a way to successfully coexist.
Cafe & Gallery Kubrick
Opened in 2008, Kubrick could be said to be the instigator of Hakozaki’s revival. Manager Mr. Oi says that he opened in Hakozaki just because he “had ties with the area”. He says, “I didn’t realize until after we opened, but in Hakozaki old ways and things have survived. It’s like a little oasis in the heart of the city.” Kubrick is a bookstore downstairs but the spiral staircase leads to a wonderfully open second floor area. Events such as bossa nova lessons are held here, with the belief that “doing fun things also helps the town”. The store’s stance on community development is to allow it to happen spontaneously as people gather for events or in the store. In the cafe, care is taken regarding the quality of the ingredients. “We couldn’t price things this cheaply in Tenjin or Daimyo” says Mr. Oi. We recommend trying the Hayashi Rice (¥640), which has a wonderful deep flavor that comes from the leftover vegetables added to the soup stock. There is also an in-store bagel shop called Vege-kitchen.
Address: 2F Belnido Hakozaki Bldg, 1-5-14 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-645-0632 Open: Cafe 11:30~19:30, Gallery 11:00~20:00 Closed: Mon.
Nakata Bakery Hakozaki
This popular bakery has its main store in Kasuga, and opened in Hakozaki in 2008. The store is a converted private house that was formerly a cigarette store. Its Showa-era appearance matches perfectly the look and feel of Hakozaki. The window displays some of the breads for sale, such as the nearly 30cm long Walnut bread (¥380) and the Mentai baguette (¥180). After purchasing your breads, and perhaps a coffee (¥200), you can enjoy them in the upstairs area. Unlike most bakeries, Nagata is not self-service, and the extra communication between customers and staff that this entails is helping to establish it as a cornerstone of the community.
Address: 1-44-20 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-643-8680 Open: 7:30 ~ 19:30 Closed: Tue.
Hakozaki Aquarium Tea Room
The name of this place comes from the fact that the proprietress’s great-grandfather was the curator of Hakozaki aquarium when it opened in 1910. “I chose this name because I wanted to uncover some of the forgotten history of Hakozaki,” she says, adding that she also wanted the area to regain its former liveliness. The relaxed, cosy interior also houses a grand piano, and the bookshelves are lined with books on Japanese history and folklore, all of which are free to read (in Japanese). The food is healthy with lots of vegetables, such as in the bean and vegetable-filled tomato stew. Care is taken to use local produce as far as possible, and it is even registered on an official Fukuoka City list of restaurants supporting healthy lifestyles. The Hakozaki Hot Dog Set (¥650) comes with coffee or tea and is garnished with home-made pickles. They also regularly host concerts and other events.
Address: 1-37-21 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-986-4134 Open: 11:30~18:00 Closed: Tue.
Cafe & Bar Buenos
This “night cafe” serves a wide range of Latin food, such as their delicious Paella (¥650 per person, minimum order of two portions). The building in fact used to house a ramen restaurant, which owner Mr. Nishiyama himself renovated and converted into the café. He still runs the place, helped these days by one part-time member of staff (Miho in the photo). Asked about the appeal of Hakozaki, Mr. Nishiyama points to the low rent, which he says allows the café’s prices to remain competitive. You certainly won’t find much more competitive pricing than their chef’s choice menu, which includes a set food course and all-you-can-drink of all but the premium liquors for only ¥1500 (minimum of 6 people). The à la carte menu is also excellent value, for example the vegetable-rich Hot Plate Taco Rice (¥700). The ¥200 discount on soft drinks (normally ¥300) given to designated drivers is also commendable. With world music adding to the relaxed atmosphere, it all adds up to a great place to chill out.
Address: 1-27-11 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 080-3227-5676 Open: 18:30 ~ 3:00, Fri. & Sat. 21:00 ~ 5:00 Closed: Sun.
Hakozaki Shoten Hidamari Pudding
Although this store only opened in July 2010, it’s completely homemade custard puddings have quickly gained such popularity that they often sell out. They sell 15 different varieties of pudding per day, out of a total of 20, which are grouped into three different types: “rich”, “milky”, and “smooth”. Alongside comparatively orthodox fare like their Green tea pudding (¥230) they also sell more unusual varieties such as their White miso pudding (¥230) and puddings made with locally produced vegetables. The Hidamari (“sunny”) pudding (¥210) from which the store takes its name has a thick, syrupy texture and a delicious natural sweetness. The store is run by an NPO that provides welfare support for the disabled, and you can see the puddings being made from the entrance to the store.
Address: 3-10-2 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-643-6420 Open: 10:00 ~ 19:00 Closed: Wed.
Asianlatino Cafe & Book
Having already started an internet T-shirt store in Tokyo, the owner Mr. Urasawa chose Hakozaki for his first brick-and-mortar venture. He originally shifted his base to Fukuoka after a friend showed him the old private houses in Ukiha. After living there for a year and a half he moved into Fukuoka city, and set about realizing his long-held desire to open his first brick-and-mortar store. He says he chose Hakozaki not only for its cheap rent and good transport links, but also “because I love the maze of alleyways in the downtown area and the way that the town is built around the shrine.” Mr. Urasawa is also a committed backpacker, and travels abroad to buy items for his store around once every two months. He mainly visits Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Mexico, Cuba, Brazil and Jamaica, but also stocks T-shirts and other items from Asian countries such as Thailand. The T-shirts he sells include many rare items, in particular designs featuring Che Guevara and Bob Marley. He also sells secondhand travel books, and the store has a café area too.
Address: 1-36-35 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka Tel: 092-671-8693 Open: 14:00 ~ 20:00 Closed: Tue.