Fukuoka, a city on the southwestern island of Kyushu in Japan, is a wonderful destination with a unique culture and history, plenty of delicious food and shopping options. This is perfectly encapsulated in the souvenirs you can take home from Fukuoka, from mouthwatering snacks to elegant traditional crafts, there are so many choices!
This article compiles 12 of the best and most popular souvenirs you can buy in Fukuoka, as well as some information on the places to buy them.
1. Hakata Torimon 博多通りもん
Image: kay_blackcat on Instagram.
This number one souvenir from Fukuoka is a treat that combines the flavours of a Japanese Manju and a Western confection. Made by Meigetsudo since 1993, it is filled with smooth creamy white bean paste and has the rich aroma of butter and cream. A favourite among locals and also tourists, it is the winner of Monde Selection Awards for 18 consecutive years, so a must try for anyone visiting Fukuoka!
2. Mentaiko 明太子
A Fukuokan speciality mentaiko refers to spicy cod roe that is made by marinating the roe in a blend of red chilli peppers, spices and other seasonings. It can be eaten with rice as a side dish or used in a variety of dishes such as onigiri, pasta, and toast.
You can find a number of mentaiko brands in Fukuoka, like Yamaya which is loved by the locals. Besides mentaiko gift boxes, mentaiko in a squeezable tube form is also highly popular – check out Tubu Tube, which sells like hot cakes since it was first introduced.
3. Niwaka Senpei 二○加煎餅
Image: niwakasenpei.toundo on Instagram.
Crackers with fun facial expressions, modelled after the half masks worn by the performers of a traditional comedic performance called Hakata Niwaka. Made from simple ingredients, these crunchy crackers are available in small, medium, and extra-large sizes. There is also the Black Niwaka Senpei with the addition of black charcoal powder and black sugar. A snack which you can play with and eat, it surely is a great souvenir for families with kids!
4. Ichiran Gift Set 一蘭ギフトセット
You can find a range of tonkotsu ramen gift sets from different brands in Fukuoka, and Ichiran is no doubt one of the most well-known. It comes with the noodles, broth packs, and red pepper spice which allow you to recreate the delicious flavours of Ichiran ramen at home. It is also reasonably priced – one serving of this actually costs less than the bowl you get at the restaurant, no wonder it is so popular among visitors to Fukuoka!
5. Hakata Nakanaka 博多なかなか
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A popular product by Nakashima Shoten, this umami-packed snack is made with the skin of mentaiko, dried and then pressed into a jerky-like tidbit with all the yumminess of mentaiko. It goes perfectly with beer or sake and can be used as a topping for ochazuke, pasta or salad. It also keeps very well, so if you are concerned about the short shelf life of raw mentaiko (about 2 weeks), this is a good alternative.
6. Tsukushi Mochi 筑紫もち
A winner of the Monde Selection Grand Gold Award, this signature product of Josuian is simple yet exquisite – mochi rice cake covered with high quality kinako (roasted soybean powder) and matched with black sugar syrup which you can add to taste. Beautifully wrapped and well-loved by the locals for decades, it is an excellent gift for those who love traditional Japanese sweet, and certainly is one you can treat yourself to.
7. Menbei めんべい
Image: chie_perro3 on Instagram.
A famous Fukuoka souvenir, Menbei is a savoury snack produced by mentaiko manufacturer Fukutaro. Made with mentaiko, squid and octopus, these senbei rice crackers are crunchy with a slightly hard texture and flavoursome with the delicious taste of seafood. Available in plain, onion, curry and other regional flavours, these addictive crackers are also easy to carry and keep well. The individual packaging makes it perfect for sharing too!
8. Hiyoko ひよこ
Often mistaken as a souvenir from Tokyo thanks to its popularity in the capital city, this chick-shaped Manju cake actually hails from Fukuoka and can be found across the Kyushu region too. Debuted in 1912, it is consisting of a dough layer, made from flour and eggs, wrapped around a delicious white bean filling. It has always been a hit with children and adults alike due to its cute appearance. Other seasonal variants such as chestnut, matcha, and strawberry are also available.
9. Umakacchan うまかっちゃん
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A household name in Fukuoka, Umakacchan is a tonkotsu instant noodle brand developed by House Foods. It is available in a number of flavours including Kagoshima Kurobuta (black pork) flavour and Karashi Takana (spicy pickled mustard leaves) flavour. Notably, Umakacchan is sold in western Japan primarily in Kyushu only, so other than giving it as souvenir make sure to stock some for your own consumption too!
10. Hakata no Hito 博多の女
Translated as “Lady of Hakata”, Hakata no Hito is a German-style Baumkuchen filled with Japanese-style red bean yokan (jelly). Apart from the original flavour that first went on sale in 1972, it now also has strawberry milk flavour as well as other seasonal variants such as matcha, honey lemon, and banana. This individually wrapped, the bite-sized cake is perfect for snacking and sharing with friends, family or colleagues.
11. Hakata-ori 博多織
Image: kurokiorimono on Instagram.
A type of textile with origins tracing back to 1241, when a merchant brought the weaving technique he learned in Song Dynasty China back to Hakata. The typical material for Hakata-ori is silk threads, woven carefully and meticulously to produce a durable fabric traditionally used to make obi sashes for kimono and yukata. You can also find it in everyday items such as purses, wallets, and neckties. The prices for Hakata-ori products vary depending on the item, usually, they start from 1,000 yen and above.
12. Hakata Dolls 博多人形
These unglazed figurines made from clay are one of the famous craft products of Fukuoka. Back in the 17th century, they had already been created as offerings to the temples and shrines as well as to the local daimyo. Today, the vivid dolls are still widely seen ornamenting the floats used at Fukuoka’s famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival.
Hakata dolls are a fine souvenir to those who appreciate traditional Japanese arts. You can find them in a variety of forms like beautiful ladies, warriors and cute animals, and the prices range from a few hundred to several hundred thousand yen.
Where to buy
Image: masuyahakatadoll on Instagram.
You can shop for souvenirs at the Fukuoka Airport, Hakata Station, and at many souvenirs and speciality shops within the city, for example, The Hakata Gift Shop inside the Canal City and Kawabata Shopping Arcade. The food souvenirs can also be found easily in department stores, supermarkets, and even drugstores.
For traditional crafts, you can go to Hakata Machiya Furusato-kan which is a museum dedicated to the culture, history, arts and crafts of Hakata. You can also learn about and buy these products at Hakata-ori Kougeikan, a Hakata textile factory museum, and Shogetsudo, a Hakata Doll speciality store.