- 5 min read

Fukuoka Day Trip: Itoshima's Genkai-Quasi National Park

Located roughly an hour away from Fukuoka Prefecture’s metropolitan area, Itoshima is a beautiful peninsula favored by locals for its stunning sea views, beginner-friendly hiking trails, and fresh, delicious seafood.

You’ve heard of Hakata, Tenjin, Dazaifu, and maybe even Yanagawa – but another of Fukuoka’s hidden gems is the Itoshima peninsula. This two-part Itoshima series will cover both its Sakurai Futamigurai Couple Stones and its Genkai-Quasi National Park.

In particular, this article will cover the Genkai-Quasi National Park’s Mt. Tateishi, Keya Beach, the Totoro Forest, Keya no Oto, and local food pit stops in the area to catch a break in between your adventure.

Mt. Tateishi

Offering a breathtaking view of Itoshima’s seascape, scaling the peak of Mt. Tateishi is both refreshing to the mind and energizing to the body. Overlooking Shima town that uniquely extends out of the Keya coast, a far-reaching view of all of Itoshima island, and stunning views of the sea all round, the moderately difficult climb is well worth it.

A beginner-friendly trail that can be conquered even by beginners in sneakers, the dry, sandy trail absent of the usual lush trees one might see on other hikes makes for great scenery all the way up and down the mountain. No matter the season, Mt. Tateishi has something to offer.

Climbing a little further up the mountain past where most climbers would stop to take in the iconic Mt. Tateishi view, a box containing free wooden plaques stamped with a ‘Itoshima, Tateishi’ insignia can be found. A ‘Take Free’ sign encourages all visitors to take home a little part of Mt. Tateishi with them.

There are two ways to climb Mt. Tateishi. Most access it by car: drivers can drive up most of the mountain and park at a small parking space, and from there, enjoy a leisurely 10- to 15-minute climb up to the peak. I climbed Mt. Tateishi without a car but following the same route: from the base of the mountain, it took roughly 30 minutes to the peak, and my descent using the second trail between Keya Beach and the peak took roughly the same amount of time.

Keep in mind that while the descending trail is filled with many amazing photo spots that most miss out on, it’s also a little harder to complete than its counterpart trail. If you’re feeling like challenging yourself and getting your hands dirty, I’d highly recommend attempting both trails like I did!

Keya Beach

Descending Mt. Tateishi via the Keya Beach trailhead leads you into a hidden exit off the main Keya beach coast. You’re greeted with a salty sea breeze, soft waves lapping against uneven rock formations, and clear waters. The beach is also the venue for the annual outdoor concert Sunset Live, a 2-day summer festival held in Fukuoka. A hidden gem, Keya Beach is a getaway from the usual crowds that flock to beaches in the height of summer.

Keya no Oto

Nearby Keya Beach is Keya no Oto, a naturally-formed cave formation spanning around 64 meters in height and 90 meters in length. The beautiful, hexagonal-shaped formations are a product of the waves naturally crashing against rock. A spectacle from along the island coast, you can get up close and personal with the rock formations whilst on a 30-minute boat tour, offered during select periods within the year.

Totoro Forest

Attached to the Keya no Oto cave formations is what has come to be known as ‘Totoro Forest’ by Itoshima locals. Because this portion of Shima town protrudes out of the main island and the forest’s location at the very end of this protrusion, the sea breeze hits the forest on all sides, constantly forcing the leaves of all trees found in the forest to grow into the dome shape that resembles the forest found in the famous ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ film by Studio Ghibli.

The roughly-cleared trails within the forest lined with camellia trees are covered with the shadows of their leaves, making the trails feel like magical, natural tunnels into another dimension.

Food

Itoshima is also well-known for the large variety of fresh seafood it offers. There are many small, local-run restaurants found within the small peninsula selling fresh daily catches for extremely reasonable prices.

A great find amongst all these seafood spots is Loiter Market, an ice-cream vendor selling hand-made gelato from her humble food truck.

Priced at only ¥500 (though prices may increase by ¥100 to ¥200 if premium flavors are selected), this generous portion of delicious gelato bursting with flavor and fresh ingredients is the perfect snack to prepare for or reward yourself after exploring the island.

Conclusion

Only an hour and a half away from Fukuoka’s city center, Itoshima is a must-visit hidden gem in Fukuoka prefecture. Just the Southern part of the island alone is home to a number of unique experiences and views, and is bound to fill up a half-day itinerary with ease.

Traveling around Itoshima by car would be the most efficient way to take in all the island has to offer, but getting around by renting a bicycle or simply taking the bus is also possible. Include Itoshima in your plan the next time you’re in Fukuoka!

Getting there

I recommend driving about 30 minutes from Fukuoka’s city center to Itoshima.

Alternatively, you can take the Airport Line from JR Hakata Station to Chikuzen-Maebaru Station, followed by a local bus to the area. Taking public transportation will take you about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on your destination on Itoshima island, but be warned that buses to and from Itoshima, as well as within Itoshima, do not run regularly.

0
1
Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Join the discussion

Martin Heckmann 7 months ago
Hello, thanks for the great post. Would you recommend to stay in Itoshima directly in order to be closer to the park, e.g. for two days or so? Thanks, Martin

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.