This guide is from 2011. The newest beach guide is available here.
One things comes to mind when I think of summer: BEACH.
There’s no better way to enjoy the sweltering heat than putting on a swimsuit and immersing yourself in sand and saltwater. Days slowly spent eating bento, drinking chu-hi, throwing frisbees, swimming in the ocean and lounging under a beach umbrella. Thoughts of this are what get me through every other part of the year. (Of course, girls in bikinis are never a bad thing, either.)
Lucky for all of us here in Fukuoka, we live in one of the most convenient places for beach-goers! So if you’re searching for a place to relax in the summer, look no further! The following are my beach destination recommendations in and around Fukuoka City, all of which are accessible by public transportation, and many of which have camping facilities nearby.
Seaside Momochi Kaihin Koen (シーサイドももち海浜公園)
Probably the most popular Fukuoka City limits, this artificial beach is located right next to Fukuoka Tower, Yahoo! Dome, and the beautiful Momochihama district, facing out toward Hakata Bay. While not the cleanest beach around, it makes up for it with easy access and the convenience of numerous nearby restaurants, surf shops, convenience stores and more.
Access: Take a bus (the easiest is to use the tourism-oriented “Green” loop bus) and get off at Fukuoka Tower Minamiguchi bus stop. Because buses in Fukuoka can sometimes be slow, you can also take the Kuko Subway Line and get off at Nishijin Station, from which is a 20-minute walk from the beach.
Iki-no-matsubara Beach (生の松原海浜公園)
Iki-no-matsubara Beach is also fairly centrally located, and is a bit bigger and cleaner than Momochi Kaihin Koen. There is a lovely view of Nokonoshima Island, as well as a nearby historic site featuring the remains of some thirteenth-century fortifications built to defend against a Mongol invasion.
Access: Take the Kuko Subway Line, which will continue on as the JR Chikuhi Line from Meinohama Station in many cases (if not, simply change trains at Meinohama). From Shimoyamato Station (the next one on the line), walk north toward the coast for about 10 minutes, through a suburban area and then a small pine grove, to reach the beach.
Nokonoshima Island (能古島)
This small island is only a 10-minute ride from mainland Fukuoka City, and the main beach is located near Nokonoshima Camp Mura, where you can pitch your tent (or rent a bungalow) and stay the night for a fee. Nokonoshima Island is famous for its many seasonal flowers, which can be seen at nearby Nokonoshima Island Park.
Access: From Hakata Station (JR Lines), take bus no. 9, 11, 300, 301 or 302 and get off at Nokonoshima Tosenba (40 minutes). From the Tenjin Area, take bus no. 5, 9, 98, 300, 301, 302 or 312 and get off at Nokonoshima Tosenba bus stop (30-40 minutes). You can also take the Kuko Subway Line to Meinohama Station and walk about 10 minutes from there to the ferry terminal (sometimes faster than using a bus). It takes 5-10 minutes by ferry (depending on the service you choose) to get to Nokonoshima, and ferries depart quite often. There is a shuttle bus to Nokonoshima Camp Mura from Nokonoshima’s ferry terminal.
Obaru Beach (大原海水浴場)
This popular beach is fairly clean and located just outside city limits, with a great view of the bay and soft white sands. It is one of the longest beaches in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Access: Take the Kuko Subway Line, which will continue on as the JR Chikuhi Line from Meinohama Station in many cases (if not, simply change trains at Meinohama). From Imajuku Station, take a Showa Bus bound for Nishiura and get off at Ohara Kaisuiyokujo Iriguchi or Ohara Bus Stop.
This beach has an array of facilities, including beach huts and restaurants, so all you need is a towel and a swimsuit. Its sunsets over the Genkai Sea are considered to be some of the best around, and Sakurai Shrine’s meoto-iwa (husband and wife rock) is a well-known sight. Futamigaura is ranked as one of the 100 best beaches in Japan.
Access: Take the Kuko Subway Line, which will continue on as the JR Chikuhi Line from Meinohama Station in many cases (if not, simply change trains at Meinohama). From Chikuzen-maebaru Station, take a Showa Bus to Imuta Bus Stop (30 minutes), and walk for 15 from there to get to the beach.
Keya Beach (芥屋海水浴場)
Another Itoshima offering and also one of the most popular beaches in Fukuoka Prefecture, Keya is highly recommended. The beautiful blue waters of this sandy, tucked-away cove will make for a visit you won’t soon forget.
Access: Take the Kuko Subway Line, which will continue on as the JR Chikuhi Line from Meinohama Station in many cases (if not, simply change trains at Meinohama). From Chikuzen-Maebaru Station, take a Showa Bus for 30 minutes to Keya bus stop (the final stop).
This beach is mostly popular among those living in the neighborhood, but it’s one of the best beaches in Fukuoka City limits. The sands expand in both directions and are complimented by an expansive view of the Genkai Sea, and the area is a popular spot for beach strolling. It’s best to bring your own food, drinks and gear, as facilities are sparse.
Access: It’s a 10-minute walk to the beach from Nishitetsu Shingu Station on the Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line. You can transfer to the the Kaizuka Line by taking the Hakozaki Subway Line and switching at Kaizuka Station, or taking the JR Kagoshima Main Line (local trains only) and switching at Chihaya Station.