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Getting There

By Plane -- Direct flights connect Fukuoka Airport (FUK; tel. 092/621-6059; www.fuk-ab.co.jp) to a variety of international cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Bangkok, as well as numerous domestic cities. Flying time from Tokyo's Haneda Airport is 1 1/2 hours; the regular, one-way fare costs ¥36,800 on Japan Airlines. However, because of fierce competition on the Fukuoka-Haneda route, bargains do exist. Skymark (tel. 03/3433-7670 in Tokyo, or 092/736-3131 in Fukuoka; www.skymark.co.jp), a small airline serving Fukuoka, offers 10 flights daily from Haneda to Fukuoka for as low as ¥16,800 one-way. Even JAL offers advance-purchase fares as low as ¥16,800 depending on the time of day and season. To get into town, there's a subway station located directly under the domestic terminal of Fukuoka Airport (if you've arrived at the international terminal, take the free shuttle bus to the domestic terminal). The trip to Hakata Station takes only 5 minutes and to Tenjin, 11 minutes; the fare is ¥250, or you can purchase a 1-day subway pass for ¥600 if you plan to sightsee the same day. Alternatively, there's Nishitetsu bus service directly from the domestic terminal every 20 to 30 minutes to Hakata Station's bus terminal; the cost is ¥250.

By Train -- Fukuoka's Hakata Station is the last stop on the Nozomi Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo, with the trip taking approximately 5 hours and costing ¥21,210 for an unreserved seat. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, which doesn't cover Nozomi trains, you'll have to take the Hikari Shinkansen and change trains in Osaka or Okayama; the trip takes almost 6 hours, not including transfers. Hiroshima is 1 hour and 10 minutes away; Kyoto is 2 hours and 45 minutes away.

By Bus -- A Nishitetsu "Hakata" bus (tel. 0120/489-939; www.nishitetsu.co.jp/bus/highway/gb) departs from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station nightly at 9pm, arriving at Hakata Station at 11:10am the next morning. The fare is ¥15,000 one-way.

Visitor Information

You can pick up the leaflet "Fukuoka" at the Tourist Information Centers in Tokyo or Narita or Kansai airports or download it from JNTO's website at www.jnto.go.jp by looking under "Browse by Destinations."

Fukuoka Tourist Information Office (tel. 092/431-3003; daily 8am-7pm) is in Hakata Station near the East Gate. It has maps and sightseeing pamphlets. Ask for Rainbow, a free monthly with concert, exhibition, events, and festival information; and Fukuoka Now, good for restaurant and nightlife listings. Be sure to pick up the free Welcome Card and accompanying guide, which gives overseas visitors discounts for selected hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shops (the card must be presented at check-in to receive hotel discount). More information by phone is available at the Tourist Information Call Center for Foreign Travelers at tel. 092/751-6904. On the Internet, sightseeing information is available at www.yokanavi.com and www.city.fukuoka.jp. Other useful sites include www.fukuoka-now.com (good for restaurants, exhibitions, events, and nightlife) and www.fukuoka-tourism.net, with information on Fukuoka Prefecture, including Fukuoka City, Dazaifu, and Space World.

Internet Access -- You can check e-mail 24 hours a day at Media Café Popeye, located on the eighth floor of the Kotsu Center, next to Hakata Station (tel. 092/432-8788). It charges ¥390 for 1 hour.

Mail & ATM -- An international post office, with a counter for stamps and mail that is open 24 hours, as well as an ATM that accepts international credit cards, is located next to the Hakata (west) exit of Hakata Station.

Orientation -- Although Hakata Station is the terminus for the Shinkansen bullet train and trains departing for the rest of Kyushu, with most of Fukuoka's hotels clustered nearby, the heart and business center of Fukuoka is an area to the west called Tenjin. It's home to several department stores, its own train station and bus center, a large underground shopping arcade, and restaurants. Just a few minutes' walk from Tenjin is Nakasu, one of Japan's most famous nightlife districts, with more than 2,000 bars, restaurants, and small clubs clustered on what's actually an islet bounded by the Nakagawa River.

Across the river from Nakasu (and a 10-min. walk west of Hakata Station) is Canal City Hakata, an intriguingly designed (by award-winning American architect Jon Jerde) entertainment, hotel, and shopping complex with 125 shops and restaurants. Also nearby and within walking distance are Tochoji Temple, Hakata Machiya Folk Museum, Kushida Shrine, and the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

Getting Around

You can walk from Hakata Station to most of the attractions recommended below.

By Subway -- Fukuoka City Subway (tel. 092/471-8111; http://subway.city.fukuoka.lg.jp) is the easiest method of transportation because there are only three major lines. One line connects Hakata Station to Tenjin (the third stop), passing Nakasu-Kawabata on the way -- the stop for the Nakasu nightlife district. This same line will also take you to Fukuoka Airport. Stops are announced in English. Fares start at ¥200, but if you think you'll be riding a lot, a 1-day subway pass for ¥600 allows unlimited rides.

By Train -- Whereas Hakata Station serves as the terminus for the Shinkansen and Japan Railways trains departing for the rest of Kyushu, Tenjin has its own station, called Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station, located inside the Mitsukoshi department store building and useful for trips to Dazaifu.

By Bus -- The city's two bus terminals are located near Hakata Station at the Kotsu Center and in Tenjin near Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station and Mitsukoshi department store; both are clearly marked in English. Buses running inside the central Hakata-Tenjin District charge a flat fare of ¥100. Most useful for tourists is the so-called "¥100 Bus," which sports a big ¥100 coin on its side and travels a circular route going both directions from Haktaka Station to 18 stops in the downtown area, including Tenjin, Canal City, and the Hakata Riverain shopping/cultural complex.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.