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'Yatai' food stalls bring spark to nightlife in Japan's Fukuoka

23 Comments
By Shiori Takita

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"There used to be some gray areas, such as unclear accounting practices, but since the ordinance came into effect, they are becoming an entity that visitors to Japan can use with peace of mind."

Yeah, folks used to get drunk and ripped off! But crap like that doesnt happen too much anymore as these owners dont want to affect their businesses.

Yatai are a great place to get a hot meal and drink!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I love the night markets normally present in many Asian cities, I hope this spread to other cities in Japan as well. It's weird that cities like Osaka doesn't already have one.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

In its Jan 12 travel section, The New York Times listed "52 Places to Go in 2023," featuring Fukuoka in 19th place.

I will concede I have yet to visit Nagoya but of all the Japanese cities I have been to Fukuoka is certainly the dullest.

Until the ordinance changes in 2013 you couldn't even dance there (although a few underground places dodged the rules ).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Some of the Health Authority "rules" are weird though. I was helping a friend set up at a beer festival in Naha. One of the rules was that you had to have a sink. We dutifully set it up. The inspector came round and checked off the things that were supposed to be there, including the sink.

There was a sink. If there hadn't been, he wouldn't have been given the OK to operate his beer yatai. But it wasn't connected to anything. There were no taps and there was nowhere for the water to drain.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I sure hope swarms of tourists don't create a crisis for the sacred yatais.

They are revered and is a place for the Japanese people to enjoy ramen and beer in peace, (without the annoyance of foreign tourists enjoying themselves and speaking in wicked tounges).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Fukuoka is my first love having first entered Japan as a foreign exchange student there in 1990.

(Ah, the discos....... I'm still waiting for the 2nd "bodycon" boom....)

This is a great city and every time I visit, I hit up the yatai. I think the cops should lighten up and allow more of them as its become something of a cartel.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Yatais are fun for tourist. However, they tend to be very expensive. Recently I have been searching for podcasts in English that can tell me fun things to do in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

During my travels abroad, I love to eat street food.

In most countries they are small mom and pop stalls serving home cooking.

I prefer to spend my money there than a exclusive restaurant charging a arm and a leg and serving some small portions on a large plate. lol

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The yatai of Fukuoka are great: they create a real atmosphere, and are a fantastic place for a night out.

It's always good to see them in any area of Japan. They're invariably surrounded by people out enjoying themselves with friends and family, often as part of the same community.

Long may they continue.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

All gone in the Enoshima area years ago. Never got ripped off. The food was fare, but the atmosphere was great. I have never been ripped off in 40 years here and I know my math. Theft is quite low here.

By the way: "100 food carts line the streets, enticing visitors to Japan among others to try their wares."

Food is not wares.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I love street food but you have to choose the right ones.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The restaurants there serve wild game such as deer and brown bear. 

LOVE deer- my favorite protein! BUT as for brown bear, no thank you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is sad we don't see many here in Kanto anymore. One day when I got off work, I saw a yatai parked near my usual bicycle parking lot that read "oden". I had this mesmerizing attraction to move towards the light like a bug. When I got closer though, it turns out they were getting ready for a drama shoot. Had to settle for a 7 eleven oden instead... I need to visit Fukuoka, it has been on my bucket list for a while.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Depressing.

Food stalls alone are a reason to have a pleasant life outside of Japan, at least for a couple of days.

I especially loved Malaysia, every day of the week a night market somewhere. Taiwan also the same. Seoul's "pojangmacha" are the best, great opportunity to meet different people and have a good laugh outdoors.

Its a shame these moments are limited to matsuri and hanabi days in Japan...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SDCAToday 08:54 am JST

It is sad we don't see many here in Kanto anymore.

I haven't been there for a while, but they used to have them regularly in Ueno Park at the weekend, in front of the big temple on Shinobazu Pond. They might still be there.

If not, it wouldn't be a wasted journey as you can get a similar atmosphere in Ameyoko and the adjacent streets (especially around/under the bridge.) Lots of places have tables outside. It's a great shitamachi night out :-)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fukuoka is a great city.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If not, it wouldn't be a wasted journey as you can get a similar atmosphere in Ameyoko and the adjacent streets (especially around/under the bridge.) Lots of places have tables outside. It's a great shitamachi night out :-)

But again, just like Fukuoka these are meant for the tourists etc. not the usual worker.. you dont find stalls or night markets around Roppongi, Toranomon, Mita, etc...Japan tried way too hard to erase their past as a "poor" country by any means so here you get clean cities just for show without people actually enjoying the public space.

Would it hurt to have these at least once a week?

https://thesmartlocal.kr/pocha-streets-seoul/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

finally richToday 10:41 am JST

But again, just like Fukuoka these are meant for the tourists etc. not the usual worker..

Not sure what you mean by this? The majority of people eating/drinking around Ameyoko are Japanese, plus a few foreigners on vacation etc. The number of foreigners will increase now that tourists are returning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Passing through that area of Fukuoka in the night during the Hiroshima- Nagasaki International Peace Ultramarathon in 1988, 1989 and 1995 is one of my best memories. Wonderful atmosphere. I returned there after the 1995 event, stayed in Fukuoka and went to eat there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@isabelle

Thanks! Will check it out!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You still see them in some spots but there is something special about a late night out and seeing a small spot to just grab some food to burn off the alcohol or feed yourself if you had to skip dinner.

Some places have taken to making those underground station restaurant avenues. The food may be similar but a lot of the vibe and atmosphere is just gone sadly

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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