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Fukuoka sits in a pocket of land on the northern coast of Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island. The city’s most famous landmark is Fukuoka Tower, and while it is not the prettiest of buildings, it offers sweeping views of the city to the south, east and west.

Urban sprawl? Yes, but the kind that is neatly contained by the mountains that circle the city. If Tokyo seems endless, then Fukuoka is manageable; it takes only 12 minutes to get from the city center to the airport, one of the busiest in the world.

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