With any holiday whether the duration be a month or a few days, the aim is to spend time wisely and incorporate as many experiences into your schedule as possible: my brief two day trip to Fukuoka, Japan was no exception to this. Alike most Japanese cities Fukuoka is centred around numerous shrines, parks and castles. Unlike Osaka and Kyoto (- which I had visited prior to this trip), Fukuoka mainly thrives around the dominant shopping districts: infact several shopping centres are based in the Hakata area alone. If you seek to live the lifestyle of Tokyo citizens without the hustle and bustle and don’t necessarily want to get too in depth with Japan\’s historical background, I would recommend that you visit Fukuoka.
So, what does Fukuoka offer? Most likely upon arrival to Fukuoka Airport and after taking a short ride on the free-of-charge airport provided bus, you will want to head to Hakata station just as I did. Not only was my reserved Airbnb in close proximity to Hakata station and only 15 minutes away from the airport, Hakata-ku is a main tourist destination which can cater to all of your needs (- I will touch on this further throughout this blog post).
First of all we had to have Hakata ramen; which by far was highly rated on apps like TripAdvisor (- unfortunately not sponsored) and search engines. After some searching we settled upon dining at ‘Ikkousha’. I selected the most basic form of Hakata ramen to taste the authentic non-adapted version of the dish; this cost around 800¥/£5.40/$7.30. The difference in ramen between Japanese cities lies in the ingredients of the broth or perhaps the recipe itself. The bowl included generous amount of freshly handmade ramen, a pork slice, kombu slices and spring onions. The texture of the noodles can differ upon request and a boiled egg can be added for an extra 100¥/£0.69p/$0.97. Overall I’d rate the dish 7/10. The ramen was filling, the noodles were al dente and the soup wasn’t too oily plus well seasoned. I know I will crave this dish repeatedly throughout my lifespan. The only issue was that it was quite salty, especially as the salt sinks to the bottom of the bowl making it almost impossible to finish without simultaneously wanting to gulp down a pint of iced water.
Whenever I visit a foreign country I childishly become intrigued by what is sold at that country’s supermarkets and convenience stores. Every ‘7 Eleven’, ‘Family Mart’ and ‘Lawson’ is like a snack and drink wonderland. I’m a person who is easy to pleased, so discovering a 98¥/£0.66p/$0.89 bottle of peach flavoured Coca-Cola was like I had just uncovered a gold-mine: then my friend informed me that the UK sell it too, clearly I have been away from London too long. As soon as we came across a convenience store I had to grab myself a pot of Calbee Potato Sticks, they literally taste like a buttered jacket potato with a topping. If you can find a ‘New York’, a mini supermarket, you can obtain snacks in addition to on-the-day prepared bread and bento boxes usually at cheaper prices than those sold at the major convenience store franchises.
As we arrived to Fukuoka as the sun was going down, my partner and I decided to call it a day at around 11pm. After all we had just stuffed our faces with a hefty bowl of steaming ramen for dinner.