As promised, here’s my Fukuoka travel diary after a whole week’s worth of MOFW features. Since this is not my first time in this place, I pretty much spent my time here just bonding with my family, stuffing ourselves with the arguably the best ramen in the world, and of course, my favorite - shopping!
People have a notion of Japan being a difficult place to go to because of the language barrier, but it’s not like they put zero effort into bringing tourists in the country and showing them the beauty in their country. In that one year in between my previous and my latest trips to Fukuoka, a lot has changed in terms of tourist-friendliness - more restaurants have printed out English menus, department stores have suddenly given out shopping privileges for non-Japanese passport holders, etc. I think now is a wonderful time to go to Japan, actually. Your thoughts and words can never be entirely lost in translation. They’re also trying their best to help too! :D
I usually stay in Hotel Miyako which is right in front of the station. This is the view from the entrance of the hotel. It’s super convenient to stay here because you can go shopping whenever you want, lol. Plus there are a ton of places to eat inside Hakata Station so you’ll never grow hungry!
Don’t forget to visit the food section of Hankyu and the beauty section of Tokyu Hands.
First picture of me straight out of the plane. As usual, we took the direct flight to from Manila to Fukuoka via Philippine Airlines.
First stop? IPPUDO! Let me be annoying and say that my family and I were already hooked on Ippudo even before the ramen craze trickled over the rest of Asia.
So hooked that it is also a must for me to go to the Ippudo in SG and HK even if the experience is a little different from the original. Never fails to give me nostalgic feels from the very first time I was able to taste Hakata ramen. <3
Before sunset, we decided to go around the station for a walk. They finally finished the new roof deck area!
They had these cute stalls where you can buy souvenirs and traditional Japanese desserts.
There was also a shrine.
And a giant space for kids to play in!
Such a tranquil place.
Overlooking the city.
We also dropped by the new cinema area which wasn’t there the first time we went to Fukuoka. My dad watched Les Miserables because he couldn’t wait - the Metro Manila Film Festival was still going on when Les Mis was already being shown in different countries. We had to wait til mid-January to be able to watch foreign movies again.
When in Japan, visit Maruzen and buy all the Japanese magazines. :D Well, I didn’t go crazy this time because I already knew exactly what I wanted - ViVi, SCawaii, Jelly and the recent Ninagawa Mika photobook.
Plus I was so afraid to go over my baggage weight limit because it’s normally the books and magazines that I buy that make my luggage so heavy by the end of the trip. T_T
I also buy my magazines in other countries where it’s available! They’re everywhere in HK. In SG, you can get them at Kinokuniya.
Before going back to the hotel, we stuffed ourselves with some yummy Marbre Blanc parfaits. <3
On our third day (second was spent in Hiroshima and Miyajima), we went to Tenjin for shopping! First stop was Tenjin Core which is one of my favorite places to shop in Fukuoka! You can go to this place via subway. There’s an underground shopping center that connects the different buildings together so it’s super convenient during winter time when it’s too cold to walk outside. After Tenjin Core, I went to Parco to check out EMODA and MURUA with the other MarkStyler brands.
Didn’t take a lot of pictures here because my mind was 100% concentrated on shopping! And by lunch I couldn’t carry my camera properly anymore because I was holding too many paper bags lol #shopaholicphotographerproblems
Besides the ones I posted here, Tenjin Core houses other brands like Liz Lisa, rienda, dazzlin, INGNI, PeachJohn, Heaven and Earth, GILFY, DURAS, and Lip Service. I know I missed a lot but I’m typing this all purely out of memory. My bad for not taking proper notes. Anyhow, their fall/winter collections were mostly oxblood + brown + black and old rose + white + cream. Adorbs!
Don’t think shopping in Japan is just for girls though. Most places usually have 1-2 floors just dedicated to men’s clothing. My brothers like buying from RAGEBLUE.
Hello me! Simple and comfy outfit for shopping. Nothing special!
After a long day, we had yakiniku back at Hakata Station. So rich in flavor huhu I felt so guilty for my stomach after each bite! IDK how everyone manages to stay thin in Japan considering the high quality of food being sold everywhere. The sorcery!
On our last free day, we walked from Hotel Miyako all the way to Canal City. It’s only about 10 minutes away so it was definitely a good warm-up exercise in the morning.
Except it was raining again. Gosingtian family, bringing the rain from Manila to wherever they go to, since… the beginning of time.
This is one part of the mall where you can find Western brands like Zara, H&M, etc. My brothers went crazy at H&M because they were having a sale and they were selling good collared shirts at Y1500 and blazers and jackets at Y2000-3000. NOT BAD AT ALL.
There’s a part in Canal City where I spend hours shopping - it’s on the second or third floor of the mall where they sell brands like moussy, SLY, rosebullet, Ungrid, EGOIST, Esperanza, etc.
Wearing new purchases from the day before. You might find the SpRay jacket, CECIL McBEE sweater and EGOIST bag familiar from my MOFW posts!
One of the special things about Canal City is that they have a Ramen Stadium! It’s like one giant food court full of ramen restaurants with different specialties, cooked in distinct styles. Only the best ramen restaurants can continue selling their ramen here so I think after a certain point, the one with the least sales will have to give his space up for a new “challenger”.
Long queue probably means the best so we queued along with the people haha but it’s already our second time here so I guess this restaurant (Kizuna) still remains to be a fan favorite after all.
