Hakata — Fukuoka

Hakata is a vibrant city. The population is young and the girls are beautiful. The tourist brochures say:
“Hakata is a district located in Hakata-ku in Fukuoka City, east of the Naka-gawa River, and is one of the central areas of Fukuoka, the largest city on Kyushu. Fukuoka City is a town that has developed on both sides of the Naka-gawa River, since Kuroda Nagamasa, a general of the samurai army in the 17th century, constructed Fukuoka Castle there.
The eastern side of the river has developed as Hakata, a merchant town,
while the western side developed as Fukuoka, a castle town. ”
Our food experience was excellent. I will return and spend more than 2 nights at Hakata.
Most of the cafes have a vending machine..where you pay the vending machine and pick your selection from the pictorial menu.
My first encounter not too good. Kevin made a better one.
Mine                                                                   Kevin’s

Our hotel was just 3 minutes walk to the main railway station. We discovered and upmarket food hall above the train station, on the 8th and 9th floors. We had finally learned –there is always a food and a shopping center at the train stations.

For Dinner on the first night, we queued up at a restaurant on the 9th floor– famous for its noodles.

This is Kevin and I waiting for ramen. The girl insisted on taking our photo for us.

Kevin’s choice                                               My chocie

There were condiments lined up against the wall. Bean sprouts. pickled ginger, pickles, spice mix,  whole raw garlic. I did a silly thing..ate a raw clove of garlic. Have you ever tried it? Yuck! Anyway, later I notice there was a garlic press.

We wanted a western breakfast and found a bagel cafe, which also served coffee. The bagels were made on site. They were good. So fresh and the fillings were unbelievable. We had bagels for breakfast, the next morning too.

Dinner on the second night
We had sussed out where we wanted to eat the next evening.
A charcoal grilled place that specialized on grilling different cuts/parts of the chicken.

As usual they did not speak English but could read it. Someone managed to pull out their management book on the types of grilled chicken. We pointed out what we want and we ordered sides like green salad and potato salad. They also pointed out to us the green salad (cabbage leaves with a Japanese dressing) was “refillable”.
Grilled breast                          wings                                         thighs
Gizzard                                    liver                                           skin

Bento boxes at the railway station at Hakata.
A few samples. I tried some and they were really good as you can watch them make it and pack them as well.

We found the underground shopping mall featured in the tourist brochures. It is like a rabbit warren..one can get lost in it. They were mainly womens’ fashion shops. Interesting enough most of the places we have been, have long shopping malls…but not as long as this one!
We spent a day at Fukuoka. Fukuoka Tower and the precincts is a must.

We really had a good time in the places we visited in Japan.
We thank the travel agent who organised the trip. She/they did an excellent job..with the itinerary, the location of most hotels near the Railway station and easy to follow directions and suggestions for sight seeing.  If you intend to travel by JR–the JP rail pass is a good buy. We took airline hand luggage each and a small backpack.  Lugging big pieces of luggage on the trains is not recommended. The trains run like clockwork. We found on this trip (Oct 2011) we did not use all the clothes we brought on the trip. We packed light weight clothes that could be washed every evening. They seem to dry overnight.
Hey Japan I will be back!