Itoshima Peninsula 糸島半島
A beach paradise located less than an hour from the center of Fukuoka City
Itoshima is a closely guarded secret for many Fukuoka locals. Less than an hour out of the center of the city, this sunny peninsula has sandy beaches, a busy surf scene and some epic hikes.
- Barbecuing seafood to your heart's content
- Itoshima's incredible winter surf season
- Excellent hiking, and the stunning Shiraito Falls
How to Get There
To truly enjoy Itoshima, a car is the best option. Public transport is available in the area but is very infrequent.
A scenic coastline
The most scenic way to Itoshima from Fukuoka is to follow the coastline around the peninsula. The road winds in and out of the bays, and you'll likely find yourself stopping to take pictures before you get anywhere near your planned destination.
Beaches, beaches everywhere
The further you get into Itoshima, the prettier the beaches become.
Futamigaura is considered the sunset strip and is home to several excellent beachside cafes and a couple of surf shops where you can rent surfboards, bodyboards and standup paddleboards. Futamigaura is also home to Meoto Iwa , a pair of frequently photographed "husband and wife" rocks linked together by a rope.
Keya Beach is equally scenic, and there are several surf points between Keya Beach and Futamigaura Beach. The sunset at Nogita Beach is ranked in the top 100 sunsets in Japan and has several well-known cafes, including Hinode. This local favorite serves tacos topped with locally grown vegetables at reasonable prices.
A cyclist's paradise
The smooth roads, open flats and scenery make the peninsula a cyclist's paradise. It takes a little effort to get out of Fukuoka and into Itoshima proper, but once you're there, you'll never look back. You'll not be the only one cycling on the roads either; Itoshima is frequented by everyone from day-tripping hobbyists to time trial superstars.
Heading inland away from the coastline, the land rises steeply to mountains over 1,000 meters tall. An excellent hike brings you to the top of Raizan, and the Raizansennyoji Taihioin Temple is well worth a visit, with several towering trees that make for a perfect picture.
Shiraito Falls is a popular waterfall where you can enjoy the Japanese summer pastime of nagashi-somen, in which noodles are sent down a bamboo pipe and you must catch them with your chopsticks as they pass. There are several small pools with fish for children to catch, and some hiking paths that lead off from the waterfall.
Arts and crafts
It's good to spend some time in the villages around the peninsula, as many are home to unique arts and crafts shops. Studio Kura in Nijo hosts regular exhibitions alongside painting classes and has an ambitious artists in residence program that draws artists from abroad.
A winter treat
During the winter, many of the port towns along the Itoshima Peninsula open kakigoya, temporary oyster huts where you can barbecue a wide variety of seafood including oysters. Though a relatively recent phenomenon, these oyster huts have proved incredibly popular, and the best ones require booking in advance.