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FUKUOKA
  • TOKYO
  • FUKUOKA

STUDY & ART

Japan's new trend, an accommodation bookshop is like a secret hideaway in a stylish place. After enjoying reading at your own private and special space, take a trip to the Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine, known for Wisdom of God. Great itinerary with art, literature and so much more.

Official Tokyo Travel Guide
https://www.gotokyo.org/en/

Local government official website
https://www.crossroadfukuoka.jp/en/

TRAVELER

  • Traveled : July, 2019 Ian Livingston
    Editor, JohnnyJet.com
    Reside in USA
  • Traveled : July, 2019 Noam Katz
    Interpretor, Journalist, model, actor and voice actor
    Reside in Tokyo
    Home country: USA

San Francisco International Airport

JAL Examine the directions from your country

  • Ian Livingston

    JAL international flight:My flight into Haneda from San Francisco doubled as my first time flying Japan Airlines, and thanks to the work of the gate agents and the non-pilot staff, it was impressive the whole way to Tokyo. The food they served was tasty and properly Japanese enough to excite me, including in the initial offering of bagged rice crackers. I passed the almost ten hours comfortably in this airplane.

Haneda Airport

Tokyo Metropolitan Area

Day1

TOKYO

Shibuyamore

Shibuya

Shibuya district is the origins of youth culture. You will find several famous restaurants, bars, night clubs and live music venues flourishing among rows of stylish department stores and shops with a constant vibrant and youthful atmosphere. Shibuya is definitely the place to go to if you want to get the latest kawaii (cute) trends published in magazines. In addition, you can also enjoy dining at fashionable cafés and affordable eateries. Situated in front of Shibuya Station are some of the district’s landmarks such as the statue of Hachiko and the “Shibuya Scramble Crossing.”

  • Ian Livingston

    Shibuya walking tour:This was not my first time in Shibuya and I still managed to learn a lot. We began at the statue of Hachikō and proceeded to dive deeper into one of the densest areas of life on Earth; then we headed to Shibuya Stream. We had a chance to eat along the way during the Shibuya walking tour. I found many modern cafes and restaurants. This area is still under development, so further growth is expected in the future.

    Lunch at Aoyama Kawakami-an:I loved this meal. Both the soba noodles and the hefty plate of tempura were tasty. My favorite part, though, came toward the end of the meal, when the soba was finished and the soba-yu came out in a beautiful pot. The concept of making a soup out of the remaining flavors was new to me, and interesting to learn about, but more importantly the mixture with soup, wasabi, green onion, and radish was delicious.

  • Noam Katz

    Shibuya walking tour:Shibuya is constantly changing, and some of the latest commercial facilities, such as the newly opened Shibuya Stream complex, truly serve to reinforce the city’s reputation as being trendy and cosmopolitan. Nevertheless, peaceful, secluded spots like the Konno Hachimangu Shrine can also be found just steps away from all the hustle and bustle.

    Lunch at Aoyama Kawakami-an:Aoyama is a fashionable upscale district and this soba (buckwheat noodle) shop fits right in with its stylish and modern interior design. Still, the menu manages to be reasonably priced and you can enjoy hot or cold soba with freshly fried tempura, and even some more unusual sides like roasted duck. They also provide a complimentary soba tea.

Train
1 minutes

8 minutes by foot

Nezu Museummore

Nezu Museum

The museum was founded in 1941 to preserve and display Japanese and East Asian antique art from the collection of its founder, Nezu Kaichiro, a businessman whose career included being President of the Tobu Railway Co., Ltd.
It reopened in October 2009, newly designed by Kengo Kuma. The expanse of this open, relaxing space is an enjoyable place to appreciate art.
The lush 17,000 square meters of Japanese garden creates an oasis in the city, where visitors can take pleasure in the passage of the seasons.

  • Ian Livingston

    Nezu Museum:This is a beautiful museum from the outside. I loved the lines of bamboo that guide visitors in. Inside, its collection is impressive, but most notably of manageable size, especially for westerners stepping in for an introduction to eastern art. The rotating tea culture exhibit on the second floor is great too, but it was the lush gardens and tea houses at the back of the property that made this stop memorable. The matcha latte I had was the best I've ever tasted.

    Dinner at Sakazuki-ya Kazuchi:The menu at Sakazuki-ya Kazuchi, where we ate on the second floor looking out on the streets of Asakusa, was full of surprises. My favorite plates included the oysters in soy sauce and garlic, the potato salad with radish, and the sashimi, all of which had the table talking about how tasty they were. I had a meal in a Japanese original manner, bending my legs into a sitting position on a tatami mat.

