Just a short walk from JR Yoshizuka Station, the Yoshizuka Shopping Street was reopened as the Yoshizuka Little Asia Market at the end of 2020. With restaurants and food stores serving up the flavors of Asian countries like Thailand, Myanmar, China, Vietnam and Korea, the market exudes the feel of a foreign marketplace. There are also shops selling Japanese foods like tofu and kamaboko (fish sausage).
The origins of Yoshizuka Shopping Street date back to the slim times right after World War II when a handful of fishmongers and produce shops opened up in the area. Naturally, other merchants moved to the neighborhood, and at its peak, the street was home to more than 150 stores. The shopping street, which was built along an old narrow road, was always crowded with shoppers; however, as more big commercial complexes were built and older shop owners struggled to find successors, the street lost its luster, and the number of shops dropped to about 30 just a few years ago.
Meanwhile, as the number of foreign residents in Fukuoka continued to increase, more foreigners started moving into the Yoshizuka area and doing their shopping in the shopping street. This gave rise to the Little Asia Market concept, which was started with the aim of creating a neighborhood space where both foreigners and Japanese could feel at ease. To create a place where more devout foreign Buddhists could pray at any time, a golden Buddha statue from Myanmar was installed at Yoshizuka Kamido, a temple in the middle of the market.
Last but not least, do you know where the name Yoshizuka comes from? The name comes from two military commanders who were brothers loyal to the Shimazu Clan of Satsuma (present day Kagoshima) and who died about 400 years ago after fighting bravely against the enemy forces of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Their names were Hoshino Yoshizane and Yoshikane. The mound (or tsuka in Japanese) enshrining these two men (present day Yoshizuka Jizodo) is located near the market, so the name Yoshizuka is said to have been derived from what the locals used to call the Yoshizane Mound.