I lived in Munakata for a year and I can say that I found my home away from home in this small but lovely city. Munakata (宗像) is a city in Fukuoka Prefecture which is located in between two big cities – Fukuoka and Kitakyushu. It is about a 40-minute train ride from Hakata Station and Kokura Station. Although Munakata city is not as big as the two other cities, there are still many places worth visiting in Munakata.
Munakata Taisha (Munakata Shrine) is not just the most famous shrine in Munakata but also in the whole Fukuoka area. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is also the head of approximately 6000 shrines all over the country. The shrine is dedicated to the three goddesses of Munakata or “Munakata Sanjoshin” (The Three Female Kami of Munakata). These goddesses are believed to be the daughters of the god Amaterasu, the ancestor of the imperial family. The goddesses are Ichikishimahime, Tagitsuhime and Tagorihime. There are many festivals and events celebrated in Munakata Taisha and one of them is the Chrysanthemum Festivals held in November.
Global Arena is a sports venue which has various grounds for rugby, tennis, soccer and also has indoor facilities for kendo, judo and tennis. This sports venue is the home ground for Fukuoka Sanix Blues, a famous Japanese rugby union team. I am not a sports fanatic, but I always go to Global Arena to tone my muscles in their Training Gym. There are also some nice restaurants where you can have a good plate of crabs and my favorite, the eat-all-you-can style restaurant. There is also a beer garden, a drink-all-you can heaven. Global Arena also holds Bulgaria Festival once a year.
If you want fresh products, this place is highly recommended. Not only people from Munakata come here, but even people from other towns and cities. This wooden building provides a relaxing and homey atmosphere while shopping for fresh fruits, vegetables and fish. If you come here on weekends or holidays, you might be able to try their special original lunch. Michi no Eki is located close to the Genkai National Park, so you can also enjoy the breath-taking view of the long stretch of white sand and pines before or after shopping. There are still many more places in Munakata that will make your trip memorable and your stay comfortable. Find out when you get there. It is quiet. It is very convenient. It is full of leisure and fun.