Fun in Fukuoka
11.10.2012 - 12.10.2012 -23 °C
Fukuoka has a really different atmosphere from the other cities that we have been in. This city really is an urban jungle and has a fast paced, hard nosed feel about it. Fukuoka is said to be the hedonistic centre of Japan, boasting sprawling shopping malls and a varied night life. This is mainly how we experienced it to be.
Our hostel experience reflected the atmosphere we had felt from the city at large. We were given our key and left to find our own feet. It was perfectly functional and clean but it was missing a sense of community and lacking the personal touches and friendly smiles of our other hostels. Everyone man (or woman) for themselves!
After chucking our bags in our room, we headed to Tenjin, the shopping district. Stepping off the subway we were immediately surrounded by shopping malls. They lined the streets, offering every type of shopping experience you can imagine. If you have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, or you're a die hard shopaholic, you will find your home in Tenjin!
Unfortunately, Emma and Ashton are not blessed with a fortune but did have our heads turned in the mall. It wasn't long before we both made ourselves some "investment" purchases. That is to say, we persuaded each other that the things we had found were practical, necessary and that if we hadn't have bought them then, we would have needed to buy them later. We left shortly after before any further "investment" purchases materialised. Anything to justify frivolity!
FUKUOKA DAY 2
We picked up a walking guide from Hakata station and followed one of the pre-selected trails around the city. It came in Japanese with a stamp collection page, which you stamp at each of the given destinations on the way round. The packaging suggested it was probably aimed at children but it's funny how intent you can get on claiming stamps! It added a lot of humour to our exploration and we enjoyed it greatly.
The route we chose took us around a number of shrines and temples in Fukuoka. These once dominant structures were well hidden amongst the built up high rise buildings and expressways. The well attended, landscaped grounds made a leafy tranquil oasis amongst the busy city. Amongst our favourite stops was the big hand carved wooden buddha, the tallest buddha statue in Japan. The enormity of the carving blew our noodle. Wowa weewa!
Here are some more sights from our 3 hour walking tour of Hakata:
We took a quick pitstop at the hostel to have some grub. We had an outrageously big apple and then did our best to scrub up as ladies (when living out of a backpack, the best you can ask for is throwing on a slightly creased dress). Off to Nakasu!
First, we headed for a boat trip down the Nakagawa river, with some time to spare we decided to treat ourselves to a Friday bevvy. We instated beer-o-clock at a quaint cafe in Tenjin Central Park.
This event ultimately resulted in us downing a pint in front of 3 amused Japanese old ladies as we had miscalculated the time we had until the boat left. Here is us after downing a couple of beers and feeling a bit hysterical on the boat ride:
I think what amused us most was that there were no good sights from the boat. To your right, big concrete buildings, to your left an army base. Where did we end up? Bayside- the arse end of nowhere, so we got to do the boat ride twice.
Perhaps it was the beer but we were still in good spirits when the boat docked again. We arrived just as the city had begun to light up and that's when it is at its best.
At night, food stalls appear along the river and you can eat the local speciality ramen (noodle) dishes down by the water.
We opted for a cosy little Japanese style restaurant a little more out of the way. Beer and noodles ahoy!
We weren't sure of the eating etiquette here as we were given 2 extra bowls each? Emma asked what they were for to laughs from the other Japanese diners!
Two satisfied diners with a belly full of beer and noodles headed back to the hostel for some shut eye and to make preparations for Hiroshima. We'll save the Fukuoka's famous brothels for another time....