How To Enjoy Yatai In Fukuoka

Today, I’m going to tell you about how to enjoy Yatai. What’s Yatai? They are stalls, the places where you can eat food outside. The traditional stall Japanese stall style has the lights that are shining on top of them. When you visit Fukuoka in Kyushu, it’s one of the bucket lists that you must go to. You can especially enjoy it in the wintertime. However, you probably don’t know what you should order and how you enjoy it. So, let’s get started! 

What’s Yatai?

*This drawing is a typical image of yatai for Japanese people.

As I mentioned earlier, yatai is a stall in English. It has a sign light on the top and has a lantern on both sides. It is also a mobile food truck. You might see it in many places like festivals and events. That’s true. Whenever there’s an event and a festival, yatai are a must-have there. 


According to Wikipedia, it’s said that yatai were already there around by 1650 of the Edo era. They sold oden, tempura, sushi, yakitori, and things that you could eat instantly. After World War Ⅱ, there were many illegal yatai here and there. Nowadays, you can see them at festivals and events. Among those, the one in Fukuoka is special. It is a famous tourist spot today. I’m going to share my following article. 

Location & Service Hours 

There are a lot of yatai areas in Fukuoka, but I’m going to tell you a place that it’s easy to access from the airport. You can access from the airport without transferring at Nakasu Kawabata St. (中洲川端駅). It’s in the Nakasu (中洲) area that is situated in Nakagawa Dori Ave (那珂川通り) along the Nakagawa River (那珂川). It starts around 5:30PM and goes until midnight. It depends on the stores. Generally speaking, there is no toilet, but don’t worry about it. There’s a toilet at convenience stores nearby or public toilets, so you can ask staff about it.

What Should You Eat?

Of course, you can eat whatever you want. I’d prefer to hop to a different yatai rather than staying at the same place. I’m going to share my recommendations below. 

No.1 Gyoza

*Gyoza goes with beer. It’s suitable for the first choice.
Outside is crispy but inside is chewy and juicy.

No.2 Atsukan

*Nothing beats atsukan (熱燗): hot sake in a cold day, especially at a yatai. You must order this drink. Like steak, you can choose what temperature you like. Atsukan (熱燗): very hot, but usually people choose this. Nurukan (ぬる燗): it’s not hot. Hitohadade (人肌で): it means “human temperature.” You might think it’s weird but it has more flavor instead of warming at high temperature. What’s more, when you order atsukan or hitohadade, other people might think you are a sake connoisseur. Let’s be honest, I don’t know the difference between nurukan and hitohadade. I think they are both the same. I choose depending on my feelings.

No.3 Mentaiko Omelette

*Mentaiko is one of the famous specialties in Fukuoka. The filling is full of mentaiko (roe). The combination between savory mentaiko and sweet eggs are amazing.

No.4 Oden

*In my opinion, oden is the representative yatai food. Atsukan is a good pair with oden, it goes without saying. If you don’t know what you should order on the oden menu, you can just say “Omakase de” (お任せで), which means “recommendation,” and the staff will pick out the menu for you.

No.5 Tonkotsu Ramen

*Do you know that Fukuoka is home to tonkotsu ramen? You can taste authentic Tonkotsu Ramen here. When you want more noodles, you can order only noodles. You can say “Kaedama kudasai ( 替え玉下さい),” which means “ Can I get more noodles, please?” In case you might order more noodles, don’t drink up all the soup at the beginning.

No.6 Tonkotsu Ramen Round 2

*You came here all the way. You have room for another bowl of ramen, huh? Red ginger is a nice change for your mouth. It also warms your body up.

No.7 Yaki Ramen

*Recently, it is said that Fukuoka is also home to yaki ramen. This food is getting popular in yatai in Fukuoka. You might wonder what the difference is between yakisoba and this. Well, it differs from the source. Yaki ramen sauce is based on tonkotsu soup stock. When you visit here, you must give it a shot.

Today’s list I visited

*No.1-3: 博多長浜ラーメン 山ちゃん

*No.4-5: 中洲の屋台 小島商店

*No.6-7: 博多屋台よっちゃん

If you have more time, you might want to visit…

Kishida shrine (櫛田神社)

*Yamagasa (山笠) is a sacred decoration using for historical summer festival that is designated as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. You can see how elaborate the decoration is.

*There is a multi-language vending machine. You might want to draw a fortune-telling-slip.

Ichiran headquarter (一蘭総本店)

*This ramen restaurant is already expanding its businesses overseas to places like the U.S., Hong Kong, and Taiwan. You might want to eat authentic Ichiran here. 

How was it? Nowadays, most staff can speak English, so you can communicate with them. For me, yatai is one of the Japanese drinking cultures where you might get closer with strangers there by drinking a little. Frankly speaking, it’s a bit costly to eat yatai, but it’s worth it. Aside from the Nakasu area, there are more yatai in Fukuoka. If you have more time to stay, you can explore another one. Thank you for taking time to read my article to the end. See you in my next article soon!

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