For some people, myself included, there is nothing better than a little retail therapy every once in a while. It’s amazing how good you can feel by treating yourself to something special after a hard week at work. Fukuoka is full of places to go and shop, offering something for people of all tastes and all financial budgets. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a diamond ring or a new pair of sandals, you can find everything you want or need in Fukuoka if you know where to look.
So here’s a quick rundown of the key places to shop in the City and what kind of stores you can expect to see in each one.
Lets start with the biggest. Tenjin is a huge area made up of department stores, shopping complexes and street after street of clothing shops. It’s a truly massive area that can cater to just about any need whether you are looking for high end fashion, or something a little more casual.
Between Mitsukoshi and Iwataya department stores you will find almost all of the world’s most famous luxury shopping brands; Gucci, Prada, Tiffany’s, Fendi and more can all be found in these stores. But Tenjin is also perfect for shopping even if you can’t afford Gucci’s prices. Nishi Dori is home to many well-known western companies including H&M, ZARA and Forever 21, all of which are considerably less expensive than the department stores.
It’s impossible to describe everything that Tenjin has to offer, the best thing to do is go and dedicate an afternoon towards getting to know it!
Canal City is a major shopping complex situated between Hakata and Nakasu. In some ways Canal City may be better than Tenjin for the casual shopper because it offers you everything you need, whilst not overwhelming you in size like Tenjin sometimes can.
Built around an artificial canal (which is where it takes its name) Canal City is an incredible piece of architecture to see, and an easy place to shop. Catering mainly to midrange prices, it has a little bit of everything; from Uniqlo and Muji, to American brands like GAP and Timberland. It also has a cinema and Ramen Stadium, a place where you can taste up to 12 different types of Ramen when you get hungry after shopping.
Shopping complexes are Hakata’s calling card. Where Tenjin has more individual stores, Hakata has several huge complexes. Like Tenjin it caters to both high end and lower end markets so there is something for everyone. The biggest stores in the area are undoubtedly Tokyu Hands, a store where you can buy just about anything you can think of, and Yodobashi Camera, the place to go for any and all of your electronic needs. All of the Hakata’s shopping complexes are situated less than 5 minutes from the station making it easily the most convenient place to shop in the city.
Daimyo is a true change of pace from all of the places described above. Right next to Tenjin, Daimyo is everything east of Nishi Dori and is the place to be for the city’s fashion conscious young people. The whole area is chocked full of tiny boutiques, retro shops and second hand stores selling everything from Japanese selvedge denim to hand made guitars.
Getting away from the big brands and department stores of Tenjin and Hakata can be like a breath of fresh air for me personally. Strolling around Daimyo, exploring each unique little store that catches you eye and having lunch in one of the area’s many distinctive restaurants or cafés is my most highly recommended shopping based experience in Fukuoka.
Marinoa City is the place to come when money is tight. As Kyushu’s biggest outlet store it is a cheap alternative to Hakata, Tenjin and Canal City. What Marinoa City has going for it is a vast range of all of Japan’s most popular stores, at a price that won’t break your budget. Shops include GAP, United Arrows, Ships, Uniqlo, Brooks Brothers and ABC mart, amongst many, many others.
Fukuoka really does offer something for everyone in terms of shopping. Whether its High End fashion in Tenjin or hipster fashion in Daimyo you can find whatever you are looking for, regardless of your budget. The only problem now is finding the time to visit all of these places!