Thursday, March 8, 2018

[birthday trip] Travelling to Fukuoka

I'm back from my 9D8N vacation to Fukuoka, as well as other cities in the Kyushu Region! I can't wait to share on my travel experiences with you guys! This birthday trip was planned by my lovely baby hubby.

I took a morning flight with Japan Airlines on a Saturday to Fukuoka, which had a stopover at Tokyo. The flying time to Tokyo was approximately 7 hours, and thereafter the wait in the airport for our domestic flight was about 2hours+.

By the time I reached Fukuoka, it was already around 9pm plus locally, and it was a cold night!

It was a breeze to travel from the airport to the city, as the subway station is located conveniently near Fukuoka airport. Using our 'Suica' cards, we took the local train to Hakata Station, the main transport hub in Fukuoka, which was a mere 2 train stops away. This took about 5-10 minutes!

The weather was cold, ranging from about 4'C to 6'C. We walked less than 15 mins to our hotel, The 'Royal Park Hotel, Fukuoka'. The room was spacious, clean and well equipped on the usual travel amenities.

After checking into our room, it was already near to midnight, so we decided to have supper nearby. Ramen stalls are E-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e in Fukuoka, so naturally that was our first meal for this trip! After the meal, we went over to Family Mart to pick up breakfast for the next day.

The next morning, after a scrumptious breakfast of Onigiri and various mochi(s), we proceeded to explore Hakata!

The first thing we visited was the Pokémon Centre, as it was one of the 'Must-do' places on my list. I am an avid Pokémon Go fan and player so this first stop was a no brainer!

Inside the premises, they offered a wide selection of plush toys, stationary, lunch-boxes, bags/pouches and keychains. I really love the Valentine's Day series!

After shopping, we had 'Motsunabe' for lunch. This dish is a speciality of Kyushu, especially in Fukuoka, and in essence, it is steamboat with Pork or Beef tripe/offal as the main ingredients. As it was still Winter in Japan, this dish is essential to the locals, and we obviously had to give it a try!

The restaurant that we were at, 'Show-Raku' apparently serves one of the best Hakata-Styled Motsunabe, and we ordered a portion each, as there was a set-value option for 1 pax available for lunch. The restaurant offered soup bases of Miso, or Soy sauce.

I had the standard soy sauce as my soup base, while Baby chose Miso, which was thicker but more rich in flavor. The 15-minute wait in order to enter the restaurant was compensated by the immense taste of the dish! Fully recommend any visitors to Hakata to try this restaurant, which is located at the basement of Tenjin Station.

After lunch, we took the train to Ohorikoen (Ohori Park) for some sight-seeing and we took some random scenery photos and of course, some OOTDs. 

We took a break from all the walking by resting at a French café, the Boul'ange' Café for afternoon tea and pastry. More shopping awaited us at the core of Tenjin!


As night was falling, we decided to try something unique, which is supposedly only found in Fukuoka. 'Yatai' Open-air food stands, which are akin to something like Pasar-Malam pop up only at night around Hakata, and serve various types of home-cooked food. Note, these pop up stalls are amazingly small, and can only seat up to say, less than 10 people at a go. It's a covered stall with seating akin to a bar, and you have to huddle up next to strangers in close proximity.

We had our first ever Yatai experience at 'Mami Chan', as we read that they offered an English menu. It was quite awkward at first, to eat my dinner in a tiny 'restaurant' on the side of the road. To be frank, a Yatai is literally a stall covered by a tent with cooking utensils in the middle, and a 'U'-shaped bar setting with seats. Nevertheless, Mami Chan is foreigner friendly, and is ideal for any newbie trying out Yatai for the first time. The food was surprisingly good, and was relatively cheap. Baby had Ramen again, and I had fried Japanese noodles, with some sides of Yakitori that was shared between us. Oh and Baby had a huge bottle of beer to himself. How to fit into suit before wedding huh?

This concluded my travel experience for my first two days in Hakata, Fukuoka! I will share more on my Kyushu travel experiences on my next post! 

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