Our second day in Fukuoka was much better than our first day. We were really thankful for this because we were super tired the previous day due to our accommodation debacle.
Transferred to a Japanese Traditional House
We checked out from Stay Airport in the morning. It was a great and comfortable place but was way above our per night budget. Thankfully, we found a less pricey option via AirBnb. We transferred to Yohei’s Traditional House of Japan. We were really happy to find this accommodation because just as the listing says, it is a small traditional house. It has two levels with one room per level. The first-floor room even had a tatami floor!
Each room in the house is listed on AirBnb so, at times, there will be different people sharing the house. Lucky for us, nobody else booked the place during our stay. That meant we had the whole house to ourselves! We made ourselves comfortable in both the upper and lower rooms. We took our time in the bath (which had a traditional Japanese bathtub). The toilet was separate from the bath area, which was great because Arcel and I need not get in each other’s way. The kitchen was also well equipped and I even used it as my temporary office during our stay. #digitalnomad
Everything was great except for one incident that happened during our last day in that house. But I’ll get to that later. Overall, we were happy with our stay at Yohei’s place.
Hung out with Ken at Canal City
When we lost our accommodation the night before, Ken was the person who helped us. He is a Japanese student who became friends with Arcel through a language exchange app. He also visited Cebu for more English learning and I met him during one of the events organized by Cebu Language Exchange.
Anyway, he was the one who contacted Stay Airport and made it possible for us to check in that late. Otherwise, the language barrier would have been overwhelming for us. We are definitely super thankful to Ken for his help. He even helped us with our transfer to Yohei’s house and carried my 18kg bag upstairs. Thank you so very much!
And since his hometown was near Hakata, the area where we were staying, he made time to meet us and to tour us around. Our first stop was Canal City, a huge mall in Fukuoka with a, well, canal feature.
Ichiran Ramen – Ramen for Introverts!
It was fun just strolling inside Canal City mall and looking at all the interesting Japanese shops. When we got hungry, Ken took us to this famous ramen place in Fukuoka – Ichiran Ramen. It was such an interesting place because when you get inside the shop, it is dark and each customer will have to sit at this sort of booth.
Each booth accommodates only one customer, which enables you to simply focus on your ramen and nothing else. If you are an introvert like me, often eat alone, or a ramen-first-before-anything-else kind of person, you’ll surely enjoy Ichiran’s atmosphere. We certainly did!
Now, if you really want to have that feeling of sharing your meal with friends, the wooden dividers on each side can actually be folded away so you’ll have a connection with the people sitting beside you. 😀 As for the ramen, it was super filling and delicious. The best part is that instead of a menu, you’ll be given this paper with choices. You actually get to personalize your ramen! You can choose the spiciness, the thickness of the broth, and the toppings. Awesome!
My ramen finally came and I had no complaints! It was delicious and filling. Was warm enough, too, to chase away the Fall coldness of Fukuoka. Best of all, I got to enjoy this ramen with friends in such a novel environment. Definitely one for the books!
Experiencing Kushida Shrine
Part of Arcel’s plan for this trip (she did our itinerary) is to visit the various shrines and cultural assets within walking distance of Canal City. Ken made the whole thing easy since he was a local and helped us with reading the signs. So, after lunch, we headed to Kushida shrine in Hakata.
Said to be founded in the year 757 (wow!), this Shinto shrine is dedicated to the gods Amaterasu (Goddess of the Sun and the Universe) and Susanoo (God of the Seas and Storms). Side note: I love that Japan has shrines and temples not only for gods but for goddesses as well! My favorite, by the way, is Kannon Busatsu, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. (I got to visit her temple in Kyoto <3)
Kushida Shrine is a must visit if you are in Hakata, Fukuoka. Even if you are not religious or do not subscribe to Shinto beliefs, it is still a great place to experience the local culture and admire the architecture. I especially loved the carvings and symmetry of the buildings there.
Ken even taught us how to pray there. Drop a coin (either a 5 yen or 50 yen for luck), ring the bell near the altar to greet the deity, bow twice, clap your hands two times, pray or express gratitude while your hands are still together, then bow one last time. Just by experiencing this ritual for myself, I can already appreciate the courteous and respectful nature of the Japanese. Again, thanks Ken for showing us glimpses of your culture!
More Temple Experience
After Kushida Shrine, we continued walking and came across another temple. We even found a gorgeous, fluffy, black cat there! <3
Hakata Machiya Folk Museum
After visiting those temples, we made our way to the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum. There we learned about the weaving origins of the area and even stumbled upon a manga exhibition! I really enjoy going to these places because I am a culture buff. While others may find museums and exhibits boring, I love them and will always be excited to learn something from them.
We even came across a craftsman exhibiting his work. This guy carves tiny dolls and figures and they were exquisite! He tried conversing with us through Ken and he even told Ken to take us to more attractions in the area. Seriously, it was like Fukuoka went into overdrive to make up for the craziness that happened on Day 01 haha.
Fangirling at the Jump Shop
After visiting the museum, we actually went to Tochoji Temple, which was suggested by the old man above. It had a pagoda and an area where you have to go through a super dark entryway/tunnel to see certain religious exhibits. It also has a huge wooden Buddha and the tunnel was actually located beneath it. Taking pictures was prohibited there, though, so got no photos of that area.
Afterwards, we went back to Canal City to visit the Jump Shop. Arcel and I are huge anime fans and the Jump Shop contains so much merchandise of some of our favorite animes. I seriously was tempted to ruin my carefully planned budget the moment I entered that store!
Dinner with Moomin
Tired from all of that walking and shopping, we decided to get something to eat. Canal City actually has a Moomin Cafe. Now, Moomin cafes have gone viral because they are considered anti-loneliness cafes! We did not know this at that time. All Arcel and I were thinking was that the cafe looks so cute because of all the stuffed toys on the chairs and that we wanted to try it. So, we dragged Ken in there haha. Thanks Ken for putting up with our geekiness since the Jump Shop 😀
One Piece Light Show!
My number one favorite anime is One Piece! My number one ship is Luffy X Nami. I love every main character and I super admire the creativity of the author. So, when I spotted a notice about a One Piece light show while walking around Canal City, I was determined that we watch it!
We were not disappointed. It was a cute show using lights and projectors. What was really awesome was that they used Canal City’s water feature and buildings in the best possible way! It was such an enjoyable show. My not-so-inner One Piece otaku was definitely overjoyed!
Satisfying the Munchies at an Izakaya
Okay, so we were supposed to have ended the day there. We got back to our accommodation, enjoyed the tatami floors, and all that. But then, we got hungry again haha. So, we made our way to Hakata’s izakaya spot. An izakaya basically means an informal gastropub. It is where a lot of Japanese go to have dinner and mostly to have after-work drinks.
Arcel and I are both non-alcohol drinkers but we still wanted to try an izakaya. We found one that looks interesting (read: the servers were cute) and promptly ordered Sukiyaki. One of the servers taught us how to eat Sukiyaki, but it was too complicated for us that we ended murdering it 😀 One is supposed to take the noodles out of the main pot, dip them in raw egg before slurping them down. But we were so confused and hungry, plus eating a raw egg is kind of strange to us, so we wanted to just mix the whole thing.
We did not want to somehow offend the server though, so we kind of did some ninja moves. We made sure no servers were looking and then quickly dumped the raw egg into the pot. We made a mess of that sukiyaki for sure! Haha sorry! We did enjoy our dinner though, more than usual in fact. And we appeased our hunger, which is the most important thing! Lol.
And that ended our Day 02 in Fukuoka. Was a truly fun and memorable day! Stay tuned for Day 03!