After arriving in Fukuoka on Christmas day, our super hectic 9 AM to 9 PM tour around the city finally commenced on the 26th of December. Fukuoka is a very small and simple place compared to other places in Japan I’ve been to (Tokyo, Nara, Kyoto and Osaka specifically) but it has its own charm, I believe. It used to be a merchant town with a very rich history, being the gateway to Japan a long time ago. I definitely wouldn’t mind visiting this place every so often - such a quaint place perfect for a much-needed peaceful vacation.
Photo-heavy entry ahead:
Early morning at some random street. I love how everywhere you go in Japan, it’s always so clean and orderly.
Couple holding hands before crossing the street.
Hakata-bei at the Rakusui-en Garden. The locals didn’t want the ruins of original Hakata buildings to go to waste after the war so they made these patterns and used the materials to create these famous Hakata walls. Recycling at its finest.
Lovely Japanese garden. Here also lies a reconstructed Meiji period tea house where I was able to try out their maccha tea along with some complementary Japanese sweets.
Authentic green tea that was rather bitter but meshed so perfectly with the sweets served with it.
Took a photo of this vending machine because my brothers ended up getting addicted to Suntory Boss Coffee Rainbow Mountain Blend.
Passed by Canal City for about 5 minutes on the way to Kushida Shrine. Canal City had a grand sale the day before I left Fukuoka so I ended up going here the second time during my stay.
In Kushida shrine, there was this magnificently decorated float dedicated to the gods Ohatanushi-no-mikoto, Amaterasu-omikami and Susanowo-no-mikoto.
Our tour guide Hiro-san showed us an artwork of how men would look like during the Yamakasa festival. She said her previous tourist clients would always giggle after seeing this. I could only imagine.
She also mentioned something about this rock in the shrine that locals use to determine whether or not someone is fit for sumo wrestling. And of course my 100-105-pound brother Juju accepted the challenge.
Heard a story about the wind of god or kamikaze.
After Kushida Shrine, we went to Tochoji Temple, a family temple of the Kuroda family, lord of Fukuoka province.
The sight to see here was this Fukuoka Daibutsu or the Great Buddhist statue, one of the largest wooden figures of the seated Buddha. Used my ninja skills to take this picture.
Behind the statue is a small museum in a dark tunnel of sorts that shows a collection of paintings of hell, etc. However, at the end of the narrow tunnel, where the light eventually goes out, you can find a thick ring if you’re lucky. They say you can go to heaven if you find this ring. I did!
Giant five-story pagoda.
Failed at showing the epicness of it for the sake of taking an artsy fartsy shot with a tree in front of it.
One of the regular temple visitors asked me out of the blue where I was from, and gave me a really interesting gift. He gave me a Delta airplane figurine, which I guess he carries around with him everywhere. And now it’s with me! I hope this means more travel opportunities in 2012. Thanks, Delta-san.
If Ultraman transformed into a car, this would be it.
A few blocks from Tochoji Temple was a quiet Zen garden in the middle of the neighborhood.
Suddenly, my collar.
Managed to snap a photo of Family Mart while on the way to Tenjin. Everyone here is crazy about KARA! Gekidan Hitori is pleased.
Picture of a girl in the bus mirror. Quite eerie, yes? My brothers were joking how much creepier it would be if I opened this photo in my laptop and found the girl looking at me all of a sudden. Ahh, chills.
Snaps of people on the way to Tenjin…
…where people look like aliens!
Had lunch at one of the most popular sushi restaurants in the area. I wasn’t able to ask what the restaurant was called but I still vividly remember their gourd logo.
Stockings at 0-4°C. All that fur on her ankles just might’ve been her savior.
Obligatory Arashi photo.
Two girls looking like they’re having a very fun conversation. Snidel paper bag, I see you!
My brother Chase. It’s all bokeh behind him but after lunch we headed straight to Dazaifu City via subway. Dazaifu may be a very popular tourist destination, but a lot of locals also go here to pray for success in their examinations.
And for the strangest reason my siblings and I were all so coordinated.
Had a ¥700 cafe au lait at one of the coffee shops there. I don’t want to think that I just paid for the immensely dainty cup and saucer lol
Some local treats like Umegae-mochi (sweet rice cake with bean jam) and Onigawara Monaka (sweet bean jam sandwiched in mochi wafers) were being sold on the way to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.
This shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, also known as the god of learning.
Found a street performer in the area who was able to make this monkey stand on a pole.
The girls on the right were brisk walking because they were in such a hurry to get to a place with a heater. Brr.
Girl at the Dazaifu station.
It was freezing like crazy when we decided to go to our last stop of the day…
Fukuoka Tower stands at 234 meters, making it the highest seaside tower in Japan. Fun fact: They change the lighting and decorations around the building depending on the season. They would have, of course, the standard lighting on an ordinary month, but they would have a “Milky Way decoration” in July and August, a “St. Valentines Day decoration” in February and March and a “Blue Christmas light decoration” in November and December.
Just after sunset, this was how the wonderful city of Fukuoka looked like when I was there. <3
Back at Amu Plaza in Hakata Station, we had a late dinner. We were already so hungry but we decided to brave the waiting line for this much-hyped restaurant.
The verdict? BEST RAMEN I’VE EVER TASTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. All the ramen that I’ve tried now fails in comparison.
Where can I find authentic barikata Hakata noodles in Manila?!
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