Hakata Bay

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The city of Fukuoka encircling Hakata Bay (light blue). The colored areas represent the different wards of the city. Wards of Fukuoka City Japan.png
The city of Fukuoka encircling Hakata Bay (light blue). The colored areas represent the different wards of the city.
View of Hakata Bay from Noko Island. Land on the left is Umino Nakamichi View of Uminonakamichi from Nokonoshima Island.JPG
View of Hakata Bay from Noko Island. Land on the left is Umino Nakamichi
View of Hakata Bay and center of Fukuoka City from Noko Island View of Hakata Bay and Fukuoka City from Nokonoshima Island 20140506.JPG
View of Hakata Bay and center of Fukuoka City from Noko Island

Hakata Bay(博多湾,Hakata-wan) is a bay in the northwestern part of Fukuoka city, on the Japanese island of Kyūshū. It faces the Tsushima Strait, and features beaches and a port, though parts of the bay have been reclaimed in the expansion of the city of Fukuoka. The bay is perhaps most famous for the Mongol invasions of Japan of 1274 and 1281 which took place nearby; both invasions are sometimes referred to as the "Battle of Hakata Bay."

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Tsushima Strait eastern channel of the Korea Strait

Tsushima Strait or Eastern Channel is a channel of the Korea Strait, which lies between Korea and Japan, connecting the Sea of Japan, the Yellow Sea, and the East China Sea.

Beach Area of loose particles at the edge of the sea or other body of water

A beach is a landform alongside a body of water which consists of loose particles. The particles composing a beach are typically made from rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles. The particles can also be biological in origin, such as mollusc shells or coralline algae.



The Bay is defined by shoal Umi-no-nakamichi and tombolo Shika-no-shima (Shika Island) to the north, and Genkai-jima (Genkai Island) to the northwest, and the Itoshima Peninsula to the west. Five wards of Fukuoka city border on the bay, which is sometimes labeled "Fukuoka Bay" on maps. Sometimes, the bay is divided into Hakata, Fukuoka, and Imazu Bays, though for simplicity's sake, the term "Hakata Bay" is commonly used as a catch-all to refer to all three.

Shoal A natural landform that rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface and is covered by unconsolidated material

In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, a shoal is a natural submerged ridge, bank, or bar that consists of, or is covered by, sand or other unconsolidated material, and rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface. Often it refers to those submerged ridges, banks, or bars that rise near enough to the surface of a body of water as to constitute a danger to navigation. Shoals are also known as sandbanks, sandbars, or gravelbars. Two or more shoals that are either separated by shared troughs or interconnected by past or present sedimentary and hydrographic processes are referred to as a shoal complex.

Umi no Nakamichi

Umi no Nakamichi (海の中道) is a tombolo in Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It connects Kyushu Island and Shikanoshima Island. It is 8km in length and up to 2.5 km in width. Its northern coast borders Genkai Sea and its southern coast Hakata Bay. There are many resorts. Most of the area is covered with sand hills but there is a terrace on the Northern side of the tombolo, where sands are believed to have been deposited during the Pleistocene.

Tombolo A deposition landform in which an island is connected to the mainland by a sandy isthmus

A tombolo, from the Italian tombolo, derived from the Latin tumulus, meaning 'mound', and sometimes translated as ayre, is a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar. Once attached, the island is then known as a tied island. A tombolo is a sandy isthmus.

The bay is roughly 10 km from north to south, and 20 km from east to west, covering an area of roughly 133 km². The coastline stretches 128 km. The mouth of the bay is only 7.7 km wide, shielding it to a great extent from the waves of the Strait. The bay is only 10 metres deep on average, 23 m at its deepest point, though the tides bring a two-metre change in the water level. Set routes are used, therefore, through the bay, to protect ships' drafts.

Draft (hull) the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel)

The draft or draught of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel), with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained. Draft determines the minimum depth of water a ship or boat can safely navigate. The draft can also be used to determine the weight of the cargo on board by calculating the total displacement of water and then using Archimedes' principle. A table made by the shipyard shows the water displacement for each draft. The density of the water and the content of the ship's bunkers has to be taken into account. The closely related term "trim" is defined as the difference between the forward and aft drafts.

Land reclamation began to be undertaken before the Meiji period, and continued into the post-war period. Since 1945, 1167 square kilometres of land have been reclaimed from the bay, primarily to improve or reinforce the effective functioning of the port. In 1994, an artificial island was begun to be created and called "Island City" (アイランドシティ, Airandoshiti).

Meiji period Japanese era 1868–1912

The Meiji period, or Meiji era, is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonisation by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialised nationstate and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, technological, philosophical, political, legal, and aesthetic ideas. As a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, and affected its social structure, internal politics, economy, military, and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was succeeded upon the accession of Emperor Taishō by the Taishō period.

Some particular petrified trees in the area are said to have been the masts of ships used in Empress Jingū's third century invasion of Korea. Veins of mica and pegmatite under the bay, part of a geologic fault, are under governmental protection.

