On Apr. 5 (Tue.), Kyushu Tourist Information Center Fukuoka (QTIC) opened its doors in central Tenjin. The conveniently located new tourist center (just across from the Parco Main Building on Meiji-dori) has friendly English, Chinese and Korean-speaking staff on hand to offer information and help book reservations, tours and tickets for various activities in Kyushu. They can even help you find a place to sleep!
There are also many foreign language resources for travellers, including a veritable library of leaflets and travel books (some of which are very elegant volumes), as well as a PC and free Wi-Fi, all of which can be enjoyed in the well-furnished, stylish lounge. The comfortable chairs are from Okawa, Fukuoka Prefecture, a region famous for high-quality wooden furniture. The lounge is also home to Kiyomori, the samurai robot with which guests can take photos in front of a backdrop showing an image of a reconstructed Fukuoka Castle.
If you’re in need of some more practical assistance, QTIC has an ATM for exchanging currencies (USD, GBP, SGD, EUR, KRW, TWD, HKD, AUD, CNY, CAD, THB, CHF), and you can book a car rental, buy a SIM card or even have baggage delivered within Japan or overseas with Sagawa Express; their easy-to-use chart allows you to choose the correct category according to your luggage’s size, weight and destination, and for most destinations within Japan (including Tokyo) you can have it delivered on the same day. You can also have them store your luggage or send it to your hotel or the airport – great for those who want to make the most of their limited time in Japan, without having to worry about carrying around lots of baggage.
Want a taste of Kyushu? There’s a huge range of local drinks available to buy, including a sparkling pink drink made with Amaou strawberries – Kyushu’s famously delicious strawberries. If you’re in the mood for something a little more filling, there’s a whole selection of snacks, including Gobochi – fried burdock chips (choose from plain, black pepper or spicy).
You can also buy a variety of souvenirs, such as beautiful gourd lamps and products made from Fukuoka’s celebrated Hakata-ori – including Hello Kitty pouches made using Hakata-ori.
Perhaps you found something you particularly enjoyed in Kyushu and want to share your newfound knowledge. Or maybe you’re looking for recommendations? The Kyushu Tourist Board is where you can post your top tips and read recommendations by other travellers.
Spin the chusenki (raffle machine) and you could win a Kyushu-related prize – from a Kyushu guide book to special snacks from across the island! Everyone who visits QTIC has the chance to win a prize from this lucky draw.
To celebrate the opening of this stylish new information center, QTIC hosted a free sushi-making demonstration and tasting session. Around 20 foreigners from across the globe attended the demo, including British, Swiss, Polish, Mongolian, Indonesian, American, Vietnamese and Malaysian guests. They not only enjoyed sushi made on the spot, but took part in the lucky draw and chatted with the friendly staff who were brimming with advice. Over half of the guests then went on to enjoy a free ride on the Fukuoka Open Top Bus!
QTIC will host similar events in future, so make sure to check out their website or visit them in person at 1F Tenjin Bldg., 2-12-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka. Opening hours: 11:00~19:00 (closed Dec. 31 to Jan. 3). Phone enquiries: 092-731-7711.
And as if you needed another reason to visit QTIC, there you can pick up the latest editions of Fukuoka Now (released on the 28th of every month) and our Now Map – the best free map to the city in three languages (English, Chinese and Korean)!