The best way to think about Ohori Koen is as a little piece of nature in the otherwise highly developed city of Fukuoka. It’s a huge park, and from the centre of it, you can’t hear or see the traffic from the rest of the city. All you can see and hear is trees, flowers and the singing of birds.
Ohori is Japanese for moat, and there is a lake at the center of the park which once served as part of the moat system for the neighboring Fukuoka Castle. As well as the lake, the park also has plenty of space to sit down and have a picnic, throw a ball around, or just enjoy the scenery.
Ohori is a park first and foremost but there is more to the area than just the park. You can explore what is left of Fukuoka Castle whilst learning about its history. The Fukuoka Art Museum has a big collection of both traditional Japanese art and Modern western art. You can visit Ohori’s Japanese Garden or Gokoku shrine if you are looking for something more traditional, or you can do my personal favourite thing and rent out a swan boat to paddle across the lake for an afternoon.
These are all interesting things that you can do, and I definitely recommend a visit to the Art Museum, but personally whenever I go to Ohori Koen I like to walk. Specifically, I like to walk around the huge lake. Lots of people run or jog around it quickly during the evening, but to walk all the way around takes about 30 minutes and I enjoy every minute of it.
This is because the views are stunning. I like to watch the water ripple in the early evening or look over to the three green islands in the middle of the lake, which are connected by four beautiful bridges. When I get tired I like to sit down at one of the hundreds of benches that look out over the water and take in the beauty and tranquillity of the park. It’s the perfect place to just relax.
The Park is also beautiful in any season. During Spring, the beautiful Nishi Koen is filled with blooming Cherry Blossom trees. In Autumn, there are Maple trees scattered across the whole park that attract hundreds of people. One thing you definitely shouldn’t miss is the Summer fireworks display held every year on August 1st. Thousands of people, many wearing the traditional Japanese clothes called Jinbei and Yukata, flock to the park to enjoy the festival atmosphere and watch the fireworks display. They are never disappointed; the displays are always incredible!
Ohori Koen is a beautiful part of Fukuoka city, and something that should not be missed for anybody living here. Whether I walk around the castle ruins, paddle on the swan boat in the lake, or just sit down and enjoy the setting, I always leave feeling refreshed and happy. Give it a try the next time you are nearby!
Park Address: 〒810-0051福岡県福岡市中央区大濠公園１
Fukuoka Art Museum: 09:30 till 17:30 (closed on Mondays)
Fireworks Event: August 1st, 20:00 – 21:30 At Ohori Koen Park. (If raining the event will be postponed until August 2nd)