Category Archives: Places in town

Barranca Mexican Restaurant

This is another quick post to let you know about a new Mexican Restaurant in Daimyo, called “Barranca”.  It had it’s grand opening on December 14th, and I knew about it but hadn’t gotten a chance to pop round and take a look until last weekend. It’s really nice!

It’s a large restaurant and bar, the interior is very spacious and interesting. I particularly like the Horse sculpture made up of pieces of wood in the centre of the ground floor. The menu also boasts 100 kinds of Mojito and 100 kinds of Tequila!

As I’d been a bit ill a couple of days earlier I opted for a non-alcoholic peach Mojito and it was very refreshing.  Also the food was good, we had chilli con carne and corn on the cob as appetizers, a fajita and quesdilla as a main, along with a pork chop. When the fajita was bought out they set it aflame, which personally I think adds to the flavour!

I’d really recommend going to check this place out, it may be worth making a reservation, when we went there were no tables free for 30minutes but then we got lucky with a cancellation.

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This fetching mask is actually like their business card

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The address is:

1-2-10 Daimyo, Chuo-Ku, Fukuoka-shi, 821-0041

福岡市中央区大名1-2-10

They also have a website, where you can see more photos, sorry I was too hungry and just wolfed everything down!:

http://www.opefac.com

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Hokusai exhibition

So my favourite art museum in Fukuoka has a great exhibition on at the moment of work by Hokusai, the artist famous for his sketches and wood block prints. Included in the exhibition are the 36 views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景), the well known wave picture (The Great Wave Off Kanagawa – 神奈川沖浪裏) and red Mount Fuji picture (South Wind, Clear Sky -凱風快晴) are part of this collection. Also there are a range of pictures from his travels between Tokyo and Kyoto, some horror pieces and works by his contemporaries.

Entry to the exhibition costs ¥1,200. It runs until February 15th (Sunday). Also on at the moment is a Love exhibition that runs across 3 museums in Fukuoka, this is also interesting and is free to enter if you bought the ticket to the Hokusai exhibition. On it’s own this exhibition costs ¥200. This exhibition may prove a nice outing for Valentine’s Day! For more information about both exhibitions see the link below:

http://faam.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/eng/exhibition/exd_index.html

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Postcard bought at the Hokusai exhibition – one of the 36 views of Mount Fuji (South wind, clear skies blue version)
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Another postcard I bought from the exhibition, I don’t know the name of this picture in English
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Information leaflet for the exhibition

 

 

 

First Shrine Visit of the Year – Miyajidake Shrine

A bit late, but better than never, we made the first shrine visit of the year to Miyajidake Shrine. Going to visit a shrine in the first few days following New Year is a Japanese tradition.

Miyajidake is the shrine my boyfriends family usually visit. It’s on a hill near Miyajihama beach and you can see the sea when you climb the stairs to the shrine. Apparently the large straw decoration at this shrine is the largest in Japan. We came here to pray and ask for good luck for the year ahead. We bought some charms to give us good fortune this year and wrote some wishes on small wooden boards called “絵馬” a wooden plaque, pronounced “ema” (what a great name for it!) . We also paid ¥100 each for a “みくじ” (mikuji) or good luck fortune. It’s a little drawer with a lucky dip of fortunes inside, we both got a little luck, nooooooooo! Then my boyfriend tried again and got big luck woop! Not quite sure that’s how it works but anyway!

On the way up to the shrine
On the way up to the shrine

 

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People waiting to pray
People waiting to pray

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Wooden ema plaques

At the back of the temple are more little shrines, where you can pray for different specific things, like good health, love, wealth etc. This shrine also has a “古墳” (kofun) an ancient tomb. It’s like a burial mound, there are numerous large ones in Sakai in Osaka, where one of my friends used to live. I’ve never seen the inside of one before, they have made the entrance of this small kofun into another area to pray.

Fox shrine
Fox shrine

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Hopes for love in 2015
Inside the Kofun
Inside the Kofun

If you come here to this region, I’d recommend coming in summer, where as well as the temple you can go to the beach. It is very popular in summer and good for body boarding! Both the beach and shrine are not so far from JR Fukuma station, you could get a bus or taxi, it may not be that far to walk as well.

Let’s go to the beach, beach!

So I had a lovely weekend at the beach!!! And despite the horrible rain today, now all I can think about is the summer!!! Am getting super excited about all the awesome beach times to come!!! It got up to 27 degrees yesterday and I was brave enough to try swimming and it was well worth it! The water was so clear and I’d say more refreshing than chilly!

One of the best things about living in Fukuoka is there are a multitude of great beaches on your doorstep!! Some are easily accessible using public transport and are very close to the centre of town! Others take you out of the city to Itoshima or the islands of Nokonoshima and Shikonoshima!!

