Japan
May 2024
1 week

Fukuoka

An unremarkable start to Japan.

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Japan's sixth-largest city, Fukuoka, is located on Kyushu's northern shore.

Historically significant as a former castle town, it offers ancient temples, modern shopping districts and immediate access to the coastline.

Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Worth popping by for a couple of nights if already in Japan. Access to the nearby coastline and WeWork presence makes it an appealing destination for work.

🌎
Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Worth popping by for a couple of nights if already in Japan. Access to the nearby coastline and WeWork presence makes it an appealing destination for work.

Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Worth popping by for a couple of nights if already in Japan. Access to the nearby coastline and WeWork presence makes it an appealing destination for work.

👎
Verdict:
Worth it if in the area

Worth popping by for a couple of nights if already in Japan. Access to the nearby coastline and WeWork presence makes it an appealing destination for work.

🛫
Japanese Yen (JPY)
1.5 million
💰 Great value

Summary

Having spent a week in Busan on the other side of the Korean Strait, Fukuoka provided a convenient, if unconventional, starting point for my Japanese itinerary.

I had relatively low expectations from a city I had previously never heard of, but an abundance of cheap hotels and WeWork availability made it a viable starting point.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Based on my wider experiences in Japan, it's best to search for a hotel in major cities rather than relying on the limited stock on Airbnb, especially for short stays.

I could happily recommend the Hotel Oriental Express Fukuoka Nakasu Kawabata. Despite the lack of natural light in the room, it was a comfortable base for the week.

The price was very reasonable at around £45 a night, which includes access to the gym on the top floor. The ground floor lobby was also a perfectly adequate place to work late into the evening with complimentary coffee until 22:00. When searching for hotels in Japan, I would suggest having a browse on Agoda, where some of the best value deals can be found.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

The city has two WeWork locations at the Gates shopping centre and also at Damiyo. Alongside these, there are various local coworking operators and numerous coffee shops open late into the evening.

If you're only in town for a couple of nights, consider a more business-oriented hotel (of which there are plenty) that provides spaces to work. Alongside these there are a range of local coworking operators and there's plentiful coffee shops open later into the evening.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Prices were in Fukuoka were on a par with the rest of the country, with eating out particularly good value.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Japan observes Japan Standard Time (JST), which is 9 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). However, the time difference reduces to 8 hours during the summer months as Japan does not observe daylight saving time.This large gap in time zones has advantages and disadvantages, but planning a trip during the summer would reduce the likelihood of having to work past midnight to maintain alignment with European schedules.

It's worth taking a walk up to witness the 'Life-Size RX-93ff ν Gundam Statue' situated outside the Lalaport shopping centre. It is incredibly well made.
It's worth taking a walk up to witness the 'Life-Size RX-93ff ν Gundam Statue' situated outside the Lalaport shopping centre. It is incredibly well made.
The view just after sunset from the 7th Floor of the WeWork Gates coworking space.
The view just after sunset from the 7th Floor of the WeWork Gates coworking space.
Several waterways including the Naka river all flow through the city centre.
Several waterways including the Naka river all flow through the city centre.

Where to stay

The city is served by a decent metro service making it easy to get across the city but I would suggest staying within close proximity to one of these three.

Would avoid
Recommended
Nakasu
I stayed around this area and it was a great base for the week. Easy walking distance to both of the WeWork sites and a good range of food and drink options throughout the day and late into the evening.
Would avoid
Recommended
Daimyo
Another busy hub for retail and entertainment, plenty of entertainment options and close to the second WeWork site. If in need of shopping a good place to head to. Good place to base yourself.
Would avoid
Recommended
Hakata Station
The Shinkansen station is a hive of activity during the day time and not a bad place to stay if just quickly visiting the city. Would prefer to be in one of the other two options listed for easier access to entertainment options in the evening.

Where to work

WeWork - Gates Fukuoka
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Out of the two WeWork sites in the city, this is your best bet if you are working later evenings.

Based on the top floor of the Gates shopping centre, there is a large open plan area for All Access members. Softbank also have an office on site which makes for an interesting observation if you're familiar with their involvement in the company.

The shopping centre has easy access to the metro station, with numerous supermarkets and restaurants in easy reach. The only downside is a lack of any natural light, but assuming you'll only be passing through, it is not of major concern.

The office stays open until 20:00 which makes it a better option than the nearby Daimyo site, which finishes at 18:00.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Japan has introduced a new digital nomad visa under its specified visa category, allowing remote workers to stay in Japan for up to 6 months.

