For our first full day in Japan, Gage and I went to several location in Fukuoka. We started off the morning going to Dazaifu. We got back downtown with enough time in the day that we went over to Fukuoka Tower, and the Fukuoka Castle Ruins on the way back to our Hotel. Before finishing off the day, we got some Ramen at the many stands that are setup along the River.
Fukuoka in the Morning
Today's plans were to hang out at Dazaifu and see what it had to offer. We left the Hotel around 6:30 in the morning, and walked from Hakata to Tenjin a couple blocks away. On the way we caught our first taste of Sakura trees. ^_^
When we got to Tenjin, we got on a train and arrived to Dazaifu around 9:00, which was much earlier than I was hoping to get there. We literally had the entire day to check out Sakura trees and shrines and whatever else was around.
Here's a Panoramic shot of the herb gardens in the middle of the area. This was all at the base of a few surrounding mountains. We made our way through the area and began trekking up the hill.
Kyushu National Museum
On the other side of the hill was the Kyushu National Museum which had an exhibit on hand scrolls from the Kamakura period up through Edo.
It was pretty neat. I didn't even know that this museum was in Dazaifu. This was the same museum we went to on a field trip back when studying abroad. The hand scrolls were far more interesting than whatever crap was there back in the day. I don't even remember what it was.
After we were done with the museum we went back down to the area we began at, which was FAR more populated than before.
We grabbed some lunch at a local restaurant, took a look at a couple souvenir shops, and then boarded the train back to Fukuoka.
We got back to Fukuoka around 2:00, so we still had the entire day left in front of us. "Fuck it.. let's go to Fukuoka Tower". From Fukuoka Tower you can see pretty much all of Fukuoka which goes on and on and on...
Getting to the Fukuoka Castle Ruins
From Fukuoka Tower, we decided to walk back to Tenjin since there were several Shops and the Fukuoka Castle Ruins on the way.
We came across this shrine of the way:
The Fukuoka Castle was far more beautiful than I thought it would be ^_^. The first time I was here was in late October or early November, when all the leaves of the trees were gone and everything felt dead and cold. But with the advent of spring and "new beginnings", the Ruins were far more vibrant and alive than back then. ^_^
There were plenty of food vendors through the park on the way to the Ruins, too.
Fukuoka Castle Ruins
We finally made it through the gates of the Ruins and made our way into the complex.
and then made it inside. ^_^
We hung out at the top of the Castle for a while. Here's a Panoramic shot of the Sakura Forest from the top. Watched the sunset and also rested for a while since we've been on our feet for nearly 12 hours.
Eventually we headed back down to the streets below.
Hakata Ramen stands
We headed back to Tenjin and went to a couple shops. I picked up this badass Hamburger CD case. We went across the same River we did early in the day, which looked quite different at night.
And we proceeded to have some delicious Ramen. The owners of these stands completely pack up everything and re-setup everything every single day.
So that's it for our first full day in Japan. We accomplished far more than I ever thought we would. We left our hotel around 6:30 AM and didn't get back until 9:30 PM at night. After 15 1/2 hours on foot, we feet we thoroughly ground into hamburger. When we got back, I literally laid down on the bed and didn't get up until 4:00 AM this morning.
These are just some of the photos throughout the day. Here's the archive of all my good photos of the day: http://www.theschlock.com/photo/080405_fukuoka/
Here's my plan for the upcoming days:
On Monday (today, right now), we'll head to Nagasaki and bum around town. I'll show Gage some of the nifty sight-seeing places like the Atomic Bomb epicenter, Peace Park, probably the Museum too. We'll probably hit Beardo. On Tuesday, we'll probably do more of the same but do far more shopping.
On Wednesday, Ikuko took the day off, so we'll head up to Sasebo to meet her. I want to check out Hirado castle, which is a little north of Sasebo, and also other places around there where we could find more Sakura ^_^. We'll spend the night in Sasebo somewhere, probably Cybac or a Karaoke box or something. Maybe Ikuko has some room at her place.
On Thursday, we'll head back to Nagasaki but take make some stops in Towns on the way back, like Omura and Isahaya. Hopefully, Hilary will get back to me about this Italian place, and we'll have some Pizza in Nagayo, too.
On Friday, we'll head back to Fukuoka and do much much shopping around town. We didn't really spend a lot of time in stores yesterday, so this'll be the day to make up for that.
Early Saturday morning is our flight back to the states. :/
There you have it ^_^