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Fukuoka (foo-koo-oh-kah, with the first "f" only slightly voiced so it sounds almost like an "h") is a city and prefecture on the north side of the Japanese island of Kyushu, about 90 minutes by plane from Tokyo. The prefecture has a population of 4.9 million, distributed among 97 municipalities, including 24 cities:
  1. Fukuoka 1,248,000
  2. Kitakyushu 1,012,000
  3. Kurume 232,000
  4. Omuta 145,000
  5. Kasuga 100,000
  6. Chikushino 85,000
  7. Onojo 84,000
  8. Iizuka 82,000
  9. Munakata 78,000
  10. Yukuhashi 70,000
  11. Dazaifu 64,000
  12. Nogata 62,000
  13. Maebara 61,000
  14. Tagawa 56,000
  15. Koga 53,000
  16. Ogori 52,000
  17. Nakama 50,000
  18. Chikugo 46,000
  19. Okawa 44,000
  20. Yanagawa 44,000
  21. Amagi 44,000
  22. Yame 40,000
  23. Buzen 30,000
  24. Yamada 13,000
The city, which was founded in 1889, is divided into the wards of Chuo, Hakata, Higashi, Jonan, Minami, Nishi, and Sawara. The main business districts are Hakata, Tenjin, and Nakasu, and they are connected by the Fukuoka City Subway.

Historically, the Fukuoka area was where Japanese civilization began around the 400's AD: the dominant Japanese culture, however, developed in the Nara region. It has been an international trade center since the 1400's, mostly because it's right across the Tsushima Strait from Korea and only an hour by plane from Busan. A well-balanced array of industries has developed in the prefecture to take advantage of its location and its good seaports.

There are many ways to get to Fukuoka. The main Shinkansen line from Tokyo and Osaka ends at Hakata Station, and JR and Nishitetsu trains serve other cities in Kyushu. There is a 3-hour hydrofoil service to Busan. Fukuoka Airport has scheduled flights to cities throughout Japan, Asia, and Oceania.

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