Translating as “the island in the middle”, Nakasu lies on an island between the Naka and Hakata Rivers in Fukuoka City. It serves as the city’s red-light district, lined with adult entertainment bars, restaurants and shops, and one of the largest of its kind in Japan.
In addition to its red-light establishments, Nakasu is a popular shopping area, with street markets along the Naka-gawa River and large-scale shopping malls such as Hakata Riverain and Canal City Hakata at its southern end. In the evening, street food stalls line Showa-dori, dishing up everything from Chinese noodles to tacos and pizza, together with popular Japanese foods and the local specialty, Hakata Ramen. This scene is backed by the colourful neon lights for which Nakasu is renowned, with the views from the Fukuhaku Deai Bridge particularly famous. Just to the west is Tenjin where large department stores and fashion boutiques can be found, together with business offices and trendy cafes and restaurants.
Nakasu is situated to the west of Hakata Station are linked by subway along the Airport Line to Nakasu-Kawabata Station. The island itself is relatively small and can be explored on foot, or there are public buses available also.
Nakasu was created in the early 17th century by the daimyo of Fukuoka-Han, Kuroda Nagamasa, to link Chūō-ku and Hakata-ku. It originated with just two bridges, Higashi Nakajima and Nishi Nakajima, which connected the island to the surrounding districts and now features 18 in total.