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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


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


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



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






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.


Long Absence

I haven’t blogged for seriously ages again! Ah! Ok but this time I have a good excuse, moving house and wedding planning!! Also lack of Internet – it’s still iffy at our house! But just downloaded the WordPress app and going to try posting using that. So if you’re reading this it means it worked!!!! 

Due to all the busyness I haven’t had too much to report anyway, it’s also been very chilly! But this weekend is lovely! And just completed a nice day trip from Fukuoka to Shimonoseki, which will be uploaded soon! 

Ok while seeing if this post works, I’ll also mention I just downloaded this app called “You” (off the UK App Store) where you complete micro-actions everyday and upload pictures of those actions, ranging from pulling funny faces, sharing songs that make you happy, people who inspire you etc. it’s very positive and a bit of a feel good when you complete an action. The app is free too! All good! 

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.

This fetching mask is actually like their business card



The address is:

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


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

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:

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



People waiting to pray
People waiting to pray


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




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.

2015! New Year! Year of the Sheep!

I know it’s a little slow but Happy 2015 everybody!!! I hope everyone’s first couple of weeks have gone well! I’m actually feeling a hint of pride, as I’ve managed to keep blogging for 1 whole year! It’s been a bit inconsistent but still I did it! I’ve looked back to last years blog post about New Year to check my New Year Resolutions, and they are basically the same as the ones I made this year oh no!

But of course there are things I let slide last year, we all do it, it happens! Actually my first and main New Years Resolution for 2015 is to be kinder to myself and others, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself for letting my New Years Resolutions slide last year. Also it’s good to make New Years Resolutions but not if keeping them is going to really stress  you out. I found myself a lot last year getting stressed very easily and feeling frantic, and also that I spent a lot of time just waiting for things to happen. This year I want to relax, worry less about tiny things and if I am waiting for whatever reason, use that time productively to get something done!

My others are similar to last year,

– speak Japanese.

– pass N2 level Japanese (which means study more!!)

– work out 3 times a week, if I can’t do that just find more drive to want to work out, so it doesn’t feel like a chore, make it more enjoyable for myself somehow!

– try harder at everything!

– watch less TV, use that time productively or if I really feel like I want to relax, read a book or watch something more interesting and thought provoking!

– be awesome! Don’t make excuses for myself, do my best and do it well!

I wanted to finish with something interesting so here are links to two websites.

The first is a list of questions that allows you to reflect on last year, and also asks you questions about what you truly want to get out of this year! If you are struggling to make New Years Resolutions this might help.

The 2nd is a link to the best TED talks of 2014, I wonder what interesting topics there will be talks about this year.

Have a good year everyone!

A spot of Christmas mulled wine!

Crimbo is coming!!! Yeah!!! I love Christmas! It has already started to get very cold as well, and with snow predicted in the next few days, what better way to warm up then with a glass of nice warm mulled wine!

So outside Hakata station from now until Christmas Day, there is a Christmas market with some various cute stalls selling handmade Christmas decorations, beeswax candles, and other knick knacks. They also have some food stalls and they sell mulled wine there. I would say generally most things at this market are rather overpriced, I believe the wine costs ¥1000. You do get to keep the mug it comes in at least. If you don’t drink alcohol there is also a nice mug of warmed grape juice as well that is a little cheaper.

In Daimyo, recently a shop called “Ron Herman” has opened. They have a cafe and a shop that sells high end clothes, kitchenware, jewellery and bath products.  The cafe is really nice as well, again the food and drinks on sale are a bit pricey, a smoothie costs ¥1200. They also sell mulled wine though and it’s lovely!

Mulled wine in Ron Herman

Recently me and my friends frequented the “Moomin Cafe” in Canal City, my first time. It’s really cute! They sell Glogi, which is Finnish for mulled wine. You can get it hot or cold for ¥680, it’s non-alcoholic, but for an extra ¥50 you can make it alcoholic.

Glogi from the Moomin Cafe Snork Maiden and Sniff in the Moomin Cafe

Obviously you could always make your own mulled wine as well, we got a recipe off the internet last year and made our own! It probably works out more expensive to buy all the ingredients, however you will have a massive batch of wine rather than one cup! The wine we made turned out pretty nice!

This is my last post until probably after Christmas as I’m going back home for the holidays, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you in 2015!