Requirements include having an annual income over 10 million yen (around $65,000 USD), private health insurance, and being from an eligible country like the US, UK, EU, Australia, Singapore or South Korea.

Visa holders are not considered residents, cannot extend their stay beyond 6 months, cannot open bank accounts or access national healthcare system in Japan.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Explore the Uminonakamichi Peninsula

Easily reachable by either a ferry boat or train, it's definitely worth an afternoon exploring this quiet stretch of land which wraps around the Hakata Bay. Uminokamichi Seaside Park is a large well landscaped public park bordering the sea and walking further west will take you towards Shika Island, home to several Shinto shrines and an observatory. Head towards Saitozaki or 志賀島 Ferry terminals.

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Explore the Uminonakamichi Peninsula

Easily reachable by either a ferry boat or train, it's definitely worth an afternoon exploring this quiet stretch of land which wraps around the Hakata Bay. Uminokamichi Seaside Park is a large well landscaped public park bordering the sea and walking further west will take you towards Shika Island, home to several Shinto shrines and an observatory. Head towards Saitozaki or 志賀島 Ferry terminals.

Duration & season

I can't imagine theres many better times of year to visit than May. Daytime temperatures were in the mid-20s, never scorching, with a cool breeze in the evenings. The city is not immune to the wet season in June, which you may want to avoid, especially if planning to enjoy the coastline.

A couple of nights would be sufficient for exploring the city centre while on holiday. However, if you're not in a rush and focusing on work, there's no reason it couldn't be an adequate base for a few weeks.

Food & drink

Maizuru Park
·
Walk
Easy walk from the city centre which takes you through the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.
Shikanoshima Island Loop
·
Run
If you get the ferry to Saitozaki terminal, it is about a near-perfect half marathon around the perimeter of the island. The route is flat with little traffic on the roads. I would recommend picking up some supplies from Otake.

People

Of all the places I visited in Japan, Fukuoka was comfortably the least populated with tourists. Despite being an unassuming city, there was still a fair number of people passing through, as it serves as a gateway to the southern parts of the country and also to Korea.

Exercise

Maizuru Park
Easy walk from the city centre which takes you through the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.
keyboard_arrow_down
Shikanoshima Island Loop
If you get the ferry to Saitozaki terminal, it is about a near-perfect half marathon around the perimeter of the island. The route is flat with little traffic on the roads. I would recommend picking up some supplies from Otake.
keyboard_arrow_down
Maizuru Park
Easy walk from the city centre which takes you through the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.
Shikanoshima Island Loop
If you get the ferry to Saitozaki terminal, it is about a near-perfect half marathon around the perimeter of the island. The route is flat with little traffic on the roads. I would recommend picking up some supplies from Otake.

Verdict

Positives
  • More of a manageable size than other large Japanese cities.Whilst it's still a big city, you stand more chance of covering more of it over the course of a week compared to Tokyo or Osaka.
  • Not a major tourist destination.If you're looking for somewhere less conventional to explore, it is certainly more off the beaten track.
  • Effective public transport.The combination of three metro lines, Shinkansen and local train lines mean it's easy to get in around and out of the city.
  • It has WeWorks.If you already have access, this makes for a hassle free working experience working from either of the two sites.
Negatives
  • By no means an exciting place.Compared to the larger Japanese cities, it certainly lacked some of the buzz and excitement which you would be hoping for from a trip to Japan.
Tips
  • Busan in South Korea is reachable by ferry boat.If you fancy an alternative to the flight, there is a ferry boat that will take you between the two cities. If I had a more relaxed time schedule, I would have opted for that.
  • Fukuoka felt like it had the highest density of 'hostess' bars.Even compared to Osaka and Tokyo, I was astounded to witness the number of women with price cards around their neck advertising the 'Kyabakura' bars. As a foreigner, they are unlikely to engage you on the street, but it is initially quite astonishing to witness this well-entrenched part of Japanese culture playing out on the street. Before you ask, I didn't explore any but they endure to be fascinating concepts for someone from the West.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
Like everywhere else in Japan currently, eating out is exceptionally good value; a portion of gyozas and a beer costs around £5 in a small restaurant.
Shikanoshima Island is within a 20 minute boat journey from the Hakata ferry terminal.
If there's any data missing that you would like to see in these articles please leave some feedback and I'll aim to add it in.