  • Noam Katz

    Nezu Museum:Nezu Museum boasts an outstanding collection of Asian art, all housed inside a lovely Kengo Kuma-designed modern wood-paneled structure. Even travelers who are not the most ardent art enthusiasts will still enjoy a visit to the site’s expansive Japanese garden, complete with a pleasant garden cafe, four tea houses, ponds, and enough foliage to forget you’re in the heart of Tokyo.

    Kuramae walking tour to Asakusa:Sometimes Tokyo is best appreciated by a simple stroll, and this walking tour allows you to appreciate the differences across neighborhoods. What was once an old storehouse district is now a series of office buildings, interspersed with the occasional Showa Era (1926 to 1989) shop or long-established restaurants. Yet, soon enough, you’ll come across the distinctive Kaminarimon gate and the souvenir shop-flanked main approach to Sensoji Temple.

    Dinner at Sakazuki-ya Kazuchi:Located within walking distance of Asakusa, this izakaya (Japanese pub) occupies two floors in an old wooden structure full of ambiance and charm. Climb up the steps to the tatami rooms on the second floor and you’ll feel at home as you sit on tatami and dine on a variety of small tapas-like dishes, such as sashimi, shellfish, and pickled vegetables.

Train
1 minutes

Train (JR)
14 minutes

BOOK AND BED TOKYOmore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

BOOK AND BED TOKYO

BOOK AND BED TOKYO in Ikebukuro is a hostel that will give great pleasure to book-lovers. A unique design in which beds are part of large bookshelves stocked with books from various genres, and a lounge space that is open to the public during the day. Why not pick up a book you may normally not read, and enjoy a blissful slumber while reading at your leisure?

  • Ian Livingston

    BOOK AND BED TOKYO ASAKUSA:Book & Bed Tokyo Asakusa is about a five minute walk from the Nakamise street leading up to Senso-ji, tucked into the sixth floor of a multi-purpose building and completely insulated from the tourist hive below. There was a wall of lockers at entrance, and I liked it because it seemed that I was entering a secret space. Here is a cool and affordable way to stay the night in Asakusa.

  • Noam Katz

    BOOK AND BED TOKYO ASAKUSA:Mere steps from Asakusa's famous Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the entrance to this novel take on Japan's capsule hotel concept is like a secret hideaway. Inside this excellently located hotel, cozy, single-person nooks with bedding are tucked between the left side bookshelves, giving guests the option of perusing a periodical on the comfortable couches or reading a book in bed.

Day2

KYUSHU(FUKUOKA)

Haneda Airport

JAL (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details

  • Ian Livingston

    JAL Domestic flight:Getting the Toei to Haneda for the flight to Fukuoka was quick and easy, as was check-in inside the airy domestic terminal at HND. The boarding process was once again the most miraculous part of the journey. After less than two hours in the air, we touched down at Fukuoka Airport.

  • Noam Katz

    JAL Domestic flight:The JAL cabin crew gives every passenger a high standard of customer service and kindness. Even when flying within Japan, free soft drinks are served in economy class and free Wi-Fi is also available on some flights.

Fukuoka Airportmore

Fukuoka Airport

Train
10 minutes

2 minutes by foot

  • Ian Livingston

    Nagahama Fish Market is famous for its pork bone ramen, but it is also home to huge and excellent fish market. The bridge over the fish market is open 24 hours a day and you can always see the auction from 3 am. If you happen to be in Fukuoka on the second Saturday of the month, part of the market is open to the general public, so be sure to stop by for the “Citizen's Thanks Day” event where you can buy fresh seafood.

    Lunch at Ichiba-zushi Uotatsu :I could eat at this place every day. Sushi is my favorite food to eat in New York City, and this place made it clear to me how far superior Japanese sushi culture is to any other city, including my home town. Tasting the fish of the region, over rice, beside the sea and Fukuoka city’s three-building fish market, was a great first step into what was a new part of the country for me. Of the eight–-ten plates I finished, the toro and the amberjack were my favorites.

    Hakata Machiya Folk Museum tour and craft activity:Magemono is one of the many handicraft traditions in Japan that are a source of regional pride. The Hakata Machiya Folk Museum and the workshop inside helped me connect the natural environment of Fukuoka with the human history in this place. Working with my hands to paint bent wood, with a local master on hand, was a neat experience.

