With the end of summer and the onset of moderate fall temperatures, it’s time to get active! Personally, disc golf (also known unofficially as Frisbee golf) is one of my favorite sports, and despite the scarcity of courses in Japan, Fukuoka City boasts a great course with easy access from the city center.
Located inside Uminonakamichi Seaside Park (海の中道海浜公園), this JPDGA-sanctioned pro-level course has 18 diverse and challenging holes that are perfect for intermediate and advanced players, as well as a 9-hole “short course” for beginners (holes are easier and shorter in length). You can experience beautiful natural scenery while tossing your disc through thick tree stands, over water traps and through grassy fields–part of the course even passes through a grove of cherry trees that blossom into brilliant pinks and whites during the spring. Rental discs are available at the clubhouse if you don’t have your own, which is especially helpful for beginners, as discs are expensive and hard to find in Japan.
Because most Japanese are not familiar with the sport, be sure to take care and call out if necessary before making long drives, as some people will walk through and even stop in the middle of courses, unaware of the danger. Also, there is one very difficult hole that requires a righthand curve over a large pond onto a steep, downhill bank–this is an easy way to lose your expensive disc if you’re not careful (you can always fish one of the many rentals out of the pond and use it for the difficult shot if you’re worried).
The park itself can be reached using the JR Kashii Line, which branches off from the Kagoshima Main Line at Kashii, and can also be transferred onto from the Nishitetsu Kaizuka Line at Wajiro Station. The spacious park is accessible from either Umanonakamichi Station or Saitozaki Station. Saitozaki Station is most easily reached by taking a JR train from Hakata Station to Kashii and then transferring to the Kashii Line (Saitozaki is the final station on the line). Overall, it takes about 35-40 minutes to reach Saitozaki Station from Hakata Station.The clubhouse and the first hole of the course are roughly in the middle of the park, and you can pick up at map at the entrance (in English) and ask for directions if needed.
The park entrance fee is 400 yen for adults, 80 yen for children (middle school age or younger), and free for children younger than elementary school age (the disc golf course can be used for free, but rentals discs cost extra).
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a first-timer, give the Uminonakamichi course a try!