Taihaku-dori Ave. runs for about 2 km from Hakata Station to Hakata Port. With four lanes on either side of the median, it is one of the widest streets in Fukuoka City. Taihaku-dori, literally “big Hakata street,” was built in 1969 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Fukuoka’s incorporation as a city. The current street is an expanded version of Ichijoji, a road that marked the starting point of the redistricting of Hakata ordered by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1587.
Now, there are 20 monuments along Taihaku-dori as part of the Taihaku-dori Historical Walking Tour. Starting from Hakata station, you can take a stroll through history from the ancient Yayoi period up through the modern era. One monument is shaped like the Gold Seal, the famous National Treasure, while another is an actual stone anchor retrieved from Hakata Bay after the Mongol invasions of the late 13th century. Still other monuments use old photos and maps to give you a feel of how Hakata has changed over the years.
Taihaku-dori is also home to several of Hakata’s prime tourist attractions. For example, a stone monument marking the origin of railway travel in Kyushu stands on the site of the old Hakata Station. You will also find Jotenji Temple, which has deep ties to the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, and Tochoji Temple, home to the family graveyard of the Kuroda Clan. Finally, the avenue ends at the waterfront, which is home to several international conference and exhibition facilities like the Fukuoka Convention Center and Marine Messe Fukuoka.
The Waterfront is currently in the process of redevelopment, and one idea being floated is a ropeway connecting the area to Hakata Station. The ropeway, which would be built in the median of Taihaku-dori, would not only improve access to the Waterfront, it would afford brand new vistas of Hakata from the elevated cars. The plan is still in its infancy, but if realized, it would be Japan’s first-ever urban ropeway.
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn207, Mar. 2016)