Nishi-Nakasu 西中洲

Nakasu has been home to pleasure quarters since Hakata was a medieval port and Fukuoka was but an administrative castle town to the south. It is still today a nationally recognized adult-entertainment district, but the greater Nakasu-kawabata area is hardly all red-light. It’s also home to the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Hakata-za (a theater for traditional Japanese drama), two gorgeous shopping centers, an historic shopping arcade, Kushida shrine, and the annual Yamakasa float race. You’ll also find several of Fukuoka’s more famous yatai (street food vendors).

Nishi-nakasu is an oft-overlooked part of this neon town of floating pleasures. Located literally “west” of nakasu, just across the river, it is certainly quieter, but in the narrow backstreets behind the riverside love hotels are a number of pleasures of a different kind, namely culinary and alcoholic. There are actually only about two or three square blocks to speak of, but it is dotted with great eateries, very few of which will rob your wallet like Nakasu can.

Many tend to be traditional in their offerings: sushi, yakiniku, motsu-nabe, ramen and izakaya fare. Some, though, can be quite swank with a twist on traditional food. At Koshinraku, for example, we entered through what looked like a Hobbit door and sat down at their elegant counter for some baniku (horse-meat) specialties. But instead of the typical basashi (sashimi-style), we were treated to an array of creative dishes: marinated meat on tofu, grilled horse, and even horse tacos. Master Narita and his wife, having spent some time in San Diego, speak English and developed there a love for hoppy craft beers! You can pair extreme West Coast IPAs with your food for truly unique and international flavor.

Food tradition is a strong part of Fukuoka’s appeal, but if you want to see how it is constantly reinventing itself, venture into the old part of the city. Be wary– it’s a red-light district still– but be hungry.

Fukuoka, Chuo-ku, Nishi-nakasu 3-1-2F





福岡市中央区西中洲3-1 2F

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