Fukuoka 福岡: A somewhat history and culture course plus Kawachi Fujien

By Cubie - July 14, 2019

The title is in reference the suggested route on the leaflet that came with the subway pass. This particular route is named as "Fukuoka's History and Culture course".

I didn't visit all of them but ended up in 2 shrines, 1 museum, yatai and shopping in Hakata and Tenjin. Here goes.

Kawachi Wisteria Garden (Kawachi Fujien 河内藤園)
Opening period: late April - beginning of May (subject to weather)
Opening hours: 08:00 - 18:00
Entrance fee: ¥500 (could be more depending on flowering situation)

I was there at the beginning of the season and luck wasn't on my side. The wisterias were still in buds so no magical low hanging wisterias on the famous tunnel. A couple of things to hopefully assist when and if you decide to give it a try in future.

  • Please check when the garden would be open for visiting. I was there on 20th April 2019, the first day when the shuttle bus starts running
  • The shuttle bus is said to run during peak season so I was hopeful but as you can see, it wasn't really peak. 
  • Tickets are not on sale at the garden itself, but you can buy them at convenience store or Japanican and this doubles as the ticket to get on the free shuttle bus. 
  • If shuttle bus isn't running, you can still get to Kawachi Fujien by public transport albeit a bit more difficult. In short - train to Yahata, transfer to bus and then walk. This site has good explanation of this.

Here are some links for Kawachi Fujien

Waiting for shuttle bus

Entrance to Kawachi Fujien
Here are some photos on how it looked like when I was there...

and this part was where the flowers were "most bloomed" which was nowhere like how the famous photos looked like. Wisterias smelled great though.

Even though Kawachi garden is more famous as a garden for wisterias, it is also open for autumn leaves viewing. I was there in spring, the green vivid colour was great so I would imagine it would be in amazing orange gold colour in autumn.

Lunch at Shin Shin
Of course the more famous ramen store is Ichiran and I have never been to Ichiran, but since I was in Fukuoka, I opted to go to one that I can't find outside of Fukuoka yet - Shin Shin. I went to the one at Hakata Station Ramen Street. There were many ramen shops to choose from and I joined in the line for Shin Shin. It didn't take long although I don't remember how long I waited. I was tempted to get the ramen + gyoza set but it could be too much and the ramen included in the set came without the eggs which I wanted.

Hakata Shin Shin ramen with eggs, ¥750

Fukuoka City Museum - The Ghibli Expo (From Nausicaä to Marnie)
Fukuoka City Museum

I stumbled upon a Ghibli expo in Fukuoka City Museum which ran on 15/3 to 23/6 (Oops, I took too long to blog that the expo has already finished). Likewise the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, photography is not permitted. There was one area that one could take pictures is at the cat bus area.

It was much more crowded as there was no time allocation but I finally had the chance to sit in the cat bus! Both adults and kids were allowed to be on the bus but there were so many people to get a good photo plus my selfie skill is negligible.

The exhibition contents were different and it was exciting to see models of ohmu model in one of the rooms.

Kushida Shrine (Kushida-jinja 櫛田神社)
Getting here: 10 minutes walk from Canal City Hakata or a few minutes walk from either Gion or Nakasu-kawabata stations of Fukuoka subway

Kushida Shrine was founded in 757 and is famous for hosting the biggest festival in Fukuoka during summer - the Yamakasa Gion Matsuri. One the last day of the matsuri, giant floats (kazari-yama) is brought out. These floats can go up to 10 meters tall and one of the floats are on displayed at Kushida Shrine even though the norm is said to be destroyed and re-built yearly.

Eto-eho-ban (eto: Oriental zodiac, eho: lucky direction, ban: board)
The arrow is revolved on the last day of every year and that it points to a lucky direction of the next year. You will see this board if you look up when you walk into Kushida Shrine.

Chikara-ishi (Stones to show power)
This is as obvious as the name - ability to lift the stone indicates strength. This started off in the past when a sumo wrestler demonstrated his strength by lifting a large stone and dedicated it to the god of Kushida Shrine. Not all the stones is to be lifted, only one that has the Japanese character of "shiseki" (試石).

Sumiyoshi Shrine
Getting here: 11 minutes walk from Hakata station

This shrine is bigger than how it looks from the outside. I visited it because I walked passed it daily on my commute between hostel and Hakata station. This shrine is dedicated to safe travel by sea and it is said that in the past people would come here for prayer before departing from Hakata Bay. I didn't take many photographs as there is a sign near the main shrine to indicate that it photography is not allowed. I didn't notice the sign till after I took this one on a sumo wrestler statue.

According to the introductory sign near the statue, said touch the body and palms to feel its energy and spirits.

Yatai 屋台
Yatai is small, roadside stall for food which is popular in Fukuoka. It is mostly found in Tenjin area or near Canal City. Some are really popular with a queue forming next to the yatai, others not.

I didn't want to queue so I settled for one without the crowd after reading their menu. I guess yatai meals aren't the cheapest but it was yummy. I paid ¥1,300 for all the below. I wasn't a big fan of mentaiko before this (I don't dislike it but I don't fancy it either) but after my trip to Kyushu I find mentaiko to be delicious.


Mentaiko tamago yaki


Side note: https://www.fukuoka-now.com/en/

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