Fukuoka was an easy flight from Hong Kong and I got the JR north Kyushu Rail pass as I wanted to visit the famous onsens in Yufuin and Beppu and finish off in Kumamoto. Going from Beppu to Kumamoto already made the whole Rail pass worth the money so consider that before you land in Japan.
I started off my Kyushu adventure in Fukuoka and I was so damn lucky it was Sakura season. I was also lucky when I arrived in the evening, my hostel was just beside Maizuru park and OMG the sakuras were amazing and the Japanese Love Sakura so much that they are all in the park too admiring them. Maizuru Park also has the Fukuoka castle ruins in it. The whole park was full of sakuras and you can picnic and buy food from the food stands that come up because of the season. When I was there, there was a light show of sakuras at night and it made the Sakura experience even more amazing. Not bad for the first night in Fukuoka.
After all the Sakura viewing, I walked to Ichiran! There are a number of branches and I went to the one in Tenjin. There was a queue already when I arrived but it moves pretty quickly. It’s easy to order, you get the ticket from the vending machine, make your selection, give it to the person as you walk in and you are shown your booth. I got the one with the works of course, everything in it, 😂. It was delicious and rich and it came in a rectangular bowl, apparently no other ichiran has that shape bowl, so you get bragging rights you ate Ichiran where it started.
After eating, I took a short walk back to my hostel and walked around Daimyo. Daimyo is a very cool neighborhood and there were many crowded, nice smelling restaurants and a very trendy local crowd. If I had more days I would definitely eat in this area and I’ll choose the crowded ones. In the daytime, there were also shops that sells cool clothes, definitely a cool place to be day or night.
The next morning, I woke up early as I wanted to beat the crowd at Dazaifu shrine. This shrine is one of the most important shrines in Japan and it’s very popular. It’s easy to take a short train ride from Fukuoka Tenjin station on the Nishitetsu Tenjin omuta line.
Once you arrive, go to the toilets here before you exit the gantries because it’s going to be cleaner than the ones at the shrine.
Once you exit, there are signs everywhere for the shrine and the pedestrian shopping street has loads of things to eat and drink. One of the popular snacks that people queue up for is the Umegae mochi with red bean. It’s delicious and it’s freshly made and I had one prior to going into the shrine.
The shine is pretty large and you have to queue up to pray. After praying, do walk the gardens as it’s huge and beautiful too! I hiked up to the shrine at the top and there is also an amusement Park nearby.
The Sakura was beautiful in the gardens and there are nice restaurants where you can take a rest and have lunch. I had my green tea and Umegae mochi again under the Sakura trees and it was a wondeful rest stop. There is also an Ichiran near the train station if you fancy more ramen.
After the shrine, I went back to Tenjin station and had a craving for sushi, so I found a very popular sushi joint called Hyotan Sushi. It was delicious and not too pricey.
There is also a lot of shopping to be done at Tenjin area but I spent my time walking to the Tenjin central park to enjoy cherry blossoms. Thereafter, I walked to Canal City as it’s one of the biggest malls near Hakata. The riverside is beautiful with tulips and Sakura when I was there. I must say the flowers in Fukuoka are very impressive and I loved every minute of just walking around. Somehow I ended back near Tenjin and I craved for a good Tonkatsu.
A good Tonkatsu restaurant to eat at in Fukuoka is at Wagokoro Tonkatsu Anzu. They use the freshest pork and vegetables grown in their own farm. It was delicious.
They say a trip to Fukuoka is not complete if you do not eat at the Yatai! The Yatai is night stalls that pop up around 730pm. It was very cold, 6 degrees when I was there but I braved the cold winds and walked back to the Nakasu riverside to sample the ramen. There are many stalls selling similar things so head to the one that is crowded or follow your nose. I had ramen and beef tongue at one of them and it was delicious. You can also try the fried ramen and Oden which are also popular. I couldn’t eat anymore than the ramen and beef tongue as I already ate pork Katsu earlier!
After all the food, I had to walk back and realized that near Tenjin station, there are also Yatais around.
The next morning, I headed to Hakata Station for my transfer to Yufuin, which will take me 2.5 hours. Therefore, at Hakata Station, I ate my fvaourfe Ippudo ramen on the 9th floor of Amu mall. It was super satisfying and then I was ready to brave colder weather in Yufuin, which is famous for their onsen!
Fukuoka can be easily done in 2-3 days but if you wanna eat more, stay more days and make more side trips! My friend has been to Saga and that’s beautiful too and a short train ride away.
Eat, sleep, explore, repeat
Stella goes west