It was a smooth 6 hrs overnight flight on Boeing 777-200 to Fukuoka, with me watching the award-winning Japanese movie "Departures" or ”おくりびと”, while my stewardess friend worked through the flight. Juliet has been flying with Singapore Airlines for 25yrs. She has 48hrs in Fukuoka & has invited me to join her for this trip, which I gladly tagged along.
I've been to Fukuoka many times but the last was more than 10yrs ago. Fukuoka, the largest city on the island of Kyushu, has a moderate climate & it's bordered on three sides by mountains & opens on the north to the sea. It's a beautiful city with nature where visitors can enjoy some buildings with green in the urban center & flowers in full bloom all throughout the year in an island of the Hakata Bay.
The plane landed around 8 in the morning. Juliet & I took a short nap upon checking into Grand Hyatt. Lunch was at Canal City Hakata, a large shopping & entertainment complex connected to the hotel by a walkway.
We were greeted by colourful display of animals made out of flowers at the lobby. The theme "Flowers - Animal Garden" is from March 20 - May 6. Take a moment to admire the hardwork behind these arts. After taking pictures at the Animal Garden, we headed for a quick meal of Tempura Soba, as we wanted to make full use of the time to go around.
At Hakata, you can take buses that conveniently bring you around the city which cost only ¥100. We took the bus to our first stop, Tenjin, which was just minutes away from Hyatt. Bustling with energy, Tenjin is Fukuoka's principal commercial center. There're a large number of shops & department stores such as Daimaru, Mitsukoshi. Tenjin is the Fukuoka's largest shopping district, the underground shopping arcade that brings the wares of the world to Fukuoka.
Good Buys: Found these classy glass & porcelain kitchen wares at a ¥105 shop. It's really not a good time to visit Japan this time with the yen at its high, but you still can find some bargains around. It's such a joy going to the supermarkets in Japan cause they always have this 'food-tasting' culture. We spent our time there nibbling a variety of pastries & local products. The regional product Hakata is famous for, is the spicy Mentaiko (明太子) or cod roe condiment.
Mentaiko is the most popular souvenir in Fukuoka. It's cod ovum slowly marinated in chilli pepper sauce. Its spicy rich flavour is very appetizing & go well with rice. You can also enjoy it with drinks. They're also popular as special ingredient for spaghetti & pizza.
Baked Hotate Mentaiyaki Recipe (帆立の明太焼き)!
We had an early night as Juliet has to catch up with her beauty sleep since she has been working through the night before. She suggested we use her newly-bought Korean slimming face mask. We applied the gel on our face & slept with it. We'd planned to wake up early to go to the Fukuoka Castle Ruins the next day.......