Its geographic location close to the Korean peninsula and China have kept Fukuoka City a center for commerce and culture for over two thousand years, and it continues to develop today as the center for government, economy and culture in the western Japan and Kyushu regions. Situated on the north coast of Kyushu, the city is the seat of the Fukuoka prefectural government. It is the fifth-largest city in Japan in terms of population, with about 1.55 million residents.
Fukuoka Airport, only ten minutes by subway from downtown, is a hub for air travel, served by twenty-six domestic and twenty international routes. Fukuoka also boasts Hakata Port, the largest international port in Japan; Hakata Station for the Shinkansen bullet train service; and the Urban Expressway network. With twenty universities and colleges, Fukuoka City also has the third-highest ratio of students in Japan, following only Kyoto and Tokyo.
Fukuoka City offers world-class shopping and outstanding local and international cuisine, yet with mountains and beaches close at hand. The city is also rich in historical artifacts and sites, including the Gold Seal (a national treasure) and many temples and shrines, including the first Zen temple in Japan, Shofuku-ji.
Fukuoka also offers an array of cultural and entertainment facilities such as historical and art museums and theaters. The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks professional baseball team and the Avispa Fukuoka professional soccer team are based here, and the national sumo wrestling tournament is held here each autumn. The people of Fukuoka love festivals, welcoming domestic and international tourists to the Hakata Dontaku and Hakata Gion Yamakasa festivals and the month-long Asian Party events.
Fukuoka City has been selected as the “most livable city in Asia” three times by Asiaweek magazine, and in 2006 Newsweek placed it on its list of the ten highest-growth cities in the world. Monocle, a British international lifestyle magazine that publishes a list of the 25 most livable cities in the world every year, ranked the city as the 7th most livable city in 2016, above Sydney, Kyoto and Zurich.