With three weeks in Fukuoka, we had plenty of time for day trips and the best one was our trip to Nokonoshima Island. It's close to the city and small enough to walk around in a day, but with a sleepy fishing village and beautiful island views it's a lovely change from city life.
The ferry leaves regularly from Meinohama port and only takes 10 minutes. Ours was packed with people going fishing in the rock pools (spot them below).
In some ways, Nokonoshima is similar to the art islands, a traditional fishing island that's been regenerated by tourism. The port area (the main settlement on the island) is really just a village with a few small fishing boats. There are a couple of restaurants and a tiny shop with maps of the island.
For lunch, we decided on sashimi at one of the little traditional Japanese places near the port. Noko Kamome is run by two old ladies and the clientele are fishermen, which is exactly what you want when you're looking for fresh sashimi. It was some of the best we've had, but the real highlight was the side dish of pickled mackerel. It doesn't look like much (actually it looks kind of gross), but it was so delicate – crunchy, light, sour and sweet all at once.
The big draw to Nokonoshima is the park on the other side of the island. There are rental bikes at the port and a bus service, but we visited on a perfectly sunny day so we walked. Be warned, it is mostly uphill, but there are good views along the way.
The island park is full of perfectly manicured gardens, a little farm area and a few games, like the giant football. Different flowers bloom at different times of the year, so if you're expecting to see fields of yellow (the image that most often comes up when you Google the park), check what's in season before you go. Even if you're there at the wrong time of year for the blossoms, like we were, it's still a nice place to spend an afternoon and have a picnic.