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Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Scattered throughout the streets of Fukuoka are over 200 pieces of public art, crafted by artists both local and international, such as Henry Moore and Keith Haring.

One iconic piece many may recognize is Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” which made a sudden appearance in October 1994 in front of a bank in the Tenjin area of Fukuoka’s Chuo Ward. This was Kusama’s first foray into outdoor sculpture, and it served as a launching pad for her colorful three-dimensional works that have since been displayed worldwide. This inaugural outdoor piece has now been added to the Fukuoka Art Museum’s collection and is installed on the outdoor plaza of the museum’s second floor.

Kusama Yayoi Pumpkin, 草間彌生「南瓜」1994年

Photo provided by Museum City Project Office

• Artist: Kusama Yayoi
• Created: 1994
• Photographed: When displayed in front of the Fukuoka Bank headquarters in October 1994.

But these artworks were not haphazardly placed around the city. They are the fruits of collaborative efforts, reflecting both the leadership of those who love the city and the open-minded character of Fukuoka’s citizens. Various styles and approaches have been utilized to integrate these artworks seamlessly into the urban landscape.

The concept of “Sculpture in the City” was initiated in 1983 by local government to create an urban space that would be shared and cherished by all citizens. By 1990, the private sector-led art project “Museum City Tenjin” had emerged, a pioneering example among the urban art projects currently seen throughout Japan. Since then, this collaboration between the public and private sectors has led to various citizen participation programs, workshops, and artist-in-residence programs, all of which continue to this day.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Daimyo’s Large Komainu
• Artist: Nakamura Hiromine
• Created: 2023
• Location: Daimyo Garden City

This is a piece of “communication art” that children can climb on and touch to play. It’s set up in Daimyo Garden City and incorporates the Komainu, a unique Japanese guardian figure, as well as the lion (or “shishi”), which is also the emblem of The Ritz-Carlton. These two figures serve as a pair of guardian deities for the location.

Additionally, the “Fukuoka Citizen’s Arts Festival” has been offering a platform for citizens to showcase their cultural and artistic activities since its inception in 1964, timed with the opening of the Fukuoka Civic Hall. Now in its 60th year, the festival hosts over 100 diverse events from mid-September to December, providing opportunities for people to engage with culture and art.

Fukuoka Citizen’s Arts Festival
• 9/16 (Sat.) ~ 12/31 (Sun.)
• Held at various locations in Fukuoka City
• Fukuoka Now Event page:

60th Fukuoka Citizen’s Arts Festival, 第60回 福岡市民芸術祭

In addition to the bustling areas of Tenjin and Hakata, the Seaside Momochi district, designed in the 1980s as a spacious town, is home to 17 unique pieces of public art. With well-maintained roads, it’s easy for visitors to explore the area by bicycle or on foot, enjoying the architecture and art along the way.

Artist: Shin Myeongeon
Year: 1996
Location: Fukuoka City Museum North Exit bus stop

This piece, which looks like a giant piece of balloon art, evokes a sense of wonder from the contrast with the surrounding buildings.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Nostalgia of Circulation
Artist: Jae Eun Choi
Year: 1996
Location: Fukuoka City Museum North Exit bus stop

An object composed of four azure discs that seems to take on different shapes depending on your vantage point.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Grand Oiseu Amoureux
Artist: Niki De Saint Phalle
Year: 1993
Location: Jigyo Chuo Park

This colorful work by a French artist combines two symbols, the falcon-like Egyptian deity Horus and Cupid, the Greek god of love.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Tree Spirit
Artist: Dhruva Mistry
Year: 1993
Location: Jigyo Chuo Park

This bronze work evokes a traditional beauty peculiar to Indian sculpture with thick yet gentle curves.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Artist: Etsuro Sotoo
Year: 1993
Location: Jigyo Chuo Park

A sculpture by Etsuro Sotoo, a Fukuoka-born sculptor who is also the official sculptor of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Artist: Kyubei Kiyomizu
Year: 1996
Location: In front of the RKB Hosokaikan

This piece, which looks like a torii gate, represents radio and ocean waves supported by overlapping human forms.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Artist: Kiyoyuki Kikutake
Year: 1989
Location: Momochi Central Park

This work by Kurume-born Kiyoyuki Kikutake was created for the Yokatopia Expo that coincided with the opening of Seaside Momochi.

Artful Living: The Public Art Landscape of Fukuoka

Of course, the city also offers museums where art can be enjoyed indoors. Whether it’s appreciating the local culture of Hakata or experiencing digital content utilizing the latest technology, there are diverse experiences available for enjoyment.

Fukuoka Art Museum
1-6 Ohori Park, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

Fukuoka City Museum
3-1-1 Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka

Fukuoka Asian Art Museum
7F & 8F Riverain Center Bldg., 3-1 Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
6-10 Reisen-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka

teamLab Forest Fukuoka
BOSS E・ZO FUKUOKA 5F, 2-2-6 Jigyohama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka

Art & Culture
Fukuoka City
Published: Oct 27, 2023 / Last Updated: Oct 27, 2023

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