Canal City – Your Passage to Fun, Food, Shopping, and More

Whether you are you looking for something to eat, the latest fashion, or to watch the newest blockbuster movie, Canal City has you covered for all that and more.

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Canal City – A City within a City

Canal City, popularly referred to as “a city within a city,” is a massive shopping complex located in Hakata, Fukuoka. The 2.5 million square feet complex with over 270 shops sits adjacent to Fukuoka’s entertainment district and between the commercial and retail core of the city. It comes equipped with a variety of foreign and domestic shops, cafes, restaurants, a theater, a game center, a cinema, luxury hotels, and an artificial canal that runs directly through it – hence the name Canal City.  Its swirly and futuristic architecture makes it feel like you have just been transported to a world created by the great George Lucas, minus the Ewoks and Stormtroopers of course.

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The canal cuts between the shopping complex and the Grand Hyatt hotel. At the center of the plaza, there is a fountain show every hour on the hour accompanied by classical music. There is also a mini-fountain show without music every hour on the half an hour. The amphitheater shaped plaza allows for easy viewing of the fountain show from any of its five floors. Canal City is especially beautiful at night when the decorative lights provide for a romantic, and even magical experience.

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There are many shops at Canal City that range from Japanese brands like Uniqlo, Muji, and Studio Ghibli’s Donguri Kyouwakoku, to European and American brands like Coach, Zara, Michael Kors, Timberland, Disney, and United Colors of Benetton.  Of the 270 shops at Canal City you can receive an 8% duty exemption at 52 of them by simply presenting your passport; however, the purchase must be over 10,001 yen and excludes consumables.  The complex also includes convenient amenities such as international ATMs, coin lockers, an internet corner, an information counter, and a service and floor guide pamphlet equipped with dialogues in English and Japanese, which can be used as a fun way to quiz yourself when studying Japanese.

Ramen Stadium and Other Places to Eat at Canal City

On the 5th floor of Canal City is a popular attraction called Ramen Stadium. Despite the name, Ramen Stadium provides more of a village-like atmosphere with eight different ramen shops from eight different regions of Japan. Each shop has a vending machine at the entrance where you must purchase your order before entering. Some of the shops have their menu in English and Japanese. Any lover of the Japanese staple must visit Ramen Stadium at least once, or maybe eight just to experience all of Japan without leaving Fukuoka.

If you have a taste for something other than ramen, don’t worry; Canal City has a variety of eating facilities ranging from fast food to fine dining, and cafes to bakeries. Whether you are in the mood for traditional Japanese cooking, or some other flavors from around the world, Canal City has got you covered. With close to 50 restaurants, including bars, fast food, cafes, and bakeries, Canal City offers spices from Spain, China, Italy, France, America, and more.

The variety of restaurants makes it easy to accommodate just about everyone. If you are visiting with a group, or have shopped yourself into starvation, then one of the four buffets might be the one for you. Harumi Kurihara’s Yutori no Kukan has become wildly popular and offers dishes prepared from her own recipes.  If you are child at heart, there is Moomin Bakery and Café that was created after the beloved Finish children’s book and comic strip The Moomins. The café takes you into the world of The Moomins and has a vast menu of desserts, dishes, and pastries.

The ambience of Canal City drastically changes once the sun sets. With the decorative lights reflecting off the Grand Hyatt and the canal, and the water from the fountain show dancing high to the sounds of Frank Sinatra, it is easy to see why this place is also a popular dating spot.  The Grand Hyatt offers a glimpse of Canal City from the other side and provides for a romantic evening with your loved one. Whether it is taking in an evening drink at Martini’s or Bar Fizz, or eating a full course meal chased with a glass of wine at Djobi Djoba, Chi-na, or Sallea Manager, the restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Canal City can offer a much needed romantic evening if you have a special person in your life.

Of course, if you would rather do more shopping than eating, the complex has your typical American fast food chains, such as McDonalds, KFC, and Subway. Or, if you would prefer a quick fix in the Japanese fashion, you could stop at Tsukiji Gindaco’s and take a bite of their popular takoyaki.

Learn Japanese by Attending a Western Broadway Show in Japanese

On the 4th floor you can attend a Western musical or play at Canal City Theater. With a little over 1,000 seats and a large stage, the theater has been home to many Broadway plays allowing its visitors to experience the performance up close and personal. The theater is not only for plays and musicals, but it also gives you the opportunity to experience readings, Japanese comedy, and traditional art performances. The actors and dialogue are all Japanese, so it is a good time to remember your favorite lines from your favorite plays and pick up on the Japanese translation.

In addition to Canal City Theater, the complex offers many other forms of entertainment. United Cinema is a 13-screen movie theater with IMAX that plays the latest Japanese blockbusters, as well as a handful of Hollywood movies in English with Japanese subtitles. There is also Taito Station, a game center where you can play arcade video games and casino style slot machines. The intensity of Japanese game centers is something to experience even if it is just a walk through. It is nothing like your 1985 neighborhood arcade.

Canal City is conveniently located between Tenjin and Nakasu. It is a refreshing 10–15 minute stroll from either Hakata or Tenjin Station.  However, if you would rather spend that time and energy on the many attractions at Canal City, you can easily take a loop bus from either station for 100 yen. The bus departs every 5 to 10 minutes.