    The unadon was truly delicious, and the focus on the unagi throughout the meal offered a nice opportunity to drink and try a few complementary sakes, which I am still finding my taste for. The private-room, tatami-mat setting, and most of all the excellent unadon, made it a meal to remember.

  • Noam Katz

    Lunch at Ichiba-zushi Uotatsu:You can be sure the fish is fresh at this friendly conveyor belt sushi shop, located right next to the Nagahama Fish Market. The sushi chefs know a little English and have also provided English labels on many of the dishes, making it quite easy to know what fish is passing by your seat. An incredible variety and reasonable cost make this shop a must-visit for sushi aficionados.

    Hakata Machiya Folk Museum tour and craft activity:Magemono refers to traditional wooden containers and objects crafted by bending thin strips of cedar and cypress. Here, you can watch artisans at work, and if you're artistically inclined you can even try your hand at painting decorations on specially prepared wooden objects. In the museum, you can also learn about the famous Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival.

    Dinner at Hakata Meidai Yoshizuka Unagi-ya:Unagi is a specialty enjoyed in Fukuoka as well as in other parts of Japan. It's especially popular in the summer, as it reputedly helps alleviate fatigue during hot, muggy weather. This traditional Japanese restaurant with tatami seating and kimono-clad servers dishes up a variety of tasty eel recipes.

&AND HOSTEL

Day3

&AND HOSTEL

2 minutes by foot

Train
5 minutes


5 minutes by foot

THE RAIL KITCHEN CHIKUGOmore

THE RAIL KITCHEN CHIKUGO

The train interior uses regional resources from along the train line that include a woven bamboo ceiling made from Yame bamboo, beautiful Jojima roof tiles in oxidized silver, furniture from the furniture town of Okawa, and the Chikugo River as drawn by an artist. Kick back and relax to the culture and lifestyle of Chikugo while enjoying the train and cuisine that uses locally-produced ingredients.

  • Ian Livingston

    THE RAIL KITCHEN CHIKUGO:Nishitetsu has done an excellent job with the Rail Kitchen Chikugo. The three-car train was visually beautiful inside and out, a point brought into focus by the other train that we watched pull out of Fukuoka station across the platform from our Rail Kitchen car. The red-and-white grid-style design work reminded me of an old American diner or fast food shack. The pairing of a coffee and hot dog was tasty on our brunch trip to Dazaifu.

  • Noam Katz

    THE RAIL KITCHEN CHIKUGO:Sitting inside the dining cars of this well-designed train, you'd be tempted to forget you're on a railway altogether―until the scenery starts changing. A focus on Fukuoka foods and materials make this an exceptional experience.

Train
40 minutes

5 minutes by foot

Dazaifu Tenmangumore

RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS

Dazaifu Tenmangu

The shrine was built here upon the death of Sugawara Michizane, known as the God of literature and once a high-ranking government official who was exiled to Dazaifu. The main shrine was erected over his grave, with the current main shrine (an important cultural property) rebuilt in 1591. The shrine is host to camphor and plum trees, as well as Japanese iris that bloom and offer fragrances for every season. There are many Shinto rituals and festivals during the year, such as the Usogae telling of lies and Oni Sube fire festival in the New Year, Kyokusui no en poetry in the spring, and the Jinkoushiki god procession in the fall.

  • Ian Livingston

    Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine:Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is one of the most interesting shrines or places of worship that I have ever visited. Each time I have visited Japan I have found myself in appreciation of Shintoism and its shrines for their effectiveness in guiding my mind toward calm, and here again that was the case. I found myself massaged into contentment by the beautiful and ancient plum and camphor trees. My mind was cleared to focus on the story of Tenjin-sama(known as a deity of scholarship) and his importance to contemporary Japanese students. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine was great for exploring the grounds, watching a man perform magic, and eating sweets on the way in and out.

    Lunch at Ichiran:A good bowl of ramen is probably my favorite thing to eat in the world. Lunch was a shining example of the tonkotsu style ramen that Fukuoka/Hakata is known for, and I was excited to try.Just steps from the Dazaifu rail station, this special Ichiran location serves ramen in five-sided bowls and delivers good luck to students. It easily folded into the tour, using Dazaifu station, and is a wonderful pairing with Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.

  • Noam Katz

    Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine:Enshrining the deity of education and calligraphy, Sugawara no Michizane, this shrine is popular among students who come to pray for success with exams. About six thousand plum trees and numerous old camphor trees grace its peaceful grounds.

