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Fukuoka was formed by the marriage of two cities – the port city of Hakata and the castle town of Fukuoka – in the late 19th century. The alliance has resulted in a something of a dual nature. Fukuoka is bursting with activity, and yet also laid back. Ultimately, this means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds – urban exploring in the vibrant city centre, and relaxing in the tranquil parks and on the waterfront. Fukuoka is Japan's 6th largest city and the largest on Kyushu Island. Food is a big deal here and the region is renowned for its culinary tradition. Hakata ramen and mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock and cod) are notable specialties and the Yatai street stalls in the Tenjin and Nakasu areas sell a mouth-watering variety of dishes every evening. Getting around is quick and simple using the JR Kyushu trains, a private train line and three subway lines. Arriving is also easy as the city is served by a Fukuoka Airport and two high-speed trains – the Sanyo Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen. The weather is generally good with warm summers and fairly mild winters, so it’s always a good time for discovering the many attractions.