The last time I went to Kyushu, I was in northern Kyushu: Oita, Beppu, Kitakyushu area; very rural.  Fukuoka is a city I’ve wanted to go to for awhile, so when Alyssa said she wanted to go I jumped on.  Fukuoka is also the home of my favorite type of ramen: tonkotsu ramen and the hometown of Ippudo, one of my favorite restaurants in NYC.

Fukuoka weekend trip in pictures…stuff I bought to come later:

Dazaifu is a little ways outside of Fukuoka proper, and I think this is part of the reason it reminds me so much of Kamakura (which is a little ways outside of Tokyo).  Also the main square around the station and the shopping arcade leading up to the shrine are similar-looking.

Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine.  Also, I don’t know why, but when I went back and looked at my pictures, I had a bunch of these stone lions…

 

From the rock garden at Kōmyōzen, a zen temple.  It looked like an event was going on, but the attendant at the front said it was ok to enter…then as we were leaving, he told us there was an event, and it was a funeral.  Thanks, attendant guy.

 

Kyushu National Museum.  Not allowed to take pictures inside.  Very well done, I’d recommend it if you’re here.  We did not see the special exhibit, just the main one.  I liked how the focus was not solely on Japan, but on the development of Japan relative to the rest of Asian history.

 

Ippudo!!  Also exciting was the fact that there was no wait!  The usual wait time at the NYC location can exceed an hour…an hour…for RAMEN.  Ramen which costs $13 to the Japan location’s $9.  But it is delicious; tonkotsu is my favorite type of ramen.  Differences between Japan and NYC (other than prices and wait time): toppings and side dishes at the table; the ability to order extra noodles if you run out while you still have broth (which I shamelessly ordered); ability to specify noodle texture to your server; atmosphere at this location (3 in Fukuoka) was decidedly casual to NYC’s upscale look.

 

Ohori Park.  Gorgeous, I wish there was a place like this in Kyoto.  There’s a running/biking/walking path around the lake and these small islands and bridge that run through the middle.  Also went to the Fukuoka Art Museum which was located around the perimeter.  Decent museum, but I wouldn’t call it spectacular.

 

Yatai are small food stalls that appear when it gets dark on the streets in Fukuoka.  We found this one in front of Daimaru and later found out it was our hostel’s recommended yatai.  Generally they serve standard Japanese bar food, but one of the popular items at this one was tacos.  They’re Japan-ified, but delicious nonetheless.  If you don’t like Tabasco though I wouldn’t recommend them.  We also got yakisoba.  It would have been easy to sit here for hours ordering food and drinking, but Alyssa had a budget and I had a night bus back to Kansai to catch.

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