Photo of a man walking to work in the city of Fukuoka, Japan (2009).
Fukuoka (福岡市 Fukuoka-shi) is the capital city of Fukuoka Prefecture and is situated on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu in Japan.
Ranked 12th of the world’s most livable cities in the magazine Monocle in 2013, Fukuoka was praised for its green spaces in a metropolitan setting. It is the most populous city in Kyushu, 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 6th largest city, having passed the population of Kyoto. This marks the first time that a city west of the Kinki region has a larger population than Kyoto since the founding of Kyoto in 794. In ancient times, however, the area near Fukuoka, the Chikushi region, was thought to be perhaps even more influential than the Yamato region.
Exchanges from the continent and the Northern Kyushu area date as far back as Old Stone Age. It has been thought that waves of immigrants or even royalty first arrived in Northern Kyushu from mainland Asia. Several Kofun exist.
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.