Thursday, 22 June 2017. 8:30AM.
So here we are! Still sober at last, even without my beauty sleep on the plane! <(￣︶￣)>
Arrived at the immigration, I gave the Embarkation Form and Custom Declaration, surprisingly the immigration officer didn’t ask for my fingerprint at all! He didn’t ask any single question, and just let me go with my passport after he glanced at it for 5 seconds. Was it because I looked like an innocent girl who wouldn’t hurt a small critter?🤔 OR maybe they already got my fingerprint scanned all over Japan because they considered me as a soon-to-be-japanese-citizen!! 😂🤗 Anywho, I went through the immigration without a single problem. ciMel got a little bit question she couldn’t answer the officer, but then she finally got away with another officer in two minutes. ٩(｡•́‿•̀｡)۶
Collected our luggage downstairs, we then queued for the highway bus at Bust Stop #2. The bus took us from Fukuoka Airport to Hakata Train Station in about 20 minutes, and cost us ¥260 per person. You can pay the fare with coins or with your Japan card (mine is ICOCA from Osaka). And remember when you’re in Japan, you get in the bus from the back door, then get out from the front door. It’s the opposite you do in Singapore, even tho in some cases you can also get out from the front door. (*¯︶¯*)
And who knows! Fukuoka was apparently bigger and more crowded than I expected! I was expecting a quiet little town where I could lie down on the street and no cars would honk at me! (*≧ω≦*)
*moominmama was so cute with flower on her head, we just instantly fell in love with her!*
*lotsa bikes and taxis in front of the west gate of Hakata Eki-Mae*
Hakata Station was still busy when we arrived there.
This was my first experience with airbnb, and I got upset a little bit because we couldn’t check in early. I don’t like airbnb personally because they usually have a lot of rules and regulations, and coming from a “fine” country, I think rules and regulations are no fun when you’re on a holiday. But I tried my best to hide it. I was supposed to spend nights at Nishitetsu Croom Hakata Hotel, in a fancy ladies floor with indoor onsen, massage chair and 5 star restaurants, before ciMel decided to join me to Fukuoka and shared a room from airbnb. ( ´ ω ` )
It was about 9-ish in the AM, and we decided to rent a locker so we didn’t need to drag our luggage around the city with us. There were quite a lot of locker room spots scattered in Hakata train station. We found one not too close from the information center, but it was almost all empty. My cabin-size bag can fit in to medium size locker, and it cost ¥500. ciMel’s bag needed big size locker which cost ¥600. This machine was supposed to be able to received ¥1000 notes, but it was probably too picky to take my not-so-crumpy notes. So we went to the souvenir shop just accross the locker room, bought our first unnecessary items to get change in coins. ╰(*´︶`*)╯
HOW TO KEEP YOUR BAG IN A LOCKER ROOM IN JAPAN >> Refer to the picture above, please don’t forget to click the language you prefer first, before you continue click on other thing. The language option was on top of the screen (I marked with yellow star). The language options are in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. From here, you can easily follow the instruction to choose the locker number, how to open the locker, put in the coins or tap your SUGOCA card (mine is ICOCA), put in your bag/luggage, lock the locker, then the machine would give you the “baggage removal ticket” with QR code printed on it. Do NOT lost this ticket, since you need to scan this QR when you want to retrieve your bag later. Some other locker (depends on which size you choose) they didn’t give you the ticket, but they come with the regular key which you can only lock and take it after the payment.
Free from our heavy luggage, we proceed to our first stop to Tōchō-ji Temple, about 1km from Hakata Station. We should have known, walking around Japan, there are too much distraction! And our first distraction was an electronic store, Yodobashi, not too far from the West Gate of Hakata Train Station. (๑˃ᴗ˂)ﻭ
Bought two casings for my lovely Xperia phone, we then continued to the said temple, following our itinerary. It was already lunch time, my stomach was feeling unwell since last week, and I got headache from the sleepless night on the plane. I wasn’t very sure where we were walking to, but my brain kept on telling me that was the correct direction–I should’ve knows my brain couldn’t function well without proper food and enough rest. (｡•́︿•̀｡)
So we decided to walk back to Yodobashi and had some food there. There was a local restaurant at the 4FL which sell many kinds of tempura! Sadly I don’t know what is the restaurant name, but I have their website here. Other than their delicious dishes, we could also refill our rice and miso soups as many as we want. I took tempura dishes with pork, chicken, fish, and few deep-fried veggies, and it costed only ¥880. Cheap for the never-ending-top-up-if-you-have-big-belly! ヽ(o^―^o)ﾉ
With my brain now could function better, we now knew that we did walk on the wrong direction when we supposed to go Tōchō-ji Temple. Lucky we walked back to Yodobashi to had our lunch rather than continued listening to my babbling brain. Now we knew we had to come out from the east side of Hakata Station to go to our airBnB location, or as I called it Naho’s place. But before that, we stopped at the Post Office just next to Hakata Station. Did I tell you, I always send postcard to my dad during my holiday? It was for him to know where was his daughter travelled to, he collects it and keeps it in a special box, in a drawer of his credenza in the living room. (*˘︶˘*).｡.:*♡
