Wednesday, March 21, 2018

[Kyushu holiday] A day trip to Kokura (Kitakyushu)

Prior to our departure, Baby and I purchased the 5-Day Kyushu Shinkansen passes from JTB, and each pass cost us around SGD250. The pass covered the entire North and South of Kyushu Prefecture. We decided to visit Kokura (Kitakyushu), Nagasaki, Beppu, Kumamoto and Kagoshima from our base point of Fukuoka. With the passes, we were allowed to travel on an unlimited number of rides to all areas on all the local JR train service lines. These included all 'Special Rapid Train' services too!
After having brekkie, we headed down to Hakata JR Station to exchange our JR passes for the actual train passes. The travelling time from Hakata to Kokura took us only 45 minutes.

A disclaimer, if you are using the JR pass to head to Kyushu, note that the pass only works on the Shinkansen train TOWARDS Kokura. You cannot use the JR pass for the Shinkansen to head back to Hakata from Kokura, for reasons I have no idea. This should not stop you from visiting Kokura though, as you can still use the JR pass to use the normal trains from Kokura back to Hakata. The only drawback is you can't use the shinkansen for the return leg hence the travelling time is slightly more.

Upon reaching Kokura JR Station, we walked down to Kokura Castle which was only a 10 minute walk away from the station.
We stopped by to get some Pablo Cheese Tarts to satisfy our sweet cravings. 

Kokura Castle is one of the last few castles left in Kyushu which was built sometime in 1602. It is  located within Kokura City in Kitakyushu. We paid 350yen each to enter the castle, and it contains a small museum. I loved the interesting and interactive exhibits within the castle.

The admission fee is worth paying for. We picked up a souvenir medallion before leaving the castle.

We had lunch at an unpretentious eatery place which serves udon and tendon. I had a simple bowl of udon while Baby had a tendon lunch set. I swear in all my time I have never had a better of udon then here. It was a 'dry-type' of udon, which had chicken and egg in it. The combination of the semi-cooked egg mixed with the udon made it a sort of 'hor-fun' like gravy, and it was amazingly delicious! This was easily the tastiest udon I've ever had in Japan!

Shopping in Kokura is fun, and it is the perfect place to shop in Kyushu apart from Hakata. I loved my shopping hauls from Kokura, as I picked up some earrings, beauty products, a pair of ankle boots from GU, and miscellaneous items from Seria, the 100 Yen Shop.

After a day of shopping and sightseeing in Kokura, we had our dinner at Kyosushi. We settled on sushi and sashimi, and the damage was pretty on the high side, but I suppose it was acceptable after the currency conversion.

Before leaving Kokura, we picked up some local snacks which is only limited to the Kyushu region. We also bought a box of Mentaiko at 1080yen for our indulgence during our entire Japan trip! 

Travelling around in Japan is easy as taking public transport is a breeze too! I took a photo with the 'Conductor', one of the characters from the popular Japanese anime, 'Galaxy Express 999' before taking the train back to Hakata. 

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