In Japan’s ‘Gateway to Asia’: Street Food, Night Life and a Thriving Arts Scene


Fukuoka, known for its outdoor food stalls, is a popular destination for Japanese tourists. Now it’s starting to draw more international travelers, too.

With a sprawling commercial port that was Japan’s largest between the 12th and 16th centuries and which, to this day, links the country with China, Korea and other parts of the Pacific, Fukuoka has long been considered Japan’s “Gateway to Asia.” A popular destination for vacationing Japanese, the city is also drawing tourists from abroad, especially noticeable since the country reintroduced visa-free entry last October. They come for the city’s lauded cuisine, its casual atmosphere, vibrant arts and nightlife scenes and temperate climate. And then there are the historic sites like the beautifully preserved Tochoji Temple, and the natural beauty found in places like the lush Ohori Park and the splendid experimental rooftop garden atop the ACROS building.

But what distinguishes Fukuoka’s culinary scene is its emphasis on local specialties like motsunabe (beef tripe hot pot), mizutaki (chicken hot pot) and mentaiko (marinated pollock roe), dishes that are often served at yatai, which typically have small open-air kitchens, a counter and limited seating.


I chose this article because in some way food is considered an art form and majority of the time you go to a store for that. It is a slightly more broad exploration but thinking of the hidden worlds for foodies seemed like an interesting connection to my topic.



Palm, E. A. (2023, August 21). In Japan’s “gateway to Asia”: Street Food, night life and a thriving arts scene. The New York Times.