The description of Hakata should start with a review of Fukuoka, Kyushu's largest and one of Japan's ten most populated cities. Until the year of 1889 there were two cities, located next to each other, Fukuoka and Hakata. For the reason of its closeness to the Asian mainland (closer to Seoul than Tokyo), Fukuoka has always been an important harbor city for many centuries and was chosen by the Mongol invasion forces as their landing point in the 12th century.
In 1889, the port city of Hakata and the castle town of Fukuoka were joined together and called as Fukuoka. As one of the ten largest cities of Japan, Fukuoka offers its visitors much to see: the Shofukui Temple, Japan's first Zen temple; the Momochi Seaside Park, a futuristic district along the waterfront; Dazaifu, a historic town, thirty minutes outside of Fukuoka; and certainly, a large shopping and entertainment complex of Hakata.
Hakata still keeps the name of Fukuoka's central district and main railway station. Hakata also houses the Fukuoka Prefecture offices, Fukuoka Airport and the city's ferry terminal Hakata Harbor. The Canal City Hakata is also a large shopping and entertainment complex; it is a commercial business district and retail core of Fukuoka. Moreover, the Jerde Partnership's Canal City Hakata is the largest private development in the history of Japan-one point four billion dollars for two and a half million sq. ft.). The facts are intriguing and the Canal City is even more fascinating for its approach to the design at an urban scale and the relationship between the commerce and the city. Actually, the Canal City of Hakata is a huge food court, combining any consumer services, food sales, commercial offices, entertainment and shopping.
The Canal City Hakata impresses the visitors with three intricately designed and elaborated water works, named as Star Streamers, Banner Symphony and Sealife playground.
The Star Streamers consists of kinetic pulses of water, arranged within a seven-pointed star. A flush with the surrounding paving, these jets of water are composed to numerous patterns and routines, inviting participation from the visitors. The Banner Symphony contains kinetic water elements, arranged in a linear pattern within the canal. The water feature, winding its way between a building and a landscape, creates an energetic display of water animation that follows the path of the canal. The Sealife Playground, a third water feature, provides an interactive water experience, designed specifically for children.
One more famous attraction of Hakata is the Hakata no mori stadium. It is a home ground of the Avispa Fukuoka football (soccer) club and hosts rugby union matches, comprising some Top League games, Top League Challenge series and Top Kyushu league games. The stadium's seating capacity is over twenty two thousand and it is situated in Higashi Hirao Koen (park), a twenty minutes walk from Fukuoka Airport.
As Fukuoka airport is settled in Hakata, it is actually an accessible destination both: for local and international tourists with its domestic and international terminals. No Hakata attractions are far from each other, since it is a very compact and cozy district. A number of Hakata hotels grant various options of accommodation from simple rooms to exclusive suites and apartments.
Whenever you plan the next trip to Japan, do not forget to include Hakata, as you will never regret visiting this beautiful harbor of the Japanese nation.