Comfort Hotel Hakata
Phone: (81) 92 431-1211
Fax: (81) 92 431-8015
Canal City Hakata revolutionized the shopping and entertainment industry in Fukuoka. This multi-level complex basically has everything: dozens of brand-name stores and small shops, many restaurants, a multi-screen movie theatre, a Sega amusement theme park, two hotels, banking facilities, an art theatre, business offices, showrooms, and even regular street performers. In the Sun Plaza, located in the center, some of the performances are by extremely talented professionals and may include acrobats, magicians, or musicians. The architecture incorporates water in many creative ways making the design is as much an attraction as anything else.
Some people may get a funny feeling about buying clothing in the same store where you can buy car parts, furniture, electronic equipment, or sporting goods. Get over it! The world of mega-mergers and mega-companies and mega-stores specializing in, well, not particularly anything has arrived—for good it would seem by the success of this place at least. Conveniently located on multiple floors of Canal City, Mega Vandle sells just about anything you could need. If they do not sell it, then the likelihood that you need it seems rather slim. Call up and say you are looking for everything. Without hesitation, they will reply, "Yes, we have that here."
Hakata silk fabric, known as Hakata-ori, has origins in the Kamakura period, roughly in the year 1235 when a merchant from Hakata (now known as Fukuoka!) traveled to China. There he studied various weaving techniques, most notably those which apply lacquer and metal leaf to cloth. After returning to Japan, he applied much of what he learned to the craft, while adding innovations of his own. About 15 years after the modernization of Japan, in 1883, the Matsui company opened a textile factory in Fukuoka and began producing the Hakata silk fabric, using many of the same techniques that had been passed down through the ages. Visitors interested in seeing Hakata-ori made should visit Hakata Machiya, where they can watch experts work at the looms. Common products available include purses and pocket books, tablecloths, and even neckties!
Located inside the Kawabata shopping arcade, this small shop offers a chance to sample Hakata's specialty zenzai sweet-bean dessert. Although the sweet zenzai makes for a refreshing snack, the undoubted piece de resistance of this shop is the towering Yamakasa float that sits in the center of the dining area, and which is used every year in the Gion Yamakasa Matsuri.
Fukuya is the oldest of the stores in Fukuoka selling the mentaiko cod-roe local specialty. Established in 1949, Fukuya is a family business whose original owner, Toshio Kawara, was the first to introduce the taste of the spicy snack from Korea. Since then, mentaiko has virtually become the culinary symbol of Fukuoka with visitors and tourists taking packs of this cod-roe delicacy back home as souvenirs for friends and family.
In pre-modern times, Fukuoka was primarily a merchant city, with the Nakasu-kawabata district acting as the center of activity. The spirit of that time survived the vicissitudes of Japan's modernization and is still alive today in this charming arcade. If you are looking to catch glimpses of an older Japan, this long (roofed) strip of shops is recommended. If you are looking for great deals on traditional or more eclectic items, this is not a bad place to be either. A number of restaurants are also tucked away here.
Book Off is a used-bookstore chain with several locations around the city. This one, however, has opened an area--called Ecomall--devoted not only to used books but also to used anything. And by anything, we mean dining ware, musical instruments, bags and pocket books, electronic goods and anything that you can imagine somebody used to own but did not need anymore (or needed, except that they needed the money more). The area is quite large, so you should be able to find numerous things you can use.
Luxury clothing and vanguard fashion is, let's admit it, sometimes very weird. Not so at Donna Karan. Here, the clothing is stylish. The cost, expensive (let's admit that, too). The quality of what you are paying multiple figures for is also worthy of note. Brand names do not become brand names simply by looking nice; they have to meet practical needs as well. At this DK outlet in Super Brand City (there is another, much smaller location in Solaria), you could possibly choose your whole wardrobe--there is that much. The customers are also few, so the ample staff can easily pick and fuss over you until all your attention needs are fulfilled as well.
This cool, dark gallery of Hakata dolls available for purchase is located close to the Canal and SuperBrand City. The selection should be able to satisfy any need or budget, though if you want to see more, you could ask for a catalogue. They cost JPY1,000, but the pictures are so beautiful you may want it regardless of whether you ever decide to make a purchase. The store can also package your dolls safely for shipment.
This small souvenir and collectible store on the Nakasu district's main through way offers a wide variety of locally produced gifts at decent prices. One side of the store is devoted to the display of Hakata dolls, while the other is devoted to items made from Hakata-ori. These include purses, pocketbooks, and other sturdy, usable items. The store also has a display at Hakata Machiya, in case you plan to make a visit there.
Your wife or girl friend has given you a wish list, but you have no idea where to look. Don't worry! Your jewelry needs are easily fulfilled here. Offering one of the best selections of fine jewelry in the city, the store has ample staff members who are always courteous and never pushy. There is a gallery upstairs that often has exquisite displays of jewelry designed for aristocrats and billionaires. The store may occasionally be crowded because special tour buses sometimes bring people to see the displays.
This excellent stationery store is conveniently located in Tenjin, in the ACROS Fukuoka building—you can easily see it next to the front entrance. Besides hundreds of varieties of paper and envelopes, you will find other related items like pens, seals, folders and photo albums. On one wall there is a collection of postcards that should be of interest to many. The feature old pictures of Fukuoka, during the Meiji era's rapid modernization. Besides these, there are current photos of Fukuoka landmarks as well.