I had actually never been to Kyushu until recently.
I felt terrible about it. Kyushu is one of those places that seems like it would be awesome to go to, but somehow whenever I leave the main island on a plane I end up going out of the country or to somewhere like Okinawa.
Kyushu is in that weird grey area of being too close and yet too far.
Nowadays options have increased. Many LCC airlines offer round-trip tickets from Tokyo to Kyushu for about 10,000 yen. Kyushu also now has a shinkansen (if you have a JR Pass, you should certainly take full advantage of this).
Really good thing about flying to Fukuoka: the city center is located about 5 MINUTES from the airport. I kid you not. It is quite amazing.
I found myself in Fukuoka to attend a wedding.
Japanese weddings, like most culture’s weddings are big events where you must spend a day in a wedding hall, shell out cash to give as a gift to the bride and groom, and talk to people whom you have never met.
This wedding was held on top of a hill that had a really great view of the city.
Fukuoka is famous for its ramen (as well as the entire island of Kyushu).
The most common type of ramen that they have in Kyushu is called “tonkotsu” ramen. I actually made a little ramen diagram if you want to know more.
This is along the river in Nakasu. The ramen stands (aka “yatai”) line the street. It is really bustling at night because the people coming home from work often stop by to grab a bite to eat here.
Ramen stands are actually extremely hard to find in Tokyo, so this is an experience worth having.
Visitors may notice, like I did, that the surrounding area is a tad seedy. Yes, it is very seedy, because it is a giant red-light district. I am a woman so I don’t usually get solicited, but lone male travelers might be a target for “massage” invitations.
After a night of eating myself to death, but not taking any photographic evidence of it. I got to finally see a bit of the city.
Since I only had half a day to spare, I decided to not stray too far from the city.
The main attraction in Fukuoka is Ohori Park:
Visiting the park was a correct choice, it was a really, really nice park!
There is a giant lake in the middle of the park, with bridges stretching across it. Children with fishing rods were running around and occasionally fishing.
In the south-west corner of the park is a Japanese garden that, in my opinion, is well worth the 240 yen entrance fee.
For some reason, on the day I went, it was free!
Still not exactly sure what the occasion was, but did not want to argue with that.
When I got out of the park, I spotted some large stone wall remains that seemed castle-y.
I love old things and ruins, so I decided to go check it out.
Lo and behold!
It was a castle….or the remains of one. Unfortunately only several structures remain.
The location where the heart of the castle would be is now just a foundation of rocks.
But! The view is still very lovely. I can only imagine what it looked like in 1601, when this castle was finished.
There was also a shrine located near the castle called “Gokoku Shrine.” But I did not have time to visit it. I just took a picture because the torii (Shinto gate) was impressive.
Thoughts on Fukuoka:
RAMEN! <- It is actually really good. I was not disappointed.
Small city, but really nice. The rent prices are about half of what Tokyo apartments are.
I almost considered moving, but then realized that I work in Tokyo, and things might become a bit complicated.
I need to come out to Kyushu more often! Night buses to places in the Kanto area (eastern Honshu) and the Kinki area (western Honshu) are about 10,000 yen each way…for the same price it is possible to take a plane?!