Fukuoka is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan. It is the most populous city on the island, 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(福岡都市圏?), 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 sixth largest city, having passed the population of Kyoto. Since the founding of Kyoto in 794, this marks the first time that a city west of the Kinki region has a larger population than Kyoto. In ancient times, however, the area near Fukuoka, the Chikushi region, was thought by some historians to have possibly been even more influential than the Yamato region.
|POPULATION :||• Designated city 1,483,052|
• Metro 5,590,378
|TIME ZONE :||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|RELIGION :||observe both Shinto and Buddhist 84%, other 16% (including Christian 0.7%)|
|AREA :||340.03 km2 (131.29 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||33°35′N 130°24′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.60%|
• Female: 51.40%
|ETHNIC :||Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%|
|AREA CODE :||92|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+81 92|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Fukuoka is a modern city, divided historically by the central river into two separate cities, Hakata (博多) and Fukuoka (福岡). The main railway station and port are still known as Hakata Station and Hakata Port. There are city centers in both Hakata and Tenjin.
Fukuoka hosts more than 2 million foreign visitors annually, with the majority coming from neighboring South Korea and China. From the early 2010s Hakata became the beneficiary of significant growth in cruise ship tourism; particularly with visitors from China. After expansion and redevelopment of the Hakata Port international passenger ship terminal, the number of cruise ship port calls in 2016 is expected to exceed 400.
Nearly ten thousand international students attend universities in or near the Fukuoka prefecture each year. Nearly 200 international conferences are held each year in Fukuoka.
There is a Tourist Information Center in Tenjin with English speakers available under the Nishitetsu Fukuoka station. For information in English, visit the Rainbow Plaza, located on the 8th floor of the Inter Media Station (IMS) building. The IMS is accessible by subway and is just a three minute walk from the Tenjin station. In the middle of Hakata JR train station there is a Tourist Information Center (sometimes with English speakers) with brochures in English, Japanese and other languages. They can help with transport information and bookings. On the third floor of the ACROS building, near Nakasu, you can find more information in English.
The surrounding cities and towns make up the prefecture of Fukuoka.
Fukuoka is a good starting point for first-time visitors to Japan. Being a sizable, modern city it's still not hard to get around. A subway connects most of the city's main attractions, providing transportation between Hakata, Tenjin, Fukuoka International Airport, Meinohama, and Nishijin (where you can find Fukuoka Tower and the baseball ground of the Softbank Hawks: Fukuoka Yahoo Dome). The main station in Hakata marks the terminus of the Sanyo Shinkansen bullet train. The Kyushu Shinkansen line also terminates here, and links the Sanyo Shinkansen directly with Kagoshima, at the southern tip of Kyushu.
Fukuoka was sometimes called the Port of Dazaifu (大宰府, 15 km (9 mi) southeast from Fukuoka). Dazaifu was an administrative capital in 663 A.D., but a historian proposed that a prehistoric capital was in the area. Ancient texts, such as the Kojiki, Kanyen (found in Dazaifu) and archaeology confirm this was a very critical place in the founding of Japan. Some scholars claim that it was the first place outsiders and the Imperial Family set foot, but like many early Japan origin theories, it remains contested. Fukuoka is sometimes still referred to as Hakata, the central ward of the city.
In 923, the Hakozaki-gū in Fukuoka was transferred from Daibu-gū in Daibu (大分, 16 km (10 mi) northeast from Dazaifu) the origin of Usa Shrine and established as a branch of the Usa Shrine at Fukuoka. In Ooho (大保, 15 km (9 mi) south from Dazaifu), there are remains of a big ward office with a temple, because in ancient East Asia, an emperor must have three great ministries (大宰, 大傳 and 大保). In fact, there is a record in Chinese literature that a king of Japan sent a letter in 478 to ask the Chinese emperor's approval for employing three ministries. In addition, remains of the Korokan (鴻臚館, Government Guest House) were found in Fukuoka underneath a part of the ruins of Fukuoka Castle.
Mongol invasions (1274–1281)
Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire turned his attention towards Japan starting in 1268, exerting a new external pressure on Japan with which it had no experience. Kublai Khan first sent an envoy to Japan to make the Shogunate acknowledge Khan's suzerainty. The Kamakura shogunate refused. Mongolia repeatedly sent envoys thereafter, each time urging the Shogunate to accept their proposal, but to no avail.
