Friday, 23 June 2017. It was SUUUPER HOT day!
Cute cat. Soft cat. Sweet cat. Purr cat… (^=◕ᴥ◕=^)
Going to Ainoshima or Cat Island was one of my bucket list for this Japan trip. Since I didn’t get enough sleep on the plane, and my stomach felt so funny since last week and a bit headache, I asked ciMel to go Ainoshima not too early. We agreed to go a bit later and stay there for 1 or two hours only.
After we had our bread we bought from Canal City yesterday, off we went to Hakata Eki-Mae. We stopped by to buy lunch at Ekibento, for ¥860. The bento was consists of rice, nori, sweet fishes, salmon, tamago and some veggies. And it was superb! With the cat foods and bentos on our bags, we ready to leave for the cat island! (=^-ω-^=)
HOW TO GO TO AINOSHIMA / CAT ISLAND >> take train to Fukukodai-Mae > change bus bound to Shingu Port >> board a ferry to Ainoshima Island. For more details information, please click on “Read More” below to check my instruction on how to go Ainoshima island. 👇👇👇
*on the train to the Cat Island*
*drain cover in Ainoshima*
*my ICOCA card I bought 3 years ago from Osaka*
*ciMel taking photo of the port from Ainoshima*
*the ferry that took us from Shingu Port to Ainoshima*
I will start my explanation from Hakata Eki-Mae, since our airBnB located just walking distance from that train station. We took train from Hakata Eki-Mae at 10:08 to Fukukodai-Mae. Both Hakata Eki-Mae and Fukukodai-Mae were in the same JR Kagoshima Line (Red Line). This was a local train where you can use SUGOCA card (mine is ICOCA). The train journey was about 15 minutes. The train was quite packed. But both of us were lucky to got a seat. If you need Fukuoka-Kitakyushu Railway Network Map, please click here. 👈
Arrived at Fukukodai-Mae, there were 2 exits. We had couple of minutes to check the bus stop location and hang around the train station. At the Fukukodai-Mae train station there were a small local restaurant, dentist, Family Mart and pharmacy store (I wasn’t sure if it’s drug11 or something else). The bus stop to Shingu Port was just in front of Family Mart. There was a bus schedule at the bus stop. Our bus was #3 to Shingu Port (check the bus schedule below!) and it was the last stop. Not many buses here, and it wasn’t that frequent either. (=`ω´=)
According to the bus schedule, our bus will be arrived at 10:58AM. The journey from Fukukodai-Mae to Shingu Port was about 35 minutes and the bus fare was ¥100, must be paid in cash. You can’t pay by your card. (=`ω´=)
Alighted at the last bus stop at Shingu Port, we all went inside this small building and queued for the ferry ticket machine. (Check the ferry schedule below!) The ferry schedule was divided like this;
Top left >> Ferry from Shingu Port to Ainoshima for 1st April to 30th September.
Bottom left >> Ferry from Ainoshima to Shingu Port for 1st April to 30th September.
Top right >> Ferry from Shingu Port to Ainoshima for 1st October to 31st of March.
Bottom right >> Ferry from Ainoshima to Shingu Port for 1st October to 31st of March.
Ferry fare for adult for 1 trip was ¥460. Ferry fare for students and elderly for 1 trip was ¥230.
Up to Shingu Port here, there was only 1 restaurant across the port, and it was closed! Lucky me and ciMel bought the bento from Hakata! ( =ω=)..nyaa~
*bus schedule to Shingu Port*
*ferry schedule from and to Shingu Port and/or Ainoshima*
*queued to buy the ferry ticket from the ticketing machine*
*the ferry ticket and the ferry itself*
The ferry wasn’t so big and it took us to Ainoshima within 20 minutes.
10 minutes to twelve we arrived at the cat island. We saw couple of cats hang around the port, meowed at us asking for food. But both me and ciMel ourselves were hungry! And even more with this super hot weather we almost went from hungry to HAngry! ଲ(ⓛ ω ⓛ)ଲ
We walked quite far from the port to the west side of the island, under this bright-sunny-hot-humid sun with no hats on our heads nor umbrella nor trees for shadings. There weren’t so much seat or shaded trees, and it was so difficult to find a place to sit down and enjoy our bento, unless you come to the restaurant. I saw there were 2 or 3 restaurants nearby the port, but only 1 of them was open. We didn’t go there. (=`ω´=)
CiMel finally found a quiet place behind someone’s rustic house where we could sit down, hid ourselves from the stinging sunlight and peacefully enjoyed our bento. (=^‥^=)
*finally we found a hiding place to peacefully enjoyed our bento*
*and this was the yummy bento I bought from Ekibento @ Hakata Station*
*rustic houses from Ainoshima island*
*Ainoshima dwellings nearby the port*
Lured by the fishy smell from our bento, three cats came and approached us after we just finished our bento. I gave them the cat food I brought on my bag. I saw some signs saying “do not feed the cat”, but I just can’t help to give them some extra energy in this humid weather! (/ =ω=)/
But there wasn’t as much cats as I expected. I repeat : NO MUCH CATS as I expected! Before I went to this cat island, I read some blogs and websites told about hundreds cute cats populated in this small island where there was only 4 or 5 human families living here. The cats were over populating and I also saw pictures of some tourists played with a lot of cats surrounded them. BUT NO MUCH CATS AT ALL TODAY!!! (=`ω´=)
I don’t know if it was because of the hot weather so the cats were hiding somewhere else (but, if the cats won’t come out during the hot days, they definitely wouldn’t come out during rainy days!) Or was it no much cats nowadays because they’re sick? I saw some of them had skin problems and eyes problems. I even saw one poor kitty was bleeding half of his face–probably accidentally got hit by a car? ( =ノωヽ=)
We saw no more than 20 cats not too far from the port. I took only some pictures of the cats. CiMel took more than me since she loves taking animal pictures. Check out her cat pictures here. 👈
Both of us were disappointed by the fact we couldn’t play with the feral cats in this island. The cats we saw was much less than what we expected before and the island itself doesn’t have so much to see. So is Ainoshima / Cat Island recommended to visit while you’re in Kyushu? Well. check out my next post HERE 👈 and decide yourself! ଲ(ⓛ ω ⓛ)ଲ
The good thing about this trip was we met 2 new friends who were in the same disappointment state with us! Jay came from India and now is working in Fukuoka and Stephen came here for holiday from Hong Kong. We bought ferry ticket back to Shingu Port by 1:50PM > took the bus to Fukukodai-Mae > took the train to Hakata Station.
