Hi! How’s it going?
It got really cold the other day and snowed a bit but nice and warm these days in Japan.
This time, let me introduce Fukuoka prefecture.
It’s my first time to write about Kyushu area.
Fukuoka is a prefecture in Kyushu, which is located southwest of main island, or Honshu.
Kyushu is Japan’s third largest island.
Fukuoka city in Fukuoka prefecture is one of the largest cities in Japan, and Hakata area has been serving as an important port and commercial center.
Fukuoka is close to Korea and the airport is always busy with people traveling.
It is one of the most progressive cities in Japan and has a lot to offer!
Below are the popular things/places in Fukuoka prefecture.
Be sure to check them out!
See Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival
It is an annual festival held in July for 2 weeks and has the history of over 700 years.
Two kinds of floats are used during the festival: Kazariyama floats and Kakiyama floats.
Kazariyama floats are larger floats which are over 10 meters tall.
During July 1st to 14th, 14 of them are displayed outside.
Kakiyama floats are smaller and they are about 5 meters tall.
In the morning of July 15th (at 4:59am, just before sunrise), the race of festival floats is held using them.
There are 7 of them and each of them weights about 1 ton.
Unlike floats in Takayama, they don’t have wheels and participants need to carry them in teams.
It takes about 30 minutes to complete the course and floats run one by one in five minute intervals.
Parades and practice runs for the race are held from July 10th to 14th and all floats are lined up in front of Kushida Shrine, where the start line is.
Kushida Shrine is located about 15 to 20 minutes away from Hakata Station (five minutes walk away from Gion Subway station or Canal city Hakata).
It gets really crowded during the event but it really is an exciting event!
Eat at Yatai/Food Stalls
Hakata Ramen is a must-try Japanese food there.
It has green onions and boiled or roasted pork (called Char Siu in Japanese) on top.
Although the soup varies slightly from shop to shop, almost every soup of Hakata ramen is whitish and cloudy.
Pork boned are boiled well until the soup gets white and cloudy and it is mixed with soy sauce.
It tastes like milk, and goes well with thin noodles.
If you are really hungry, leave the soup after finishing the first.
You can order Kaedama, or extra noodle and put it in the same soup to keep enjoying the great taste of Hakata Ramen!
As an option, you can add some toppings like half-boiled eggs, Takana( Pickled and mustard leaf with red peppers), or
Beni Shoga (pickled ginger root).
Motsunabe is another popular food in Fukuoka.
Motsu means offal or internal organs of cows and pigs, and Nabe means hot pot.
So, Motsunabe is a hot pot with various offal and vegetables like leek, garlic, and cabbage.
It might sound a little too exotic to people from western countries, but it really is tasty and people say it has good effects for beauty since it contains high amounts of collagen.
Karashi Mentaiko(Pollock roe with red chili pepper spices) is also popular in Hakata area.
Visit Kyushu National Museum
Opened in 2005, it is Japan’s first new national museums in more than 100 years.
The building is carefully designed, and contains large number of historically important artifacts including prehistoric relics that show the history of trading link among Japan, Korea, and China.
Access: About 10 to 15 min walk away from Dazaifu Station.
Hours: 9:30am to 5:00pm
Price: 430yen to enter
Relax at Sumiyoshi shrine
It is one of the oldest shrines in Kyushu (about 1,800years old) and is surrounded by large Japanese cedars and camphor trees.
The shrine is dedicated to safe travel by sea.
Sailors would visit the shrine before leaving the port to pray for the safe trip.
The main hall is rebuilt in 1623, but it still has the ancient architectural style.
Inside, there is a Noh theater with a traditional style stage.
Access: About 10 min walk away from JR Hakata station.
Hours: 6:00am to 9:00pm
Price: Free to enter
Pray at Dazaifu Tenman-Gu
It is a shine dedicated to the spirit of Sugawara Michizane, a scholar and politician of the Heian Period (750-1185), who is known as the god of learning.
So, this shrine is busy with a lot of students praying for academic achievement and passing exams.
About 6,000 plum trees are planted around and they bloom beautifully from early February to mid March.Hours: 6:30am to 7:00pm (closed from Dec 31st to Jan 3rd).
Access: About 5 min walk away from Dazaifu station.
6:00am to 7:00pm (April and May)
6:00am to 7:30pm (June to August)
6:00am to 7:00pm (Until mid September)
6:30am to 7:00pm (late September to November)
6:30am to 6:30pm (December to mid March)
6:00am to 6:30pm (late March)
※Opens until 20:30 on Fridays and Saturdays
Price: Free to enter
Take pics at Fukuoka Castle
It is a castle also known as Maizuru Castle or Seki Castle made in Edo period (1603 to 1868).
The construction started in 1601 by the first lord of Fukuoka province, Kuroda Nagamasa, and it took 7 years to complete.
There are more than 1,000 cherry blossoms around, and it is a very popular place for tourists visiting in Spring.
Sadly, during the war period around 1873, most of it was destroyed in order to use the site for military and only ruined walls and a few turrets remain on the site now.
Still, it is a great place to learn about history there and take great pictures!
Access: About 10 to 15 min walk away from Ohori Koen subway station.
It is always open and the admission is free except during illumination events.
By the way, Fukuoka is known as the place where a lot of beautiful women are.
They are called “Hakata Bijin” (beautiful women in Hakata/around Fukuoka area).
Fukuoka has been an important place for import-export and many different kinds of races were mixed in the area.
It is believed that it contributed to the produce of somewhat exotic, beautiful look!
Take an airplane at Haneda Airport to Fukuoka Airport.
One way flight costs around 16,000yen to 41,390yen and it takes about 2 hours.
Take an airplane at chubu centrair international airport to Fukuoka Airport.
One way flight costs around 6,000yen and it takes about 1 and a half hours.
You could either take Shinkansen (bullet train) or airplane.
By train, take Nozomi, Hikari, or Kodama train at Shin-Osaka station and it goes directly to Hakata station.
One way fare is 14,480yen for non-reserved seat and it takes about 2 and a half hours.
By airplane, take a flight at Osaka International Airport to Fukuoka Airport.
It takes about 1 hour and the fare ranges from 13,400 to 27,000yen.
As an alternative way, you could take Kansai International Airport to Fukuoka Airport.
They have LCC flights and the ticket price can be as low as 3,690yen for one way and it takes about 1 hour to get to Fukuoka.
However it has less daily flights so be sure to check the flight schedule!
Here’s today’s music!
This instrumental tune is called “Lotus”.
I came up with the main theme while I was walking through the garden in Kyoto (and also in Himeji).
Featuring Banjo by Ryosuke Toyomaki and Violin by Mori de Maigo (They are my friends).
I carefully constructed the beat for this tune.
If you listen carefully, you hear the hi-hats are beating slightly differently on left and right.
I did that purposely so that it would create more space and make the music alive.
And I played the bass, piano, synth, and guitar over it.
Hope you dig it!
See you next time!
※I’m a professional composer. My songs are available here: Skyhigh
Or, you can click on the band camp link below to listen.
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