Fukuokan Beaches

Fukuoka’s jagged, rural coastline gives it some of the finest white-sand beaches in all of Japan. From the southern border with Saga, north almost to Kitakyushu, there are literally dozens of small and large beaches with vastly different characteristics and attractions.

Our favorite is Futamigaura, just south of Fukuoka city, named so because of the two huge rocks in the ocean which have been wed in Shinto tradition. They are connected by sacred ropes called shimenawa. It is possible to swim or wade out to the rocks. On the far side, adept swimmers can jump off the rocks into the heaving ocean. Several lovely restaurants occupy the hillsides above the beach.

Unless you are a cyclist ready to put some distance on your tires, you’ll probably need a car. Other great beaches (and tasty local eateries like Natty Dread and Hinode) are scattered farther down the coast in somewhat remote areas without public transportation. But that’s part of what keeps them so free of crowds, even in the height of summer.

Of those southerly beaches, the Itoshima area is notable for, among many reasons, the summer music festival it hosts every year, Sunset Live. We’ve been going since 1997 and never tire of it, even though it has grown from an event once held in a grassy parking lot into a 3-day extravaganza. This year it will be held from Sept 2nd to the 4th.

Another major music event is held back in the city, at Seaside Momochi. Called Isla De Salsa, this borderless music festival showcases Latin dance, rhythms and culture. It celebrates its 15th year this August 6th and 7th and is now the biggest Latin festival in the country. “Salsa” is, of course, the Spanish sauce with a mix of ingredients, which is a metaphor for the festival; it mixes together various genres of music and dance with people from an array of backgrounds, nationalities and age groups. The result beneath all the fun is cultural exchange that transcends borders and mindsets. Come out, be a part of the mix in one of Fukuoka’s longest-running festivals. Seaside Momochi is easily accessible by city subway.

Gaze out across the bay to Nokonoshima and Shikanoshima. This island and peninsula, respectively, offer more beaches not far from the city. Nokonoshima is accessible by ferry and features an island-top park with breathtaking views of the coastal city. Shikanoshima was actually an island, too, but reconnected with Fukuoka over time via a long sand bank which now provides road access.

Northeast Fukuoka also hosts some beautiful shorelines, most notably Satsuki Beach in Munakata. A forest of 200-year-old black pines runs parallel to the windy white beaches there, offering a soft hush in the background.

At certain beaches and at certain times, jellyfish are a plague. Sharp rocks can be hazardous, too. Careful! Surfers will have better luck in the fall or during a typhoon, unless they want to do some long-boarding on lazy waves. As always, take your trash home with you and keep Fukuoka beaches beautiful.



もしあなたが遠乗りに慣れている自転車乗りではないなら、車で行く方がいいだろう。他にも素敵な砂浜(そして、Natty Dread and Hinodeのような地元の美味しいレストラン)が、公共交通機関のない不便な場所に、海岸線に沿って点在している。だからこそ、夏のハイシーズンでも混雑を避けることができるのだ。

南にある糸島エリアは様々な理由で有名な海岸で、毎年「Sunset Live」という音楽フェスティバルが開催されている。かつては草ぼうぼうの駐車場で3日間のライブを行ったようなイベントが、いまではすっかり大きくなった。私たちは1997年から毎年訪れているが決して飽きることはない。今年は9月2日〜4日に開催される予定だ。

メジャーな音楽イベントがもうひとつ。市内のシーサイドももちで開催されるボーダーレスミュージックフェスティバル「イスラ・デ・サルサ 2011」だ。ラテンのダンス、リズム、カルチャーを楽しめる。8月6日〜7日の開催で、今年は記念の15周年を迎える。いまや、国内最大のラテン・フェスティバルと言っていいだろう。サルサとは「色々なものを混ぜ合わせて作るソース」の意のスペイン語で、フェスティバルのコンセプトそのものだ。幅広いジャンルの音楽やダンスを、様々な経歴、国籍、年齢の人々が交流し、体感する。楽しさの根底にあるのは、境界や習慣を超える文化交流だ。福岡で最も長く続いているこのフェスティバルに出かけて、あなたもサルサのひと味になってみよう。シーサイドももちへのアクセスは、市営地下鉄が簡単だ。




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