So many great beaches to choose from, my favourites are Fukutsu beach, Shikonoshima, Itoshima and Shingu. Here are some summery beach pictures – hopefully I can get in a couple more trips before rainy season swings round!! : )

Chilling on Meinohama beach during Golden Week
Chilling on Meinohama beach during Golden Week
Meinohama beach view towards Fukuoka Tower and Momochi
Meinohama beach view towards Fukuoka Tower and Momochi
Momochi beach
Momochi beach
Shikonoshima Beach
Shikonoshima Beach
View from the top of Shikonoshima of the spit below connecting it to the city
View from the top of Shikonoshima of the spit below connecting it to the city
Beach combing finds at Wajiro Beach
Beach combing finds at Wajiro Beach
Fukuma beach Sunset
Fukuma beach Sunset
Sandy toes
Sandy toes

Another Itoshima Beach

At Palm Beach Restaurant at Nishinoura Beach
At Palm Beach Restaurant at Nishinoura Beach
Swing at BBQ cafe on the way to Nishinoura
Swing at BBQ cafe on the way to Nishinoura
Nishinoura Beach in Itoshima
Nishinoura Beach in Itoshima
Shrine on the way to Shingu Beach
Shrine on the way to Shingu Beach

 

Momochi is really easy to get to as it’s basically in the city!! It’s not the most beautiful as it’s a man made beach but for convenience you can’t beat it!! The easiest way to get there is to get the subway to Nishjin, when you exit you should be able to see Fukuoka Tower in the distance, just walk towards it for around 10-15 minutes and you’ll find the beach! Buses go near there too!

Fukuma is easy to get to from Hakata Station by train, about 20 minutes (you get off at Fukuma) on trains heading towards Kokura, and then you should probably take a taxi to the beach which is only around 10 minutes away.

Shingu is also fairly easy, you go to Chihaya station on the JR and then change to the Nishitetsu station. Take the Nishitetsu to Shingu at the end of the line, the beach is a 5 minute walk from the station.

Shikonoshima is a bit harder to get to, and is much easier if you have a car. There are buses that go there, I will have to do more research into which number you should take but from Hakata station the journey time will be fairly long.

Itoshima is also easier if you have a car, but is a really nice area to explore on the weekend, and has a lot of cute beach side restaurants and cafes. If you can hire a car, I’d really recommend heading out that way as it starts to get a bit warmer!! If you drive toward Keya you can find a lot of nice beaches to stop at on the way there, I’ve never even made it to Keya as we always get sidetracked by other nice spots!!

 

Hakata Art Aquarium

I haven’t posted anything in ages!!! Ah!! Thought my new job would make my life less busy, guess I was wrong haha!! This post is very late coming and so won’t really be useful, I hope you enjoy the pictures anyway!!

So for the last month or so there has been an Art Aquarium on the 9th floor of Hakata Station. The entrance fee was ¥1000 to get in and well worth it in my opinion!!! Created by Kimura Hidetomo, the Sky Aquarium appears regularly in Roppongi Hills in Tokyo every year, but this year they have taken the art aquarium on tour. Unfortunately the last day is tomorrow May 11th (why I said this post is really too late!)

I found this exhibition really unique and inspiring, afterwards I bought the art aquarium souvenir book, where I read how goldfish were bred from Koi Carp by the Chinese a long time ago, and since then many unique species have been created. Many of these goldfish or Kingyo (金魚)as they are known in Japanese are on display here too! I really want to buy my own fish tank now! I especially like the fish that look directly up! You’ll see what I mean from the pictures!!

Here is the link to the art aquarium website, where I discovered it is on until May 16th if you happen to live in Osaka! I believe it will also come back to Tokyo some point in the future and I’m sure that information will be available here.

 

http://h-i-d.co.jp/art/

Enjoy the pics!

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Bonborium

Bonborium
Bonborium
The four seasons aquarium that has a projection of the changing seasons behind it.
The four seasons aquarium that has a projection of the changing seasons behind it.
Prisrium no 12
Prisrium no 12

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The Oiran tank, this is meant to represent the red light district during the Edo-period and has nearly 1000 fish in the tank.
The Oiran tank, this is meant to represent the red light district during the Edo-period and has nearly 1000 fish in the tank.
Another shot of the Oiran tank.
Another shot of the Oiran tank.
Flower Aquarium
Flower Aquarium

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Choutengan fish
Choutengan fish

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Twilight cherry blossom

So my parents have been visiting me for the last 10 days and we did loads of stuff in that time!! It was such a busy trip for them, but I think most trips to Japan usually are! It was a really fun 10 days!! It also gave me loads of ideas for blog posts as showing them around meant I also got to visit some new places I haven’t been before. We also did a three day break to Osaka, which I will post about next week (bit busy at the mo with a new job and house to sort out!!!).

