Fukuoka is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan. Ranked 12th of the world’s most livable cities in the magazine Monocle in 2013, Fukuoka was praised for its green spaces in a metropolitan setting. It is the most populous city in Kyushu, followed by Kitakyushu. It is the largest city and metropolitan area west of Keihanshin. The city was designated on April 1, 1972, by government ordinance. Greater Fukuoka, with 2.5 million people (2005 census), is part of the heavily industrialized Fukuoka–Kitakyushu zone as well as Northern Kyushu. As of July 2011, Fukuoka is Japan’s 6th largest city, having passed the population of Kyoto. This marks the first time that a city west of the Kinki region has a larger population than Kyoto since the founding of Kyoto in 794. In ancient times, however, the area near Fukuoka, the Chikushi region, was thought to be perhaps even more influential than the Yamato region.
Fukuoka has a humid subtropical climate and it has hot humid summers and relatively mild winters. The city also sees on average about 1,600 mm (63 in) of precipitation per year, with a stretch of more intense precipitation between the months of June and September. Along with much of the prefecture, Fukuoka City has a moderate climate with an annual average temperature of 16.3 °C (61 °F), average humidity of 70% and 1,811 annual daylight hours. Roughly 40% of the year is cloudy.
Winter temperatures rarely drop below 0 °C (32 °F) and it rarely snows, though light rain does fall on most days if not as consistently as on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu. Spring is warm and sunnier, with cherry blossoms appearing in late March or early April. The rainy season (tsuyu) lasts for approximately six weeks through June and July, during which time the humidity is very high and temperatures hover between 25 °C (77 °F) and 30 °C (86 °F). Summers are humid and hot, with temperatures peaking around 37 °C (99 °F). Autumn, often considered to be Fukuoka’s best season, is mild and dry, though the typhoon season runs between August and September.
Sky Dream Fukuoka, located in Fukuoka City’s western ward, was one of the world’s largest ferris wheels at a height of 120 meters. It was closed on September 2009. Fukuoka Castle located adjacent to Ohori Park features the remaining stone walls and ramparts left after a devastating fire during the upheaval of the Meiji Restoration. It has now been preserved along with some reconstructed prefabricate concrete towers constructed during the 1950s and 1960s, when there was a trend across Japan to rebuild damaged castles as tourist attractions. Ōhori Park is also the location of one of Fukuoka City’s major art galleries. There is a newly opened Kyushu National Museum in nearby Dazaifu.
The Marine Park Uminonakamichi is located on a narrow cape on the northern side of the Bay of Hakata. The park has an amusement park, petting zoo, gardens, beaches, a hotel, and a large marine aquarium. For tourists from other parts of Japan, local foods such as mentaiko, Hakata ramen and motsunabe are associated with Fukuoka. Yatai (street stalls) serving ramen can be found in Tenjin and Nakasu most evenings. Fukuoka Tower is near the beach in Momochi.