Most people move to a city for a job, to attend school, or perhaps to be with their partner. In that respect, most do not actually choose a city based on its merits. However, with more people working online and less needing to be in a particular place at a specific time, more people are choosing where to live based on other qualities. For cities to attract new residents or retain them, there’s increasing pressure to appeal to their citizens’ well-being. A bigger salary is welcome, but what if it comes with a one-hour commute in traffic or few green spaces to relax in?
In this report, we update you on the many efforts by Fukuoka City to support citizens’ well-being. As we become accustomed to such infrastructure and programs, they become invisible to us, and just a little reason amongst many others why I and others have made Fukuoka City or base – and by choice!
Publisher of Fukuoka Now
Located close to both the sea and the mountains, Fukuoka City has a compact, relatively flat urban center, so it is easy to get around on foot or by bicycle.
Tenjin, Kyushu’s largest commercial center, is only about a 5-minute subway ride (or 20-minute walk) to Hakata Station, which connects Fukuoka by rail to the main island of Honshu as well as to the rest of Kyushu. What’s more, Hakata Station is only a 5-minute subway ride to Fukuoka Airport, which has direct flights to many other cities throughout Japan and other parts of Asia. This accessibility is the driving force behind the many companies that base themselves in Fukuoka but service the Tokyo market or that are expanding to major cities in Southeast Asia.
Since many people use bicycles to commute to work and school, the City has added bicycle lanes in the downtown districts and on the roads leading to those districts, and commercial facilities above a certain size are required to have bicycle parking spaces. Shared bicycles services have also taken root, and an increasing number of people are using them for sightseeing or to get around the Tenjin and Hakata Station areas as well as areas like Momochi and Ropponmatsu.
ChariChari: Shared bicycle service
ChariChari is a shared bicycle service whose signature red bicycles can be unlocked by a smartphone app. It has approximately 2,500 bicycles and over 540 bicycle parking points within the city limits of Fukuoka.
When it comes to recreation as well, it is easy to get from Fukuoka to nearby destinations. One of the city’s major attractions is the fact that several nature spots are just a hop, skip and a jump away. In the east is Shikanoshima, an island that is home to historic sites like Shikaumi Shrine. It is surrounded by beautiful blue ocean and connected to the mainland by a causeway. In the west, Kitazaki on the Itoshima Peninsula, known for its emerald waters. What’s more, camping, a classic family leisure activity, is becoming increasingly popular as something you can do by yourself with the advent of solo camping.
There are several places close to the city where you can go camping whenever the desire hits you. Naturally, there are campsites where you can take your own tents and gear, but there are also glamping facilities where you can show up empty-handed and stay in bungalows or fixed geodesic dome tents.
One-third of Fukuoka City is covered by forest. In February 2022, the City launched the Fukuoka Green Next project, which focuses on the importance of forests in achieving a zero-carbon society. It is a long-term initiative centered on three keywords: Protect, Enjoy and Use. The first phase of Fukuoka Green Next is the renovation of Forest City Aburayama and the Aburayama Ranch that is now underway. Taking advantage of its proximity to the city center, the facility will be transformed to make it easier for city dwellers to visit, with work expected to be completed by the end of fiscal 2023.
Last but not least, there is ACROS Fukuoka, a famous landmark just east of City Hall that is sometimes called Mt. ACROS. One of the city’s first-ever green buildings, it houses offices, a symphony hall and an international conference hall. Since opening in 1995, the trees planted on the stepped terrace have grown steadily to where the building now seamlessly flows into Tenjin Chuo Park to the south. Here, many citizens can enjoy the changing seasons, with the park’s cherry trees that burst into bloom in the spring and the brilliant foliage of Mt. ACROS in the fall. The rooftop observation deck is only open on weekends and holidays, but the Step Garden, where you feel as if you’re hiking up a mountain, is open to everyone during the day, weather permitting.
• 1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
• Step Garden: Mar. ~ Oct. 9:00~18:00, Nov. ~ Feb. 9:00~17:00 *no admission in case of rain
• The rooftop observation deck: (only Sat., Sun., hol.) 10:00~16:00
Taking advantage of its favorable geography but not resting on its laurels, Fukuoka City has defined a basic strategy of creating a positive feedback loop between urban growth and improved living standards. Along with aggressive redevelopment efforts like the Tenjin Big Bang and Hakata Connected, City Hall has begun to take concrete initiatives to achieve the SDGs and promote the wellbeing of the people who call Fukuoka home.
Fukuoka 100 is a project that aims to realize a sustainable society in which everyone can live on their own terms in good physical and mental health. Companies, government agencies and universities are spearheading various activities as part of this project, including health promotion efforts and support for community-based mutual aid and coexistence in an increasingly diverse and graying society in the era of 100-year lifespans.
Fukuoka City Wellbeing and SDGs Registration System
This system supports those enterprises that are taking measures to achieve the SDGs and to improve job satisfaction and improve the wellbeing of their workers.
Work Interval System
By providing a guaranteed minimum amount of rest time (interval) between the end of a workday and the start of the next day’s work, employees can count on having sufficient time for daily life activities and sleeping to improve their well-being. City Hall has launched the initiative by internally implementing an 11-hour interoffice interval and plans to encourage the adoption of the practice by private companies in the city.
• Fukuoka City – Right Time, Right Place
• Fukuoka: City of Growth and Dynamic Vision
• Choosing to live in Fukuoka means choosing well-being (this page)
• Living for what you love
• What’s Fukuoka City Really Like?
Fukuoka City x Fukuoka Now