Fukuoka City (served by Port Hakata) is located on Kyushu Island's northern coast. This is also the prefecture's capital and the island's largest city (population around 1,5 million, metro 5,6 million), followed by Kitakyushu (under 1 million). The city is part of the Fukuoka–Kitakyushu metro region (industrial zone), which is Japan's 5th largest.
Fukuoka hosts over 2 million international visitors per year, with the majority coming from China and South Korea. Nearly 10,000 international students attend universities in/near Fukuoka annually. The city also helds around 200 international conferences annually.
Sky Dream Fukuoka (located in the city's western ward) is one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world at a height of 120 m (394 ft). Fukuoka Castle is situated adjacent to Ohori Park in Maizuru Park and features the remaining stone ramparts and walls left after a devastating fire during upheaval of Meiji Restoration. It has been preserved together with some reconstructed concrete towers constructed during 1950s-1960s, when there was a trend to rebuild damaged castles as attractions for tourists. Ōhori Park is the location of one of the major art galleries in Fukuoka City. A newly opened Kyushu National Museum is found in nearby Dazaifu.
Fukuoka Port Hakata
Since 2010, Fukuoka's Hakata port became a major cruise port destination for tourists leaving on round-trip itineraries from China.
- Statistics for season 2014 show a total of 91 cruise vessels from China docked at Hakata Port.
- In 2015, the number of visiting cruise ships jumped to 259, bringing to Fukuoka over 580,000 passengers. This was also the year in which the port was visited by its currently largest cruise vessel - Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas (LOA length 347 m / 1138 ft, tonnage 168,700 GT, launched in 2014). After Hakata Port's expansion, in 2016 the number of ship calls exeeded 400.
- In 2016 (on November 30) at Hakata Port was has held the "Second Fukuoka Cruise Conference". The international event was sponsored by Japan's MLIT ("Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism", also by JTA ("Japan Tourism Agency"), JCPA ("Japan Cruise Port Association"), and CLIA Asia ("Cruise Lines International Association"). The conference focused on the Japanese cruising market growth, targeting 1 million passengers per year. Among the participating cruise companies were Royal Caribbean, Costa Asia and Princess, The first "Fukuoka Cruise Conference" was held in 2014 (January) in which participated over 250 people representing cruise and travel companies, Japanese port authorities, as well as port- and service-related japanese companies.
- In 2016, Port Hakata received a total of 328 cruise ship calls and handled over 850,000 passengers. In 2017, these numbers grew to 347 calls and 950,000 cruise tourists. In 2017, of all liners to Fukuoka, over 95% were from China. Local shore excursions and tours are themed mainly on shopping and sightseeing.
- To cope with the increasing shipping traffic, since 2017 the cruise port offers berth allocation as an incentive for overnight port stays and homeporting (turnaround operations / on roundtrip itineraries).
- To attract larger-sized vessels, in 2018, Hakata cruise port scheduled a dredging and lengthening project for Chuo Wharf. The extension allowed berthing of world's largest cruise ships of RCI's Oasis-class.. Additionally was planned berth expansion (at Chuo) to allow docking capacity of two vessels simultaneously.
- In summer 2018, in Hakata was homeported Costa neoRomantica, with scheduled 11 roundtrips and targeting Japanese passengers. Ship's 4-5-7-day itinerary program included as call ports Maizuru, Kanazawa, Niigata, Sakata, Hakodate, Sakaiminato and Busan (Korea).
Fukuoka cruise terminal
Fukuoka cruise ship terminal (officially "Hakata Port International Terminal") is located at "Bayside Place" and close to the city. Here dock all cruise ships, as well as the regularly scheduled ferries (operating between Fukuoka and Tsushima Island) and all harbour tour boats. The terminal building hosts restaurants, boutique shops, also a huge Aquarium with over 1200 fishes.
Among the city's most popular tourist attractions is the grandeous laser show held here each evening.
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