In 1274, Kublai Khan mounted an invasion of the northern part of Kyushu with a fleet of 900 ships and 33,000 troops, including troops from Goryeo on theKorean Peninsula. This initial invasion was compromised by a combination of incompetence and severe storms. After the invasion attempt of 1274, Japanese samurai built a stone barrier 20 km (12 mi) in length bordering the coast of Hakata Bay in what is now the city of Fukuoka. The wall, 2–3 metres in height and having a base width of 3 metres, was constructed between 1276 and 1277, and was excavated in the 1930s.
Kublai sent another envoy to Japan in 1279. At that time, Hōjō Tokimune of the Hōjō clan (1251–1284) was the Eighth Regent. Not only did he decline the offer, but he beheaded the five Mongolian emissaries after summoning them to Kamakura. Infuriated, Kublai organized another attack on Fukuoka Prefecture in 1281, mobilizing 140,000 soldiers and 4,000 ships. The Japanese defenders, numbering around 40,000, were no match for the Mongols and the invasion force made it as far as Dazaifu, 15 km (9 mi) south of the city of Fukuoka. However, the Japanese were again aided by severe weather, this time by a typhoon that struck a crushing blow to the Mongolian troops, thwarting the invasion.
It was this typhoon that came to be called the Kamikaze (Divine Wind), and was the origin of the term Kamikaze used to indicate suicide attacks by military aviators of the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels during World War II.
Formation of the modern city (1889)
Fukuoka was formerly the residence of the powerful daimyo of Chikuzen Province, and played an important part in the medieval history of Japan. The renowned temple of Tokugawa Ieyasuin the district was destroyed by fire during the Boshin War of 1868.
The modern city was formed on April 1, 1889, with the merger of the former cities of Hakata and Fukuoka. Historically, Hakata was the port and merchant district, and was more associated with the area's culture and remains the main commercial area today. On the other hand, the Fukuoka area was home to many samurai, and its name has been used since Kuroda Nagamasa, the first daimyo of Chikuzen Province, named it after his birthplace in Okayama Prefecture and the "old Fukuoka" is the main shopping area, now called Tenjin.
When Hakata and Fukuoka decided to merge, a meeting was held to decide the name for the new city. Hakata was initially chosen, but a group of samurai crashed the meeting and forced those present to choose Fukuoka as the name for the merged city. However, Hakata is still used to refer to the Hakata area of the city and, most famously, to refer to the city's train station, Hakata Station, and dialect,Hakata-ben.
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.
Climate data for Fukuoka
|Average high °C (°F)||9.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.4|
|Average low °C (°F)||3.2|
Fukuoka is bordered on three sides by mountains and opens, on the north, to the Sea of Genkai.
It is located 1,100 km (684 mi) from Tokyo.
Fukuoka is the economic center of the Kyushu region, with an economy largely focused on the service sector. Large companies headquartered in the city include Iwataya and Kyushu Electric Power. Fukuoka is also the home of many small firms playing a supportive role in the logistics, IT and high-tech manufacturing sectors. Most of the region's heavy manufacturing takes place in the nearby city of Kitakyushu. The GDP in Greager Fukuoka, FukuokaMetropolitan Employment Area, is US$ 101.6 billion in 2010.
Several regional broadcasters are based in the city, including Fukuoka Broadcasting Corporation, Kyushu Asahi Broadcasting, Love FM, RKB Mainichi Broadcasting and Television Nishinippon Corporation.
The port of Hakata and Fukuoka Airport also make the city a key regional transportation hub. Fukuoka houses the headquarters of Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) and Nishi-Nippon Railroad. Air Next, a subsidiary of All Nippon Airways, is headquartered in Hakata-ku; prior to its dissolution,Harlequin Air was also headquartered in Hakata-ku.
Fukuoka has its own stock exchange, founded in 1949. It is one of 6 in Japan.
Fukuoka has 7 wards (ku):
|Ward||Population||Land area||Pop. density|
|as of August 1, 2010||km²||per km²|
|Higashi-ku||291 749||66.68||4 375.36|
|Hakata-ku||212 108||31.47||6 740.01|
|Minami-ku||248 901||30.98||8 034.25|
|Jōnan-ku||128 883||16.02||8 045.13|
|Sawara-ku||211 889||95.88||2 209.42|
|Nishi-ku||190 288||83.81||2 270.47|
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