Fukuoka's history started AD57. ‘The Golden Seal’, displayed at Fukuoka City Museum as a national treasure, is in fact a testament to the international trade that commenced almost 2,000 years ago. Since then Fukuoka has always been branded as the hospitality city par excellence.
Fukuoka’s history as a gateway to Asian countries has made it stand out in Japanese history. Already in AD536, the first diplomatic representative of the Japanese government was established there for the purpose of trade and exchange with China and Korea.
Proud to be Japan's #1
There are quite a few firsts that happened in Fukuoka as a matter of fact. Tochoji temple, founded in 806, boasts the tallest wooden Buddha in Japan, while Shofukuji temple, dating back from 1195, is the first temple in Japan abiding to zen, one of the strictest trends in Buddhism. Zen temples initiated the birth of ‘new’ food like Soba and Udon noodles, Manju and Yokan cakes. They also played an important role in the development of the tea ceremony, which is nowadays an integral part of Japanese culture, along calligraphy, flower arrangement, kimono wearing, poetry, drawing, cooking, gardening, incense, etc. The founder of Shofukuji temple, a monk named Yosai, , actually was the first to import a green tea tree to Fukuoka and to start plantations in the region.
But ‘firsts’ are not necessarily peaceful matters. In the 13th century, Fukuoka experienced its first invasion by a foreign country. The Mongolian Empire led by Khubilai Khan actually tried to take over Fukuoka twice in 1274 and 1281. There was also the first international ‘Samurai’ war around the same time. The preserved protective walls as well as the drawings at the City Museum can be seen to this day.
What about ‘firsts’ in modern times then? Fukuoka Yahoo Dome is the first and only openable dome stadium. The ‘Yatai’, the famous street food stalls, are also important attractions for both business and leisure visitors: there are more than 150 Yatai in Fukuoka - it’s the greatest in Japan – and you can find them pretty much everwhere!
As to Fukuoka Airport, which has now connections to 21 international and 25 domestic destinations, it is the first international airport not only in Japanese history but also in terms of numbers of arrivals and departures per runway. It is also the closest airport to the city centre - it takes a maximum of 10 minutes to go there.
Future challenges of Fukuoka
The business events department of Fukuoka Convention & Visitors Bureau has come in full sail with a new name Meeting Place Fukuoka (MPF) this summer. MPF is also preparing some ‘Japan's Firsts’ in collaboration with the city government, local universities and private sectors in the region. Fukuoka will launch a MICE Ambassador Programme and a mobile MICE and tourism app. MPF and Team Fukuoka are ready to be much more friendly to organisers, delegates and sponsors alike!
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