Cafe MUJI after a long day of shopping! The MUJI in Canal City is like one big multi-level department store. If you think that the ones we have here is already huge, you should check this particular MUJI out.
My brother Juju having cake!
My cafe au lait. <3
On our last night in Japan, I was lucky enough to catch Kyary and AKB48 perform on television. <3
I was luckier last 2011 though. I caught the whole Kouhaku on NHK on New Year’s Eve. If you still remember my old Fukuoka post, I managed to catch some screens of Arashi and Laruku.
Time to say goodbye to my hotel room. Wearing mint houndstooth pants from Romwe. UGH writing about this trip now is making me miss Japan so badly.
At the airport. Goodbye, peaceful city of Fukuoka! *tears*
‘Til the next travel post and my next trip to Japan! I hope you guys can also visit Japan soon! :)
Tenjin is the downtown area of Fukuoka where all the shopping centers are. Because the previous day was very hectic, we decided to relax, do some shopping, and take a break from doing all sorts tourist-y things this time.
I did most of my shopping in a mall called Tenjin Core, which also houses some very familiar brands if you avidly follow Japanese fashion magazines. Practiced my ninja skills and quickly took a few pictures of the stores and the mannequins when I was done shopping and had no money left, hahaha.
Deep red and old rose (or smoky pink, as they call it) were two of the most prevalent color trends consistent in every store I went to! Sooo pretty!
Accessories heaven. They’re all into giant bows, shiny hair ties and bolo ties/necklaces at the moment.
One of my all-time favorite brands, Liz Lisa
Only a part of the complete assortment of false eyelashes that you will ever need in your entire life.
A blonde Yamamoto Yusuke appears!
After shopping for winter clothes that we can probably wear in a tropical place such as Manila, we walked around the city to look for a place to eat.
Nothing like burger omurice to give that much-needed boost for a busy shop-til-you-drop afternoon.
Why can’t we have these glorious Starbucks marshmallow dark chocolate and white chocolate macadamia cookies here?
Somehow, we all managed to consume our frozen drinks even if it was freezing outside. Some things in life are just strange that way. Like bare legs in winter.
While my brothers were checking out the Tower Records in Solaria Stage, I practiced my ninja skills again to take some street snaps of people in the area.
Reminds me of my friend Cheesie, mermaid hair, tan skin and all!
His coat - I covet! Easily the most perfect shade of green/teal I’ve ever seen.
Went back to Hakata Station for dinner. Tried their KFC out, and it was so good (see what I did there) I finally understood why the Japanese are all KFC-crazy.
After a long day, in our hotel room, it was good to be greeted back by Matsujun and Hyde on Music Station.
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?!
I’m back! Spending the holidays in Japan was a blast. Such a magical place with a much-enviable visual culture, as always! Easily my most favorite place in the world.
This time, my family and I went to Fukuoka instead of Tokyo or Osaka for a change. Surprisingly, there’s a direct flight from Manila to Fukuoka via Philippine Airlines. Glad to know that different parts of Japan are finally getting more and more accessible to us.
We arrived in Fukuoka just before dinner, so we headed straight to the subway from the airport. The hotel that we stayed in was just right across Hakata Station, making it so convenient for us to go around the city without having to allot so much on cab fare.
Since we were so hungry from the flight, we decided to grab a bite to eat at some random ramen place at Hakata Deitos…
…and a nice cup of iced coffee at Marbre Blanc Cafe where we also enjoyed some wonderful parfaits and not to mention, a group of good-looking waiters who looked as if they came straight out of an anime/manga.
After dinner, we roamed around the station some more. Managed to snap a photo of these two adorable kids who both seemed so grown-up, already shopping for stuff on their own!
Fluffy white dog outside Hankyu department store. The stroller has “I <3 HUG” all over it.
Yet another puppy in the department store. Adorbs!
Some very expensive but high-quality men’s shoes. ￥19,950 or approx. ₱11,200 for one pair!
Personally one of my most favorite Japanese brands of all time. I’d buy everything they’re selling if only they weren’t too pricey. Just look at those lovely fall colors!
Laguna Moon was selling some really nice coats with fur collars.
If I had to share a Japanese shoe brand, this would be it. Esperanza makes some of the best quality, trendiest shoes I’ve ever seen in my life. Luckily, I was able to get the boots I’ve always wanted (ViVi, the things you do to me…) in Canal City a few days after this shot was taken. At 50 freaking percent off! #freddiemercury.jpg
Cecil McBee! I still remember my first experience with them. I bought this skirt, and found myself surprised to be escorted out of the store before they handed me my paper bag! Talk about super special customer service.
Dolly Wink Otona Line! Got a blonde eyebrow pencil for myself and brown eyebrow powder for my BFF Crissey. On the left is Ayumi Hamasaki’s line of false eyelashes.
Someone bring all of these Japanese beauty products to Manila, please?
Apparently, in Japan, KFC = Christmas. How cute is Santa Sanders!?
Passed by some izakaya-style restaurants in the station. Drinks on Christmas day!
Favorite photo from this set. Remember this photo? The geeky photographer in me is a sucker for these kinds of photos that tell a story. <3
Christmas day ended early for us… only because we had to prepare for the next day. More photos from my Fukuoka trip soon.
Also, Happy New Year! 2011 has been a rollercoaster ride, but I’ve learned to just go with it instead of resist it. Good riddance. Thanks for the great year, Tumblr folks!