What To Buy In Fukuoka, Japan

what to buy in fukuoka
| 4 min read

Sitting on the northern shore of Kyushu Island, Fukuoka is one of the most populated cities in Japan that is unquestionably worth a visit. If you need certain reasons to come, how about the fact that Hakata ramen, the thin noodle made with rich ‘tonkotsu’ (pork bone) broth, is originally from here? With notable dishes and famous landmarks to see, it is a perfect destination for everyone. But, wait until you see our list of unique food and souvenirs to buy in the city that boasts ancient temples and modern infrastructures all in one place! Keep reading to find out what to buy in Fukuoka, for yourself and your loved ones.

1. Hakata mentai ebi senbei

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Natsumiya09 used under CC BY 3.0

You might have heard the rice cracker snack called ‘Senbei’. While it is quite popular in the entire East Asian countries, there is one unique flavor in Fukuoka named Hakata Mentai Ebi Senbei. Topped with Hakata Mentaiko (the marinated pollock and cod roe), the rice cracker is made with slightly hot seasonings and Genkainada sea salt to bring the seafood scent swirling in your palate.

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2. Hakata dolls (Hakata ningyo)

Hakata dolls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The unglazed clay dolls originally hand-crafted in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, are an impressive gift to bring overseas. They have uniquely delicate facial expressions and fine engrave decorated with beautiful soft-toned colors. The dolls come in many shapes and characters, including actors from traditional Japanese theatres play, beautiful ladies, animals, and other favorable objects. Some shapes are believed to bring a good luck charm for its bearers, such as ‘otafuku’ (the plain-looking woman) and 'fukusuke’ (the big-headed dwarf).

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3. Niwaka-men masks

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Hakata Niwaka is a comedic traditional performance in Fukuoka where the art performers wear funny masks and exchange jokes about current issues. Despite only being performed during Hakata Dontaku Festival in May and the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival in July, you can find the masks easily at souvenir shops all around Hakata and Kawabata. It has a unique design that covers half of the face and exposes the nose, mouth, and chin.

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4. Hiyoko sweets

Hiyoko sweets
Source: Photo by Flickr user Kanko* used under CC BY 2.0

The uniquely-shaped sweets were born through the creation of Shigeru Ishizaka in 1912, who was then a store manager. He thought of sweets as living things with infinite possibilities. Created in Chikuho Iizuka during the Meiji era when chicken farming was a common practice, Hiyoko got its shape through the influence of chicken farming. The bean jam-filled “yolk” dessert became popular since the third generation Hirokazu Ishizaka brought it to Fukuoka in 1952.

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5. Hakata no hito

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Immanuel Giel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Japanese-style Baumkuchen (a traditional German cake) filled with red bean jelly has become a favorite for more than four decades. A mixture between the moist and sweet western cake with the Japanese ‘azuki’ creates an exquisite blend in each of the small and lovely pieces. This kind of souvenir is highly appreciated since Baumkuchen is associated with prosperity or longevity. Hence, Hakana no Hito is a perfect gift to bring from your travel to Fukuoka.

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6. Hakata Torimon

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 火国男児 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Since its first selling in 1993, Hakata Torimon has become popular both locally and internationally. The sweet dumplings with a mixture of mung beans, butter, and cream fillings won a Grand Gold Award at the international Monde Selection in 2007. The unique taste and small shape that fits your hand make it one of the best-selling souvenirs in Fukuoka. You can find it easily in gift shops, train stations, or the airport in different sizes ranging from 5-40 packs.

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7. Hakata no Ishidatami chocolates

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Despite the wide variety of desserts sold in the shop, this 20-piece raw chocolate truffles in a box is a signature product at the 75-year-old Chocolate Shop. Hakata no Ishidatami is a perfect treat to enjoy with coffee or wine. It has high moisture that melts at the body temperature. Taste the rich and smooth chocolate as it dissolves on your tongue, and discover why it is one of Hakata’s most popular souvenirs!

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8. No Coffee products

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The modern coffee shop that stands between Hirao and Yakuin is not only known for the quality drinks and stylish interior but also the cool merchandise. Sato-san, the owner of No Coffee, has a background in the apparel and toy industry. Hence, the shop also sells goods with the original design ranging from tumblers and smartphone cases to tote bags. With its simplicity, the products have gained popularity through the online platform, making it a great souvenir to bring home.

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9. Fukuoka Yame Green Tea Langue De Chat

Green Tea () Langue de Chat
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ted Barrera used under CC BY-SA 2.0

‘Langue de chat’ or 'cat tongue’ is a small biscuit widely-known in European, Asian, and South American countries. In Fukuoka, they combine the biscuit with Yame matcha, which is considered as one of the highest grades of Japanese green tea. The matcha is mixed with white chocolate, then sandwiched between two stacks of thin, crispy langue de chat. The combination between the sweet biscuits and bitter taste of green tea makes it a perfect snack to have in an afternoon tea or coffee.

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10. Mihara Tofu-ten’s raw chocolate tofu

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Mihara Tofu-ten, a longstanding tofu maker since 1959, has been serving a variety of delightful tofu dishes in the Nishinakasu area. In 2016, the artisan launched a unique item named “Raw Chocolate Tofu”. The 50:50 tofu and chocolate dessert became a world sensation as it was a creation of the famed Japanese entrepreneur Takafumi Horie. The low-calorie product uses domestic honey and non-GMO soy milk in place of cream. It has the natural sweetness of soybeans, with a much smoother and lighter taste compared with raw chocolates.

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Don't go back empty-handed

Japanese Senbeis
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DryPot used under CC BY 2.5

Bringing back souvenirs for friends or family when you’re traveling is a common practice in Asian culture. Don’t be surprised to see how the Japanese ‘omiyage’ is carefully and exquisitely wrapped like a gift. In Japan, souvenirs are a means of respect. Prices can be a bit high due to the packaging, but we made a careful pick of what could be worth the value. Check the list carefully to ensure that you bring the best gift for everyone from Fukuoka. When you go to Japan, try to remember that you can never go back empty-handed

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Starting her dream to travel the world by staring at The Encyclopedia of the Nations, Putri now enjoys the beauty of visiting places she only saw on papers as a kid. Foreign lands with languages...Read more

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