Fukuoka’s Canal City: A Truly Local Shopping Experience
By James Darnbrook
On July 3, 2015
The first time I visited Canal City I got lost for almost an hour. It’s so big and its layout is so confusing that getting a little bit lost feels like part of the Canal City shopping experience. It’s a huge, sprawling, red building split into five smaller areas, and all of these areas are filled with shops, restaurants and amusements. Whatever you are looking for, Canal City is likely to have it… as well as five other things you didn’t even know you needed until you started walking around.
The key to Canal City of course, are the shops. Canal City prides itself on having something for everyone. Japanese companies like Bershka and Uniqlo sit side by side with their western rivals, Zara and H&M. Disney, Ghibli and Jump Comics all have shops in Canal City, catering to animation lovers, whilst Adidas, Northface, and Vans cover more sporty types.
It’s not just these companies though; Canal City has hundred’s of different shops catering to all your needs whatever your interest, or budget. Best of all, these shops are within five minutes of each other making Canal City the easiest place to shop in Fukuoka (as long as you don’t get lost like me). There’s no traipsing around with 3 heavy bags like you sometimes do in Tenjin or Hakata; everything is close for your convenience.
Canal City is more than just shops though. There are plenty of things to do here for people that don’t love shopping. Canal city has a 12 screen cinema (one of which is an IMAX screen) showing all of the newest movies for any regular movie goers. It also has a huge amusement arcade with plenty of Purikura stations, video games and UFO catchers to keep you busy.
On weekends, at the center of the building there are often live concerts for shoppers to enjoy, with acts including school brass bands, comedians, magicians and popular musicians. Even when these concerts are not on, there is a fountain show every thirty minutes for you to take in if you are in need of a rest.
After hours of shopping, playing video games and maybe watching a movie, you are probably going to be very hungry. Here again Canal City is packed with possibilities. Pizza, Sushi, Dim Sum, Cerviche; you name it and Canal City probably has it. Canal City is also the home of Harumi Kuruhara’s only Fukuoka based restaurant Yutori-no-kukan, a must visit for fans of the chef’s books and television programmes.
Canal City is convenient, accessible and has huge variety, but the best thing about it is that it is has Fukuoka’s character at its heart. It is not just a typical shopping mall in a typical city, it is Fukuoka’s own mall and it is unique because of this. The 5th floor of Canal City is called Ramen Stadium, an entire floor where you can try over 10 different types of local ramen, Fukuoka’s most famous food.
The whole building feels just as multi-cultural as the rest of the city does, with plenty of signs in English, Korean and Chinese, as well as plenty of people from these countries enjoying what Canal City has to offer. The building itself even feels like Fukuoka; it’s red décor is the colour of Mentaiko, another speciality food of Fukuoka, and it’s unique layout mirror Fukuoka’s own unique character of nonconformity.
Canal City is known as ‘The city in the city’ because of how huge it is. It has hundreds of shops, plenty of restaurants and ample other activities to satisfy its visitors. It’s unique to walk through and look at, and is unique in its variety and selection. Best of all though, it that it also manages to take the character of Fukuoka city outside and put it on display inside Canal City. Make sure you don’t miss it on your next visit to Fukuoka!
Canal City is almost equal distance from Tenjin station and Hakata Station. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to walk there from each and there is a 100 yen bus loop that departs every 5-10 minutes from either station.
Opening times: 10:00 – 21:00 (shops); 11:00 – 23:00 (restaurants).