Lilypie - First Birthday

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fukuoka Part I - Getting there & First Impressions

Feeling inspired to blog about my Japan trip... which happened like... one year ago hahaha. It happened back in September 2010 during the biggest holiday in Korea - Chuseok, or Full Moon Festival - for three days. That time I was feeling bored about traveling around in Korea so I decided to pop over to Japan for a short visit together with two other girls. Although saying "I visited Japan!", we actually only had time to visit one city - Fukuoka (福岡) - which is the nearest city to Busan. We traveled there by Beetle jet ferry (book here) which cost 190,000won (~RM513) round trip per pax, and took us about 3 hours to reach Hakata Port (博多).  

Inside the ferry
Inside the ferry - it was very comfy and even had stewardess selling food and drinks

Reached Hakata Port!

Hakata(博多) and Fukuoka(福岡)actually point to the same place. Around the city you can see the names Hakata/Fukuoka being used interchangeably. Hakata/Fukuoka is situated on the northern shore of Kyushu island, Japan. Historically, Hakata was the port and merchant district, while the samurai lived in Fukuoka. When the two cities decided to merge, the samurai gatecrashed the meeting to rename the city and forced those present to name it as Fukuoka.(copied from Wikipedia)

Day 1 Itinerary
Hakata Station-> Hakata Riverside Hostel -> Canal City Shopping Mall -> Kushida Shrine -> Tochoji Temple -> Ohori Park -> Fukuoka Castle Ruins -> Skydream Marinoa -> Nakasu Kawabata redlight district

Due to the proximity of Korea to Fukuoka, there are many signages in Korean language in the city. One helpful thing for travelers like me is that I can understand the Japan signages better than in Korea cos they are almost always written in Chinese characters!
Hakata Station - for subway and JR train

Walked around the street below to find capsule motel (wanted to try after reading Kenny Sia's blogpost). Before the trip I had managed to persuade one of my traveling companions to bravely take on the claustrophobic experience (sleeping in capsule which is like being in a coffin!) so we were all actually looking forward toward that. Imagine our disappointment (and maybe slight relief..) when the staff told us that throughout Fukuoka, all the capsule motels are for guys only! Not for ladies! Later, somebody told me that's because Japanese guys need to give the impression of working till very late everyday to their wife/family so some of them don't even return home straight after work and spend the night in a capsule motel instead. Btw capsule motel also comes with sauna service so I think it would be kinda relaxing to wind down and have some "alone time" too.  

Street in front of capsule motel
So after being "rejected", we went back to Hakata Station. The information desk personnel at the Hakata Station was so helpful, she helped us to book our last minute lodgings at Riverside Backpackers Hostel Hakata. The location of this backpackers inn is really good (just beside Canal City and Kushida Shrine) so I absolutely recommend it to anybody traveling to Fukuoka.

Hakata River
Big shopping mall with cutesy name "eeny meeny miny mo"!!! Too bad didn't have time to go in...
Covered shopping street at Riverside
Restaurant and shops selling biscuits and small eateries

Our backpackers hostel! It was my first time staying in backpackers inn... ^^


The room was small, but okay-ish... just like what I would expect for a backpackers' hostel. Occupied the top bunk by putting my orange Nike backpack there... I was to share the room with another 2 Korean girls and 1 American later... my 2 Malaysian friends were given another room. When I opened the door to the bathroom... OMG! It was so small!!! Looked like the size of an airplane toilet, seriously... The bathtub was so small, if I were fatter, there would be no room for me to even turn around...!

Next, a short walk to Canal City Shopping Mall... of course we had no money to buy anything except souvenirs and food @@... so just did some window-shopping...

Feels like a garden mall with street performer in the middle stage

The street performer was a young Japanese lad performing some robot dance... halfway through it started to rain! But he still kept performing until his dance was finished... really very professional and 敬业. *Hats off

By then we were starving so we went in search of some yummy Japanese food... rainy days made me feel like slurping some hot ramen soup.............

Cute Japanese boys... just like in Jap dramas!!
Piggy dangling from the paper lamp

Once in the shop, I suddenly realised... my sushi Japanese was not enough for me to make an order!!!!!! OMG......... I only armed myself with some survival Jap like "konichiwa" and "doko desuka" (where is this place?) but forgot to write down how to order food!!! So I was like 比手画脚-ing with the waitress and doing the "what is oishii" pose until my 2 Msian friends started conversing in Chinese and the waitress said... "You can speak Chinese?! I am from Beijing!!!" Wow... that was a really 'zhadao' moment... luckily enough then we got to order some really delicious food... @@ That restaurant also had some kind of promotion going on, so we had a pretty affordable lunch...

Orange juice and mentaiko (fish roe)!
Fried gyoza and mentaiko!








Mentaiko (明太子) or marinated roe of pollock
I had been hearing so much about mentaiko mentaiko from my former labmate and that time it was all the rage in those Malaysian blogs. So I ordered some to try... hmm.... the taste was just so-so, it was cold and clammy and had a bit of fishy smell (腥味) to it... didn't really like it that much then. But after I returned to Korea my labmate gave me some Korean style mentaiko to eat with porridge... I changed my mind after that... mentaiko is so yummy! *^^*

Our Japanese noodles in hotpot... motsunabe (もつ鍋) which is a dish native to Fukuoka! Miss it so much... the soup is so creamy and flavorful...

Our Japanese noodles in hot pot - I think this is called motsunabe or something...
Another version of the motsunabe... that spongy-texture tasting thing... I got to know much later... was actually cow's anus!!! Can eat it in Korea also with the squid fried rice (nakji bokkum)





Oishii!! Slurping down my ramen~~ *^^*

After that went out and walked a bit more around the shopping mall... all the Jap candies and biscuits look so interesting! And that time was nearing Halloween... so there were lots of candies on sale... One thing bad about Jap stores is they don't really allow people to take photos of their merchandise...


Strawberry shortcake... anybody remember this drama from university days? Haha...
And the huge selection of mentaiko............



Really love all the cutesy soft toys in Japan................ especially that fat white seal!

To be continued...

2 comments:

josze said...

I so remember strawberry shortcake. you mean the japanese series by kyoko fukada right???

Xweing said...

yes yes!! recently i watched a jap drama also by kyoko fukada.. it's called "2nd virgin".. she still looks so lovely!!!