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Kyushu's Biggest and Most Cosmopolitan City
Make like the Mongols and set your sights on Fukuoka, located on the northern Kyushu coast. Pray, however, that you have better weather than the Mongols did, since they were forced by terrible storms — the "kamikaze" (divine winds) — to turn their invading ships around, not once but twice in the 13th century! These days Fukuoka is a friendly and cosmopolitan city, recently dubbed "the best place in the world for shopping" by UK-based Monocle magazine, and its conveniently located airport location makes it a great gateway for exploring the rest of the Kyushu region.
Fukuoka is home to one of Japan's most famous ramen styles, the very porky Hakata Ramen, which you can sample along with yakitori (chicken skewers) and oden (hot pot) at evening open-air food stalls called yatai. The string of eateries fronting the river on the south end of Nakasu Island are the most atmospheric and great places to have a bite and a drink with the locals!