    Lunch a Ichiran:Much more than a delicious bowl of umami-laden Hakata-style ramen, Ichiran is a singular dining experience. The ramen chain is already well known for the single-seat stalls that allow you to focus on the ramen's flavor. Additionally, being near Dazaifu―a shrine dedicated to the deity of education―this branch is the place to go for students hoping to pass exams. Nearly every aspect, from the unusual shapes of the bowls, the length of noodles, to the water cups, carries an auspicious meaning.

Train
40 minutes

Bus
30 minutes

Taxi
15 minutes

Kyoho Winerymore

Kyoho Winery

The winery is at the foot of the Minou mountain range and surrounded by nature. There is a vineyard and underground wine cellar that you can tour at your leisure. In addition to red and white Kyoho wines, the winery offers unique wines made of various fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, and Amanatsu oranges, which are all on sale and can be sampled for free.

  • Ian Livingston

    Kyoho Winery :The property was impressive, but it was the story of the winery’s origins that I found most engaging. The story of post-WWII Japan is told by this winery’s existence. Anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the country and its relations with the U.S. should take a tour. The chance to taste unusual wines from fruits like blueberries and strawberries is just a bonus.

  • Noam Katz

    Kyoho Winery:Hugging the hillside below the Mino Mountain Range, the pleasant grounds of this winery offer excellent views of the river valley. After a devastating landslide in 2012 wiped out almost 80 percent of the Kyoho grapevines, the winery is now recovering and many young, replanted vines rise out of the ground and spread their branches like a leafy version of the legendary phoenix.

Taxi
30 minutes

Harazuru Hot Spring Taisenkaku

  • Ian Livingston

    Dinner at Taisenkaku:When I arrived for dinner in Taisenkaku, I was rewarded with a filling and sophisticated meal. I was relaxed after dinner for rest of the night. The hot pot was my favorite part.

    Accommodation (Taisenkaku):Taisenkaku hotel was a big and nice place to spend the night. My tatami-mat room was airy and private, with great views to wake up to. The highlight of Taisenkaku, however, are its onsens, which includes a jungle-style onsen draped in greenery with a waterslide. I checked out feeling invigorated.

  • Noam Katz

    Dinner at Taisenkaku:During dinner, enjoy a delicious kaiseki multicourse meal with plenty of local ingredients, such as leafy takana vegetables, mizutaki (a hot pot dish rich in umami with chicken, cabbage, and mushrooms) and ayu (sweetfish). Some seats are even available close to a small Japanese garden and pond.

    Accommodation (Taisenkaku):Situated near the Chikugo River, Taisenkaku’s peaceful, natural setting is already relaxing enough. However, the real highlight are the baths, which include an outdoor rotenburo bath nestled amid rich greenery with a small waterfall and its famous "Jungle Bath," a series of pools within a large, enclosed greenhouse, full of leafy plants and trees. During the summer months, it's also possible to watch traditional cormorant fishing nearby on the river.

Day4

Harazuru Hot Spring Taisenkaku

Taxi
5 minutes

Bus
75 minutes

5 minutes by foot

  • Ian Livingston

    Lunch at Ganso Hakata Mentaiju:I appreciated Ganso Hakata Mentaiju first and foremost for its significance to the people of Fukuoka city. We found a long line for a table around lunch time, and inside the first-floor wall was fully covered in messages from famous guests. I enjoyed the mentaiju and really enjoyed the mentaiko-based noodle soup, which I dumped lots of spice in. My meal was unique to the time and place, and was of a great quality. For extra measure, the restaurant is across from the ACROS Fukuoka Step Garden, which we climbed after eating.

  • Noam Katz

    Lunch at Ganso Hakata Mentaiju:Spicy cod roe known as mentaiko has always been popular in Fukuoka, but Ganso Hakata Mentaiju was the first to serve this topped on rice in a special lunch box, complete with a choice of sauce. You can also get mentaiko ramen on the side, served in a rich, flavorful broth that is meant to be consumed (after sufficiently diluting with dashi). This restaurant, with a stylish wood interior and warm spot lighting, boasts a great atmosphere that is perfect for either dates or mates.