Petrified wood fossilized remains of plants

Petrified wood is the name given to a special type of fossilized remains of terrestrial vegetation. It is the result of a tree or tree-like plants having completely transitioned to stone by the process of permineralization. All the organic materials have been replaced with minerals, while retaining the original structure of the stem tissue. Unlike other types of fossils which are typically impressions or compressions, petrified wood is a three-dimensional representation of the original organic material.

Mica phyllosilicate minerals

The mica group of sheet silicate (phyllosilicate) minerals includes several closely related materials having nearly perfect basal cleavage. All are monoclinic, with a tendency towards pseudohexagonal crystals, and are similar in chemical composition. The nearly perfect cleavage, which is the most prominent characteristic of mica, is explained by the hexagonal sheet-like arrangement of its atoms.

Pegmatite Very coarse grained plutonic rock

A pegmatite is an igneous rock, formed underground, with interlocking crystals usually larger than 2.5 cm in size (1 in). Most pegmatites are found in sheets of rock near large masses of igneous rocks called batholiths.

Much of the area is included in the Genkai National Park, and efforts are made to maintain and preserve the natural features and environment both in the bay and on its islands. Though much of the shoreline is natural, some parts, particularly in and around the port itself, are artificial and developed upon; the bay's shoreline was, somewhat crudely, officially designated as natural wilderness and parkland.


A number of small islands are contained either within the bay or around it.

Island City, Fukuoka

Island City (アイランドシティ) is artificial island in Hakata Bay, Fukuoka, Japan. Island Tower Sky Club and Teriha Sekisui House Arena are on this island.


The bay and its surrounding settlements were active and significant locations as early as the 3rd century and the Kofun period. Many historical figures of great significance passed through or lived in Hakata, and many major events occurred there. The ruins of Fukuoka Castle lie along the bay, and an active port has existed there for many centuries.

The area is said to have been recognized by China as early as 57 CE. Emperor Guangwu of Han is believed to have bestowed a Golden Seal to the local leaders, acknowledging (or granting) their authority over the area then called Na no kuni (奴国, Na Country or Na Province). Emissaries from the Chinese kingdom of Cao Wei arrived in the 3rd century, and Empress Jingū is said to have launched her invasion of Korea from this port. By the 7th century, Hakata was the port through which official missions to T'ang China were sent and received.

Following the defeat of Yamato (Japan) and Baekche in the battle of Hakusukinoe in 663, fears arose of invasions from Silla and China, and areas around the bay were fortified. The first mention of the area (by the name Chikushi) in the Nihon Shoki corresponds to this time period.

Kūkai was one of many famous people who journeyed to China through this port. In 806, he returned to Japan and founded Tōchō-ji Temple nearby. Sugawara no Michizane, after having been ambassador to China, and holding a number of other high posts at Court in Kyoto, was demoted to a post in Hakata in 901. Fujiwara no Sumitomo, having opposed Taira no Masakado's rebellion in 939, fled to Hakata two years later, where he was captured and killed.

As the closest major bay and port to mainland Asia in Japan, Hakata has played a major role in diplomacy and trade with Korea and China throughout much of history. This also made it, however, a key point of attack for attempts to invade the Japanese islands. In the Toi Invasion of 1019, Jurchens seized several nearby islands, using them as bases from which to raid and attack Hakata.

Mongol emissaries first arrived in 1268, and all the samurai armies of Kyūshū was mobilized in anticipation of the first of the Mongol invasions of Japan, which came six years later. Kublai Khan's forces seized Tsushima and Iki Island before landing on the shores of Hakata Bay on November 19. The invaders were eventually repelled, and extensive fortification efforts were undertaken in the ensuing years. The second invasion arrived in 1281, and was similarly repelled. [1] :442–450 Though referred to in Japanese as the battles of Bun'ei and Kōan (文永と弘安の役), both of these invasion attempts are frequently referred to in English sources as the "Battle of Hakata Bay."

In April 1336, at Tadara-no-hama on the bay, Ashikaga Takauji led a force against the Kikuchi clan, allies of Go-Daigo, led by Kikuchi Taketoshi. Victorious, Takauji "at one stroke the Ashikaga leader became virtually master of Kyushi." [1]

Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier arrived in Hakata in 1550, introducing Christianity to Japan. Kyūshū would be the center of Christianity in Japan for several decades, as a number of daimyō (feudal lords) and their subjects converted. Toyotomi Hideyoshi invaded the island in 1587, and banished the missionaries, outlawing Christianity as a threat to his power.

Through the Edo period (1603-1868), Hakata handled only for domestic trade, as international trade or travel was forbidden by the Tokugawa shogunate except at designated ports. Hakata reopened to international trade in 1899. Following the end of World War II, this was one of the primary ports through which Japanese soldiers and civilian residents of the colonies were repatriated. Hakata remained an important port throughout the post-war period, and still serves this function today.

Coordinates: 33°37′05″N130°19′59″E / 33.6180°N 130.3330°E / 33.6180; 130.3330

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  1. 1 2 Sansom, George (1961). A History of Japan, 1334-1615. Stanford University Press. p. 47. ISBN   0804705259.