KAI FACT magazine
The people of Fukuoka know how to balance tradition with an allowance for change.
FACT  No.12

The people of Fukuoka know how to balance tradition with an allowance for change.

The city is located in the western part of the Japanese archipelago and is considered the gateway to Asia. Recently, Fukuoka’s people have been eager to catch up with world trends and foster their tech industry. While they’re open to external influence, many hold to strong traditions and strive to preserve their own culture as well. Balancing both ideas is part of Fukuoka's charm.

“Hakata Port Tower”, which opened in 1964, is about 100 meters tall. It was designed by Tachu Naito, who also created the Tokyo Tower blueprints. As a symbol of Port of Hakata, it welcomes many tourists. Most of them arrive from the rest of Asia.

  • Residents are tightly packed within Fukuoka’s urban layout. This makes cycling an effective means for transportation, especially in areas where commercial and residential areas are mixed. In the Yakuin area, for example, you’ll find many cyclists zipping along.

  • In Fukuoka, many tourists enjoy exploring and shopping. Every day, you’ll find people relaxing at many cafés.

  • “Ohori Park”, one of the most famous parks in the country, surrounds a large pond. The pond path stretches about 2 kilometers, ideal for running and cycling. Many enjoy using the park for recreation.

Hirofumi Kiyonaga/In 1967, Kiyonaga was born in Oita Prefecture. A leading figure in the Tokyo fashion scene, he serves as the CEO of “SOPH.CO.,LTD”. This company features various clothing brands, including “SOPHNET.” and the soccer-centric “F.C.Real Bristol” line. In 2017, he started “KIYONAGA&CO.” in Fukuoka.

“I started “KIYONAGA&CO.” as my personal and experimental shop here in Fukuoka,” Kiyonaga said. “It is a different approach from my other brand “SOPH”, which was started in Tokyo. Products aren’t sold online, and you can only buy products in store. It’s a new experience to do everything on my own. I make new friends and enjoy joining the community here. I appreciate very much that I came to a new neighborhood.”

1-12-6, Akasaka, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

  • “Fukuoka Growth Next” is a public-private collaboration that operates as a startup support facility. It was established at the former site of Daimyo Elementary School. On the first floor, you’ll find the “STARTUP CAFE Fukuoka City”. There, you can receive consultation on how to start your own business.

  • Within the Daimyo area, which is crowded with young people, there are small restaurants and general stores on the street leading to the Yakuin district. You often see young mothers out and about with their children.

Food stalls are Fukuoka’s specialty. Although the overall number of stalls are decreasing, the street along the Nakagawa River in Nakasu is still as crowded as ever. Recently, many tourists have been coming for a bite to eat as well. This just proves that stall hopping is a fun activity for everyone.

Chie Nagaura/Nagaura was born in Fukuoka Prefecture. She works as a MIZUHIKI* designer and launched her own brand “TIER” in 2013. Nagaura has also published books, including “First MIZUHIKI Arrangement”.  *Decorative Japanese art made from paper cords.

“I make original gift money envelopes by using MIZUHIKI,” Nagaura said. “MIZUHIKI paper cords are custom made by craftsmen for the Imperial Household Agency. Envelopes are also hand-made with Japanese paper. Your inner state will be reflected in your creative work. Thankfully, I’m in a healthy state when I’m in Fukuoka.”


Koichi Futatsumata/Futatsumata was born in Kagoshima Prefecture. He started working as a designer in 1998. Currently, Futatsumata runs office at “CASE-REAL”, an interior/architectural design company. He’s also in charge of the “KOICHI FUTATSUMATA STUDIO”, a product design firm.

“We have been designing a wide range of interior spaces and products,” Futatsumata said. “Recently, we have designed a lot of buildings and houses. Our products are often released under unique, individual brands, and I feel that they are creations of art, not just mass production items. At the age of 30, I set up my office in Tokyo, but my idea came from my small room here at the Fukuoka office. I enjoy moving between cities since I can see things objectively.”

1-9-8, Imagawa, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

  • Throughout Fukuoka, coffee shops have grown exponentially and have become a big part of the city’s culture. Fashion-conscious youth meet at “manu coffee” in Tenjin, the center of town. Together, they form a community of the next generation.

  • New fashion trends always emerge in the Daimyo area. It's a pleasant district, because cars do not come in. Even residents who dislike long lines have flocked to the latest food offerings.

  • The Kego area, especially in the back street, is filled with popular shops. Any one of these attractive stops could be your next destination. For example, “COFFEE COUNTY” is a great place to visit.

  • Basic food stall regulations were enacted in 2013. With these rules in mind, several innovative stalls were created. This includes “Telas & mico”, which defies conventional stall design. These originals shops are part of a new wave in the world of food stalls!

  • An illustration, created by NONCHELEEE, depicts a scene in “manu coffee”. In addition, Yoichiro Uchida is showing off his typography art.

NONCHELEEE/NONCHELEEE was born in Kagoshima Prefecture. Along with music activities, he started working as an illustrator in 2014. NONCHELEEE offers art for many record jackets and restaurants in and around Fukuoka Prefecture.

“I would like my work to include an illustration for everyone,” NONCHELEEE said. “I want to spread interesting ingredients to the city for a little fun. The creators of Fukuoka are all laid back. I can live freer than compared to the average lifestyle in Tokyo. I think that is why I can put more effort into my own creations.”

3-12-31 2F, Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

Kunihiko Soejima/Soejima was born in Fukuoka Prefecture. After working as a furniture buyer, he launched “NEST design inc.” in 2002. He encourages design and team coordination. In addition, he runs his own business: a lounge called “BAR ugle”.

“We operate a shop that sells Northern European vintage furniture,” Soejima said. “Danish furniture, in particular, features a strong sense of craftsmanship and comfort. You can use them for a lifetime. For many years, people in Fukuoka have paid well for quality products. They have an eye for beauty, which is close to my way of thinking. I want Fukuoka to be the place where appreciative people can visit.”

2-13-27, NEST Bldg-1, Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City
092-725-5550/092-725-5959(BAR ugle)

You can enjoy an exceptional ocean view at the “Fukuoka Tower” observation deck. A beautiful wedding ceremony hall is visible. The coastline itself is very long, about 134 kilometers. Despite its length, it is well maintained.

Fukuoka | Article List

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