*some of the cats I took their pics from my phone*
*me and ciMel on a ferry to Ainoshima / Cat Island*
*left to right:: ciMel, me, Jay, Stephen at udon restaurant*
With no much plans to do for the afternoon, four of us were thinking where to go to distract our disappointment. I suggested Owl Cafe, an interesting cafe I was looking at when I was planning the itinerary, where we could interact with owls and get some wisdom from them. (=^ ◡ ^=)
With the eyes on the prize, we were off to Owl Family Cafe at Kawabata Shotengai. This unique cafe wouldn’t allow us to just walk in anytime and enjoy petting the birds. But instead, we had to make reservation. This one hour reservation gave us the information about how, when and where to touch the bird, and gave us 40~50 minutes to play with the birds and took pictures. I guess it was also because they didn’t want the small cafe to be crowded and disturb the owls, so they limit the guests (no more than 10 guests per hour).
Our new friend, Jay, who speaks fluent Japanese helped us to booked the cafe at 4PM.
We still had about 20~30 minutes where we stopped at an udon restaurant not too far from the cafe and let the boys had their late lunch. By 4PM, we went back to the cafe where the staffs already waiting for us. <(￣︶￣)>
After the 10 minutes explanation about how, when and where to touch the birds, we went downstairs and had some wefies with the birdies. ヽ(♡‿♡)ノ
*the owls were all so tame… some of them were sleepy*
*wefie of the four of us plus one!*
*look at that orange eyes!*
Apparently this decision to visit the owl cafe wasn’t bad at all. After 1 hour spent with the birds we totally forgot about our disappointment with the cats. From here we continued to stroll around the Canal City together for a while. Not long after that Jay and Stephen went off to other shopping mall while me and ciMel stayed for our takoyaki breaks. ヾ(・ω・`)ノヾ(´・ω・)ノ゛
By 6:40PM me and ciMel walked back to Hakata station. We had dinner appointment with Haru and Jo at 7:30PM. If you didn’t know who are Haru and Jo, I met them on last September, during my solo trip to Bangkok. In fact, I sat next to Haru and Jo in the shuttle during our day tour and they were on their honeymoon back then! Check out the day I met Haru and Jo here. 👈
Haru booked a dinner reservation at her best friend’s husband’s restaurant called Kaizantei. We sat at a private room with tatami and paper door, typical vernacular Japanese restaurant (or ‘traditional style’ if I might say). It’s a fine dining. Very fancy, very cozy. (°(°ω(°ω°(☆ω☆)°ω°)ω°)°)
Haru helped us to ordered salad, sashimi, omelette and fried fish. Even though I wasn’t so sure how to call the dishes, but it was superb! I love all the foods she ordered for us! And even I like the plum sake (ume liquor) with soda very much! Sweet Haru chan went with all the troubles to do the reservation, ordered the food and even treated us for this dinner! And she gave me pocky for たんじょうび プレゼント some more! ╰(*´︶`*)╯♡
It was a great catch up and actually was too short! Haru chan and Jo were a sweet couple, I was so lucky to met them in Bangkok and keep in touch with them. She is now expecting a baby girl (Naomi) 7 months and were thinking to move back Netherlands.
*salad and sashimi we ordered*
*left to right:: me, Jo, Haru chan and ciMel*
*Haru chan added my pocky collection ~ ありがとうね、Haru-ちゃん！
Too bad we couldn’t stay too long at Kaizantei even though we had such a pleasant conversation. Me and ciMel needed to wake up before the sun rise tomorrow to catch the earliest train to Beppu. I wish to meet with this lovely couple again next time. I will pray for their health and what ever the best for them and for their baby. ☆ ～(‘▽^人)
Me and ciMel walked back to Naho’s . We had fun today, but we will have a lot more fun tomorrow. So we need to save our energy for that. so じゃ、ね！⌒(o＾▽＾o)ノ