The most time specific thing I wanted to talk about is that in Fukuoka right now it is cherry blossom season!!!! They came into full bloom at the end of last week, but in other parts of the country full bloom will probably be next week or even much later. And while my parents were here we did manage to fit in one evening where we could go see the trees at Ohori Koen and Maizuru Koen. It was lucky as the weather was beautiful that day, but at the weekend it rained, if there is too much rain the cherry blossom season can be cut very short.

Maizuru Koen is a really good place to go see the cherry blossom as they light it up at night, so if you are busy during the day you can still go there up to 9:00pm or 10:00pm. There are a lot of trees there!! Also right now there are some special areas where you have to pay ¥300 to go in to view more interesting light displays. We went into one area, and although it was cool I would say there are plenty more beautiful trees you don’t need to pay to see, so not sure if it’s really worth it. Those areas are less crowded though.

If you really want to do the full hanami experience you should get there early and bring a tarp or picnic blanket, some beers and food and have a picnic. That is how Japanese people enjoy the cherry blossom!

Anyway here are some of my pictures . . .

People enjoying Hanami in Ohori Koen
People enjoying Hanami in Ohori Koen
Me posing by some cherry blossom, everyone has to do it at this time of year!! It's like a rule!
Me posing by some cherry blossom, everyone has to do it at this time of year!! It’s like a rule!

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Selfie with mum
Selfie with mum
Dad looking pensive by some cherry blossom
Dad looking pensive by some cherry blossom

 

Fukuoka tower in the distance at twilight
Fukuoka tower in the distance at twilight

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Dad taking a pic of mum posing by cherry blossom
Dad taking a pic of mum posing by cherry blossom

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If you want to get to Maizuru Park and you don’t know the way, take the subway to Ohori Koen and leave via exit 6.  You should see a street lined with cherry blossom in the distance if you turn right down that street and follow it for a little while you’ll see some steps going up on the left side of the street and Maizuru park and all the cherry trees are up there!

Next week I will write a proper post about our trip to Osaka and some nice places to go for a drink in Fukuoka city!

My Saturday

So I finally feel like spring is coming!!! Today was so beautiful! Ever since I was little, after winter every day the sun was shining I would wake up, put on shorts and my yellow t-shirt and run outside to play on the swing set in the garden, convinced summer was here! Of course I’d be outside for all of 10 minutes before realizing it was in fact still freezing and I should best go put on a jumper! Well today felt like one of those days!! It’s been a bit of a miserable week but today was soooo nice I felt like I had to get up and make the most of it!!

I went for a run along the river this morning, there was a group of people out doing Taiko (Japanese drumming), I didn’t take a picture of that as I was too busy running at the time, when I came back later they were gone. There were also a lot of people up and about exercising and walking their dogs or fishing, I also saw lots of birds.

Good Morning Mr. Heron!
Good Morning Mr. Heron!

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Apparently snowman x 8 = 420
Apparently snowman x 8 = 420

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Then I went home and got changed, I decided it was warm enough to wear a new top I bought from ASOS.com.

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Then I jumped on the train to Hakata and got a late breakfast at Bagel and Bagel in the station underground. I like this place a lot as the food is fairly cheap and really good! The sweet bagels are also really nice, I love the blueberry cream cheese one!

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel yummy!
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel yummy!

Then I walked to Tenjin where I was meeting some of my friends later for lunch, it takes around 20 to 30 minutes depending on how quickly you walk. My favourite route cuts through Canal City shopping mall and goes along the river.

Canal City
Canal City
Sun detail inside Canal City
Sun detail inside Canal City
Poppies, daisies and a chap doing some BMX
Poppies, daisies and a chap doing some BMX
Statue in Nakasu
Statue in Nakasu
ACROS building
ACROS building

So I reached the ACROS building and realized I’d never been on the roof and it was such a beautiful day, so why not?? I warn you it’s around 14 floors and there are a lot of stairs, the view from the top is really good though and it’s nice walking through the levels of the vertical roof garden they’ve built.

Possibly a clover mapped out in the park below
Possibly a clover mapped out in the park below
The view
The view
More view
More view

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My shoes, my feet were tired from climbing all those stairs
My shoes, my feet were tired from climbing all those stairs

Just near ACROS is Fukuoka City Hall, and today in the square out front was a fashion market, one event that is part of Fukuoka Fashion Week on until March 23rd.  Some of the jewellery stalls were the same as at the reuse resale event I visited in January, and some 2nd hand stalls too. There wasn’t a lot of choice to be honest. I thought it was interesting there was a bagpipe band on the stage.

I didn’t buy any clothes, I did get a screen print though!

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After that I went to meet two of my friends for lunch and we did a bit of people watching!

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Finally a trip to Forever 21 and H&M to buy some birthday presents, I can’t show pictures of those obviously, but I did also get myself this fetching top!

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Phew! was a busy day and I’m pretty tired but it is Saturday so who knows what adventures this evening will hold! Happy Saturday people!