A Former Hakata Resident's Picks! Nighttime Yatai-Hopping In Fukuoka

  • Area

    • Kyushu
    • Fukuoka
  • Categories

    • Region
    • Food / Gourmet
  • Update date

    • 2020-10-19

If you love nightlife, then Fukuoka is the destination for you! Fukuoka’s famous open-air food stalls (yatai) can be mainly found in three areas: Tenjin, Nakasu, and Nagahama. A three-year resident of Fukuoka, our writer will share how to enjoy roadside delights in Fukuoka.


A Tasty Night Out! Fukuoka Food Stalls

For three years, I worked near Hakata Station in Fukuoka. Whenever my friends came to visit from overseas, I planned a night out at the three largest yatai (food stall) districts. At these stalls, you will get a taste of roadside cuisine and lively atmosphere! It’s a unique way to explore the nightlight in Japan.

Before introducing the yatai-hopping plan, I will briefly explain the history of food stalls in Fukuoka.

Food Stalls Supporting the Lives of Fukuoka Residents

The yatai districts in Fukuoka are said to date back to the end of WWII in 1945. The first food stalls opened on street corners to feed the impoverished residents. In the coming years, they relocated to larger districts, reaching their peak around 1965. Over 400 stalls operated during their heyday.

However, as Japan rapidly urbanized, many food stalls were forced to close due to new sanitation and traffic laws. In 2013, a law was passed by Fukuoka City to preserve the yatai districts. This helped resolve the issues surrounding food stalls.

According to the city of Fukuoka, 102 food stalls are operating as of July 1, 2020. Most of these stalls are concentrated in the areas of Nakasu, Tenjin, and Nagahama.

With that, let’s go over my one-night plan to explore all three yatai districts!

18:00 – Depart From Hakata Station

The food stalls are usually open from 18:00 to 3:00 the following morning. For specific hours on each stall, check the Fukuoka City Guide YOKA NAVI.

A good place to meet is the plaza in front of Hakata Station. The yatai district in Nakasu is 20 minutes away on foot.

18:20 – Arrive at Nakasu District: A Popular Spot Among Tourists

The street stalls lining the Nakasu district stretch along the banks of the Naka River. Among the three food stall districts, Nakasu has the best view.

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