It was already 1PM when I finally bought and sent the post card. And since we both very tired, we decided to walk to Naho’s place, and checked if we could check in 1 hour early, and had some rest. And apparently we did! I had a total deep nap sank in the futon for more than 3 hours. ciMel probably heard me snoring. (*/ω＼)
Now that I was totally tired, I realized this couldn’t-early-check-in airbnb thingy was a blessing in disguise! Can you imagine, me and ciMel dragged our heavy luggage around the city and still got lost? We could have got more tired! Lucky the Naho’s didn’t allow us to check in early, so we had to put our luggage in the locker room and got lost without extra weight we need to drag around. ♡( ◡‿◡ )
*a pretty place from our airBnB, Naho is the owner name*
Around 4PM~ish when I finally woke up from my beauty-nap, we decided to continue our exploration to Canal City. It was about 1km from our hotel, and took us about 15 minues to walk there. Canal City is a shopping center consist of 4 buildings connected to each other. The buildings have cinema, branded stores, local and western restaurants, hotel and theater as well. (￣ε￣＠)
We went to a theme cafe, Moomin Cafe at the Ground floor. And both of us were instantly fell in love with this cute white hippo–the main character of this cafe. Little did we know, Moomin was a famous comic / bookstrips character from Finland. I definitely will check this out later.
This theme cafe was recommended! The character dolls sit around the cafe wouldn’t let a single visitor to sit alone. We ordered honey toast with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, and we didn’t expect the toast was this huge! And it was not only huge, but it was delicious as well! Unlike the other typical theme cafe where they didn’t care about the taste, this Moomin cafe apparently does! (ﾉ´ з `)ノ
*moominmama with her giant toast*
*Canal City map*
Since we still need to go to other places before the sunsets, we proceed to walk to Yatai street. Yatai street was famous for their local street foods, located at Nakasu island, just one bridge away from the Canal City, and it only opens after 6PM. I heard this street wasn’t so safe for a single lady traveler, so you might want to visit here before it gets dark. (￣ヘ￣)
You can cross to Nakasu island from Yumekairo Bridge or Seiryu Bridge (see the map above; blue and orange sign), and visit the Seiryu Park. The park was not so big, but it was super clean–typical Japan! And oh, you can get to these bridge from the west building of Canal City to the taxi stand and cross the street.
Sat down at the park for a while, made some friends with the pigeons, took picture of the river, then we walked around the Yatai street. Yatai street was a short alley less than 100m, with Japs vendor calling us to stop by and buy their food. Both of us was still full from the Moomin’s toast, so we walked pass all those tempting street foods, continues to walk around the neighborhood then crossed the Nakasu-Shimbashi Bridge (red-heart sign, map above). (￣▽￣)
*street to Kushida Shrine*
From the bridge, walked pass what looked like a crowded small alley, we proceed to Kushida Shrine (blue-star mark, map above). The shrine was quiet and no entrance fee. I took the fortune telling and paid for ¥100. The result was “slightly lucky”. But at least, the ‘Travel‘ was “good. Go in peace.” And my ‘Expected Person‘ was “will arrive“. Then the ‘Marriage‘ was “any worry will disappear in time, look forward to ensuing happiness”. That’s it, good enough for me. (/▽＼*)｡o○♡
After the quiet time at the shrine, we walked back to the crowded alley we walked pass few minutes ago. And apparently it was The Kawabata Shotengai/ Shopping Arcade!! (yellow-star sign, map above)! Oh good! We could have some shopping started now! Or eat! We need dinner! We tried this Yakitori-Dokoro RakuGaki Restaurant, a local Japanese restaurant with a normal busy hour and no queue. <(￣︶￣)>
We ordered mentaiko omelette, chicken skin yakitori, fried tofu and grilled onigiri. The price was reasonable, service was good, the omelette wasn’t too fishy smell, and the yakitori was superb. It was a good place to visit with friends or family. If you’re around this Shotengai, please come and try their food. They do have english menu. The restaurant located not too far from the Shotengai entrance, it was about 100m (or less) on the right-hand side. (´｡• ᵕ •｡`)
Finished our dinner, we walked back to Canal City through connecting bridge from the Kawabata Shopping Bridge to the North building of Canal City (check out the map above, there is a bridge next to yellow-star sign). We then walked straight through Hakata Ekimae street and slowly walked to Hakata Train Station and picked up our luggage from the locker.
For you who doesn’t know who ciMel is, she’s running an interesting blog about travelling, photography and food. You can check out her blog here. (´｡• ᵕ •｡`) ♡
It was around 8PM and we were already exhausted of the day. We dragged our luggage to Naho’s and had our rest. We need our energy back to go cat island tomorrow. so, おやすみなさい！！！ (≧◡≦)