Fantastic Fukuoka with kids – Kyushu September 2016

On a train to Uminonakamichi, Fukuoka.

Back story

Over the September holidays, we went to Fukuoka, bringing the 3 kids, and at the last minute decided to bring my ILs along too.

Many people have asked, what’s there to do in Fukuoka? Well we’d never been there, and, when is Japan ever a bad idea? Especially with kids? Please, that’s a rhetorical question. The answer is of course, JAPAN IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA!


The truth is, I was on the Singapore Airlines website (I am there often, I am only half joking when I say “I only want to go where SQ flies!”), and I saw that the tickets were SGD$1k a person on economy. Later I saw it drop to $700+, but when I bought for the ILs it was slightly over $1k (and about $100+ for tax). I also saw that seats were available for redemption for the September holidays. For ALL 5 of us! And best of all, airport tax was $46 per person. Don’t ask me why they didn’t charge any carrier surcharge (please don’t tell them either!). Also SQ is the only airline that flies SIN-FUK (yes, laugh if you must) direct, although it is a red eye flight there and an early return flight.

So I booked our flights in early April 2016 for September, and it was really worth while to redeem flights in this case. For more tips on how to make the most of your air miles, so check out this blog, he does a really detailed job of breaking down the mathematics of redeeming miles!

The only downside to redeeming? We were limited to 5 nights because the flights on other days were not available for redemption. After 5 days we were reluctant to leave and still wanted to explore more. The kids kept asking when we’d be back in Japan again!

In general we found Fukuoka to be a wonderful family holiday destination. It is a much smaller city, and according to Google maps, the airport is like 18 minute from the city centre. But taking a bus from the international to the domestic terminals will take 10 minutes. Go figure!

Smaller also means there are fewer tourists and I feel gives a city a more authentic vibe. That in turn means that less people were able to speak English, but the Japanese are always so polite and usually friendly, and I was able to get by with my limited Japanese. I actually had a tough time researching on things to do in Fukuoka/Kyushu, especially things catered to kids.

At most eating places within Fukuoka city, we found it relatively easy to get tables when we were early.

The itinerary


We landed in Fukuoka at 840am in the morning and the plan was to rent a car from the Fukuoka airport and drive to the other parts of Kyushu straight away. Since this was my ILs first time to Japan, we thought it would be a wonderful experience to stay in a ryokan, and we decided to stay in Hotel Shirogaku in Beppu, based on the location of the town, and the budget, availability etc. since it was rather last minute. We did not imagine how much we’d enjoy this trip here!

After comparing car rental prices, we decided to go with Nissan because they have a drop off point in Fukuoka city, specifically Tenjin where we would be staying. Toyota also has a car rental drop off point in the city, and it happened to be right next to our hotel in Fukuoka city. But Nissan was not too far away either. A few other car rental companies required airport return, and since we were going to spend a few days in the city (where we wouldn’t require a car), we wanted to return it as convenient as possible. So note: Richmond Tenjin Hotel – next to Toyota car rental. Nishitetsu Grand Hotel (my other option, but slightly more expensive) – next to Nissan car rental.

At the Fukuoka airport, the international wing is pretty small, probably because there are not many international flights servicing Fukuoka. There are maybe 4-5 belts for luggage only. Most of the other tourists were coming from Korea. And 90% of our flights (both ways) were all Japanese.

Once you exit customs, go straight to the information desk to get the directions to the domestic terminal where the car rentals are all located. They pointed us to a free shuttle bus, and the ride was pretty long because the two terminals are at opposite ends of the runway.

Fukuoka airport map

We managed to squeeze all the people and luggage into the Nissan Serena that we’d rented and off we went 🙂

Nissan Serena

The tray on the third row of seats certainly came in handy!!!

Stay tuned for more of our adventures! You can find ALL the Fukuoka posts here. but I’ve also listed them here for your easy reference:

You might also like to read about all our family travels here.

16 thoughts on “Fantastic Fukuoka with kids – Kyushu September 2016

  1. Eh! You got my head spinning and planning on a Japan trip! I love it the way you said you only go where SQ brings you to. Hahaha! Indeed a travel queen and love your short and specific tips, links and upcoming itinerary. You all are brave to drive in Japan too with the left hand drive but it will be the most convenient mode of transport with so many of you and 3 kids! Is it easy to get around on trains?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s easy to take a train to the different cities, But for some parts, like for the African Safari that we went to, if you don’t have a car I think you might be able to take a bus or something but so troublesome! Some more with 3 kids, it makes sense to drive lah. So I think it all depends on where you want to go.


  2. HAHAHA.. Thanks for the mention yo!

    I missed the insanely good Thai Airways promo recently. Not direct, need to transit in Bangkok, but only S$373 per pax to Fukuoka! But I agree for a direct flight, $700 is a good price for SIN – FUK flight.

    Waiting for the rest of your posts for my future trip to Fukuoka. There will be one. I swear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I’m q sure you will 😉 I saw the Thai promo too, but for the trouble you have to go to, with like a 2 hr or more flight transit, x 5 pax, I think it was not so “worth it”.


    1. Hello! Thank you for stopping by my blog! We had our family (2 adults and 3 kids), and I think we had 2 large luggage each, maybe one or two more soft duffel bags. My two in laws had one small to medium size luggage each which they had to put in the front at their feet in the middle row of the car. A little squishy but doable for us 🙂 Hope that helps!


      1. Hello – thanks for your reply – it look like you have 4 adults and 3 Kids (inclusive your in laws).

        We are also heading to Kyushu on 29th Nov 2018, we are planning to rent an Nissan Serena as well for our group size of 4 adults and 2 kids with 6 medium luggage. So i’m wondering if i could fill all into Nissan Serena !!


  3. Hi, your post inspired me to travel to Fukuoka this September! But I heard its Typhoon season, so is September really a good period to travel to Kyushu or any part of Japan?


    1. Hmm our first time was during the Sept holidays and it was fine. The weather globally is more unpredictable so I guess we just have to hope for the best in any season? 🙂 Enjoy your trip!!!


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