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This unique museum is anything but dull and stuffy; it is a testimony to the most brilliant contemporary artists in Asia, who deserve as much attention as Euro-American greats. Featuring a wide variety of works from photography to painting to sculpture, the museum also has interactive and media-related exhibits. Many of the pieces on display reflect the social realities of poorer Asian countries with tremendous impact. During certain times, you can even watch artists at work in the open studio. The museum shop contains mainly Asian artifacts, with some reproductions of work on display also available. Admission is JPY200 for adults, JPY150 for high school students, and JPY100 for children.
Founded in 806, the Tochoji Temple complex is overlooked by a glorious pagoda with red roofs and gilded elements. This Shingong shrine is not only steeped in spiritual history, but also shelters a number of artistic artifacts such as the Senjukannon statue, painstakingly carved out of a lone log of Chinese black pine. Inside the main hall resides the gargantuan statue of Daibutsu (Buddha), which looks upon its worshipers with unhindered benevolence. Believed to be one of the oldest temples built by the scholar-priest Kobo Daishi, the temple shelters other noteworthy relics including tombstones of the lords of the Kuroda clan, examples of calligraphy by the artist-priest Sendai, a thousand-handed statue of the Goddess of Mercy – which is designated an important cultural asset - and calligraphy penned by Kobo Daishi himself.
Five minutes' walk from Hakata Station, Shofukuji Temple offers a retreat from the world. Although still a working temple, the secluded walks and shaded gardens give one the impression of having traveled back in time. This Rinzai-sect temple was founded in the 12th century by the priest Eisai-Myoan, and is the oldest Zen temple in Japan. Its buildings house a number of important artifacts including personal effects of the priest and noted sumi-e artist Sengai, an ancient korai bell from Korea, and a votive tablet presented to the temple by the Emperor Gotoba in the Kamakura Period.
The museum sits in a quiet corner of Ohori Park. The first floor is devoted to pre-modern Japanese and Asian works--including sculpture, painting, tea ceremony objects, and calligraphy--and also houses lecture and reading rooms. The second floor deals mainly with modern art and has galleries devoted to 20th century artistic trends, local artists, and modern Japanese-style paintings. Important works in the modern collection include those by Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, and local artists Shigeru Aoki and Hanjiro Sakamoto.
The Fukuoka Yahuoku! Dome resembles something from a futuristic movie set, having been the first retractable-roof stadium in Japan. Now it is home to the Daiei Hawks professional baseball team. Hot dogs and beer are de rigueur inside, but outside, an extensive complex of fast-food and other restaurants have been built. Wise Fukuokans tend to avoid driving through the area on game days. The Dome is particularly impressive at the end of the day when the setting sun reflecting off the roof's metallic surface adds a touch of magic to the Momochi district.
This is one of the three great Japanese shrines dedicated to the Emperor-divinity Hachiman, and a place where Japanese have come to pray for success ever since the shrine's dedication in 921. A number of important cultural treasures are housed within the shrine's precincts. Keep a special eye out for the plaque hanging above the Tower Gate--it is supposed to have been written by the emperor Kameyama at the time of the Mongol invasions. Its inscription--"May the enemy nations prostrate themselves [in defeat]"--was a petition to Hachiman for protection from the invaders.
Located in the beautiful Momochi District, this architecturally exquisite museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts, both ancient and new, from Japan and Asia. There are also a number of educational facilities, including an information service center, an Asian experience room, and a reading room. Admission is only JPY200 for adults, JPY150 for students, and JPY100 for children. Group rates available for parties over 20.
Standing at 234 meters, Fukuoka Tower is the largest seaside tower in Japan. Although admission for adults is hefty at JPY800 (JPY500 for students, JPY200 for children), the panoramic view of the ocean, mountains, and city might be well worth it. There is also a cafe at 120 meters, and several shops are located on the first floor. The architecture, incorporating 8,000 mirrors, is quite beautiful, especially at night.
Nokonoshima is a quiet and beautiful island that rises up from Hakata Bay, inhabited mainly by fisherman. Most of the population lives along the seaside or port area, where there are a number of quaint but delicious shops specializing in seafood. Most of the island is basically undisturbed nature. Cyclists will find the roads scenic but challenging. The island's park has rolling gardens with seasonal flowers and uninhibited views of the city and bay below. The expanses of color can be quite breathtaking. Restaurants and shops selling traditional wares abound. Admission to the park is JPY1,000 for adults and JPY500 for children. Access is by bus, bike, or a long, long walk.