Category Archives: Day trips

Shimonoseki Day Trip

Hey peeps, so my latest excursion was to Shimonoseki, it’s a seaside town in Yamaguchi prefecture, right on the bottom of Honshu Island. It took about 90 minutes or a bit less to drive there from Fukuoka city, and it was a really enjoyable day trip for us. Shimonoseki sits on the Kanmon Strait a narrow channel of water that separates Honshu from Kyushu, I was expecting the two islands to be further away from each other but they are really close.

We set off from Fukuoka around 12pm, before crossing the bridge over to Shimonoseki we pulled off the highway into a services that has a viewpoint where you can climb to the top to take pictures. There are also some small shops here where you can buy Mojiko and Shimonoseki souvenirs and a restaurant.

Kanmonkyo Bridge
Kanmonkyo Bridge

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We had lunch in the restaurant, which has great views of the bridge and the Kanmon strait. The restaurant’s main dish is green tea flavoured soba noodles, topped with dried seaweed flakes, shredded egg and chicken and spring onions, served on a roof tile. This dish has a range of side dishes you can choose from, I think almost all of them contain Fugu (Pufferfish), as many people know the liver of the Pufferfish is poisonous, so I had my trepidations about trying it, it’s actually delicious though. The green tea noodles were also really good.

Takashi ordered this dish with a sashimi bowl
Takashi ordered this dish with a sashimi bowl
I went for the tempura fugu option
I went for the tempura fugu option

After lunch we crossed the bridge over to Honshu island and made our way to Karato fish market.  It was already around 3 and most of the activity happens in the early morning, but still plenty of stalls were open selling a whole range of weird and wonderful seafood. Also the sushi here is enormous!!! So if you like your sushi it’s probably best holding out for lunch until you get here!

Crossing the bridge
Crossing the bridge

Fugu pointing the way to the aquarium

Huge sushi portions at Karato fish market

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These prehistoric looking creatures are apparently a kind of shrimp!
These prehistoric looking creatures are apparently a kind of shrimp!
My best pufferfish impression
My best pufferfish impression

You can go eat your sushi out on a promenade behind the fish market where you have a great view of cargo ships passing under the bridge. Then from here you can walk round past little shops, where there is some street entertainment and cafes, to the aquarium. On the way you will past some boats which take tourists out for excursions to an island in the Kanmon strait, I think they also take you across the water to Mojiko.

Cargo ship navigating the Kanmon Strait
Cargo ship navigating the Kanmon Strait

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So after we ate our sushi we went to the Kaikyokan aquarium. It’s not so big but is a really nice aquarium, has a wide variety of fish on display and some interesting exhibits. There is a skeleton of a blue whale in the foyer which was very impressive. There main tank was very interesting you could spend ages looking at that and seeing all manner of different fish, many are camouflaged or hiding at the bottom of the tank too.  We arrived at 4 and it shut at 5:30pm and we had time to see everything.

Blue Whale skeleton
Blue Whale skeleton

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I’m sure there are many more interesting sights in Shimonoseki but as we only had an afternoon we just covered the basics, but we had a really lovely day. The views of the Kanmon strait are great too. If you go by public transport from Hakata Station probably the easiest way is to go to Mojiko. It takes just over an hour using quicker transfers or 1 hour 53 minutes direct on a local train I think. Mojiko is the town on Kyushu just across the water from Shimonoseki and you get good views of the bridge from here too. Mojiko is meant to have a retro town with some older buildings that are lit up everyday around sunset too. From Mojiko there are boats across the water to Shimonoseki. This was an easy day trip by car, by public transport it’s not so difficult either, and I think for a day trip there is plenty to do in both Mojiko and Shimonoseki for a good day out.