Acros Fukuokamore

Acros Fukuoka

Acros Fukuoka has facilities such as an 1,800 seat symphony hall, event halls for all types of exhibitions and lectures, and an international conference center. Its Step Garden, is a spacious rooftop garden created with the concept of a mountain in the center of Fukuoka, where you can climb to the 60 m high observation platform on the 14th floor. (Climbing to the top of the 14th floor is allowed on Saturdays and Sundays only.)
CNN Travel has chosen it as "10 of the world's best high-rise and rooftop green spaces."
http://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/amazing-gardens/index.html

  • Ian Livingston

    ACROS Fukuoka Step Garden:I’ve never seen anything like the ACROS Fukuoka Step Garden. The park its sits next to is pleasant but small, which made it a surprising place for such an interesting project. The walk up to the top was easy, and the views from up there were also impressive on the sunny day we were granted.

  • Noam Katz

    ACROS Fukuoka Step Garden:This building seems to redefine the concept of an urban oasis. The modern structure was built in 1995 and has a roof garden that is appropriately known as Mount Acros. The sheer number of bushes and trees form a dense forest of foliage, and from the building top you can take in an outstanding panoramic view of downtown Fukuoka.

    Walking tour of the Japanese Garden at Ohori Park:Conveniently accessible in central Fukuoka, Ohori Park is an excellent refuge for locals and tourists alike. Rent a swan boat and venture out on the lake, where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio once visited on their honeymoon. There’s also an art museum with some world-renowned pieces and a peaceful Japanese garden right on the lakeshore.

5 minutes by foot

Train
15 minutes

Fukuoka Airportmore

Fukuoka Airport

  • Ian Livingston

    Dinner at YOSHIMI BLUESKY:A fried pork sandwich on white bread was the last thing I ate in Fukuoka, at an airport restaurant, while preparing to miss Japan. It was maybe the best sandwich I’ve eaten this year. By this time I was not surprised to find such good food in an airport, unlikely as it would have been to stumble onto such an extraordinary meal in an America airport. I loved Japan again on this visit, above all for its food, its order, and in spite of its order its ability to deliver surprises.

  • Noam Katz

    Dinner at YOSHIMI BLUESKY:Airport dining in the West may not always conjure up images of the best food, but Yoshimi Bluesky is a traveler-friendly, full-fledged restaurant. Whether you're seeking a full meal, quick bite, cold beer, or just coffee and sweets, the menu has it all. Counter seats even offer outlets for patrons to charge their smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices.

JAL (Japan Explorer Pass) Show details

Haneda Airport

  • Ian Livingston

    In the wake of my fifth trip to Japan, I feel more than ever that this country is among my favorite destinations in the world. It was proven to me once again that Tokyo alone deserves a thousand visits. Each is a chance to eat new foods and walk new gardens, shrines, and streets; on this trip spending a satisfying day in the capital. The trip to Fukuoka from Tokyo was easy. Fukuoka city offered a slower version of urban Japan to explore with plenty of new food to try, nearly all of it delicious. Deeper into Fukuoka prefecture, into Kyushu, I saw yet another side of Japanese life, in touch with the natural world and our place in it.

  • Noam Katz

    Splitting a trip between Tokyo and an outlying, fascinating region of Japan is one of the best things a traveler can do. Tokyo is exciting and offers a seemingly infinite range of places and activities, but Fukuoka also has its own charm and a different vibe; life seems to operate at a more relaxed pace and the locals have a little more time to chat. Fukuoka is truly a destination in itself.

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

Fukuoka, on Kyushu, is a nice place to visit; the same as the Japanese capital, which is full of attractiveness especially if you are focusing on food. Of the million ways to spend a day in Tokyo, a day spent crawling the mayhem of Shibuya and Asakusa’s Senso-ji is beginner’s fare, full of stimulating sights and flavors to love. In Fukuoka there is an outstanding, calming shrine and a good onsen tradition, but with Japan’s sixth-largest city as its capital, it also has the wonders of urban Japan—plus a riverside night market tradition.

Ian Livingston
Editor, JohnnyJet.com
Reside in USA
  • Hobby

    Food, nature

  • Number of visits to Japan

    4

RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER TRAVELERS

Starting in Tokyo, you can appreciate the contrast between urban areas like Shibuya, versus charming, historical places such as Asakusa. A short flight to Kyushu, which is an island located in the southwest of Japan, takes you to Fukuoka, a vibrant yet compact city with a plethora of things to do and see.

Noam Katz
Interpretor, Journalist, model, actor and voice actor
Reside in Tokyo
Home country: USA
  • Hobby

    traveling, hiking, tennis, and cycling

  • Length of stay in Tokyo

    Over ten years

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