Fukuoka City used to be divided into two districts along the Nakagawa (river); the eastern merchant district of Hakata and the western town, Fukuoka. Since so much of each district’s characteristics flowed over into the other, people are not sure of the boundary between them. One characteristic they shared, though, was that even the smallest of streets in these ancient castle towns had street names.
Since 1962, however, many of those names—especially small ones—have been erased one by one, as the new numbered address system was introduced. This year, the “We Love Tenjin” association, composed of companies and residents of Tenjin and Daimyo, initiated a project to erect street signs and re-introduce the lost street names. It is a three-month experiment known as the “Town Sightseeing Navi Project”. Residents of Fukuoka were actively involved in deciding the new names for the streets.
The old name, Daimyo, used when it was a castle town, has been adopted again. The names of doctors from the Kuroda Clan—Ganrin and Yoha—have also been used. In Tenjin, the street home to the Post Office, Fukuoka Branch of the Bank of Japan, and JA, is named Komekome-dori, after JA’s association with kome (rice). Tenjin 3-chome, where the Fukuoka Now office is situated, is named “Oyafuko-dori”, a name already familiar to locals. The three streets northward, parallel to Showa-dori, are called Tenjin Kono-tori, Tenjin Sono-tori and Tenjin Ano-tori, (this, it and that streets!) respectively. The office of Fukuoka Now is situated on Tenjin Sono-tori.
These are only temporary signs as the project runs until January next year. However, depending on the public’s response, they may be recognized officially.