Hakata was once a separate town from Fukuoka. Until the 19th century, Fukuoka was a community of aristocrats and high-ranking officials, while Hakata was where the commoners lived. The two towns merged in 1889, but the name ‘Hakata’ is still attached to everything from Hakata Train Station to Hakata Riverain commercial complex.
In the past few years, Hakata has been at the heart of a cosmopolitan revolution. World-class shopping centers have been built in recent years, including Fukuoka Mitsukoshi, Solaria Plaza (near Kego Park) and Acros Tenjin. These are grouped closely together in the center of the district within reach of Tenjin Bus Center. These shops and transport hubs are next-door to several hotels in Hakata, and guests can easily get around on foot or by subway.
On the opposite bank of the river, Canal City Hakata is one of the most visually striking commercial complexes. It was designed by an American architect and hosts more than a hundred shops and a luxury hotel.
Most of Hakata’s visitors are commercial tourists, here for a mix of shopping and sightseeing. Away from the modern shopping scene is a selection of museums and traditional arts venues. Fukuoka Kenritsu Museum explores the district’s history, art and culture; Hakataza presents traditional theater and music; and the expansive Oohori Park (near the American Consulate) offers an escape from the urban atmosphere in a traditionally landscaped environment.
Hakata is well-connected to the rest of Fukuoka by subway. Gion Station and Nakaswu Kawabata Station are east of the river near mid-range and up-market hotels in Hakata. On the west bank, Tenjin Station provides access to one of the liveliest nightlife districts in Fukuoka.