Ho Chi Minh City

Day 1 – Fukuoka Trip (Canal City – Yatai Street – Kushida Shrine – Moomin Cafe)

It’s finally here! My japan trip to Fukuoka. I planned to do a culinary trip and also experience the local activities, such as hot spring (onsen) in Beppu. But first I need to reach Fukuoka!

The flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Fukuoka using Singapore Airline has a transit in Singapore. I will meet my travel companion there. She is my friend from Indonesia who lives in Singapore. After about 3 hours of transit, we departed from Singapore at 1.20am. Our seat was separated because I couldn’t get the seat next to her. I didn’t know that I could reserve seat when I booked the ticket. I thought it would cost extra.

During the flight, I couldn’t sleep because it was too cold. Also I had bad turbulence on my flight to Singapore before. And when I was about to get into deep sleep, a flight attendant woke me up and gave a hot towel. Then she served breakfast.

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Breakfast Singapore Airline

When we boarded the plane, they gave us 2 forms (Embarkation form and custom declaration form) which needed to be filled in. Thankfully I had my pen with me (or else I would just borrow a pen from the flight attendant).

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Embarkation form and custom declaration form

8.30am we landed in Fukuoka! Got off from the plane, heading toward immigration with a long queue. First we need to scan both index fingers then they took photo (glasses must be taken off). Then a girl checked our form and made a mark on address in Japan that we need to state a name of airbnb host. We put our host name there and queued at different lane. My friend passed it easily, while I had to go back because the officer asked for host full name! I walked back and looked confused since I didn’t know the full name. Then a lady approached me and asked what is wrong. She told me to just put airbnb and it should be okay. I queued at different line and got through.

After immigration, we took out luggage from conveyor belt and went to custom area. Gave the form and passport to officer. He asked us some questions and also asked to check our luggage. After a full check up with his hand inside our luggage, he gave our passport back. A nice guy.

We asked tourist information on how to reach hakata station. The girl said to take bus number 3, but we saw it was bus number 2! 😅

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Bus Sign

Trip from airport to hakata station took about 20 mins with city bus, and costs 260 yen/person.

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Inside city bus to Hakata Station

Once we arrived at hakata station, we started to look for coin locker to store our luggages since we couldn’t do early check-in. There are a lot of coin locker at hakata station, just follow the direction sign. The less packed area is near entrance to Hakata Ekinaka shopping mall, next to toilet area.

There are 2 types of coin locker. One can use only 100 yen coin (with key), the other one can use any coin (with electronic ticket). There are 3 sizes of locker : small (400 yen), medium (500 yen) and large (600 yen). And since my luggage is large, I need to rent the large size. There is instruction on how to use it in English as well. Although.. the one that I used didn’t have English instruction, only with pictures and in Japanese but easy to understand.

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My luggage inside the locker

Most of coin locker has similar instruction. First put in the coin, then lock the key and pull out the key. To take out the stuff from inside the locker, open the door with key and that’s it. In some shopping mall and museum, they have 100 yen coin locker (only cost 100 yen). This one also works the same. The difference is we’ll get our 100 yen back when we opened the locker.

Once our luggages were stored, we could move around easier! We found an electronic store Yodobashi. My friend wanted to look for a phone case for her Sony Experia. She couldn’t find a decent model in Indonesia or Singapore because the phone case for that model is rare. I didn’t mind going inside as well. I always love electronic store and also a chance to find a phone case for my phone.

Sadly, I couldn’t find any! There was no phone case for my phone. They have 1 shelf of samsung S8, and a HUGE collection of iphone 7 case. Seriously, iphone7 owner would have had a hard time to choose the case they liked at this rate. I kept myself busy by looking at powerbank while my friend busied with her phone case. There are so many cute and unique powerbank!

After finished with yodobashi, we planned to visit a temple but we got lost a bit.. and it was time for lunch already. There were no restaurant around us and we also new to that area. We saw in yodobashi 4th floor has some restaurants. Off we go!

There are several japanesere restaurant there and we decided to try the tempura restaurant on the left side from restaurant row entrance. The place was still empty when we entered, only 1 person eating there. I liked the ambiance of this restaurant.

 

I ordered a pork tempura. Never had this before. I know shrimp tempura and vegetable tempur, but pork?? Time to try it out. The guy told us to get our self a bowl of rice and miso soup. Unlimited! Very good for a rice fan.

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Pork tempura

It turned out to be really delicious. It was a good price as well, for only 850 yen. No wonder there were a lot of people coming for lunch here as well. It was quite crowded by the time we left. The tempura flour is different that any tempura I’ve tried. And the pork was cooked well. Plus dip in into tempura sauce! My rice was empty in a minute. Too bad my stomach wasn’t well at that time, or else I would have refill my rice haha xD

With happy tummy, we decided to check out the airbnb area in case we come back late. There is a post office nearby and my friend wanted to stop by to buy and send a postcard to her family back home. She always does it everywhere she goes.

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Fukuoka Post Office

Our host told me the check-in time is at 2 pm, but we were already arrived around 1 pm so I figured just try to check-in. We were very tired because of lack of sleep during the flight, so a power nap would be great for us. Our airbnb place is very close to Hakata Station, in a residential area. We got the key to enter the apartment and rested for an hour or two. Without our luggages.

Around 3 pm, we departed to Canal City on foot. It is a good way to sightseeing and get to know the area better. It took us 15 minutes to reach Canal City, and our first destination was the themed cafe : Moomin Cafe. Canal City is a big shopping mall (maybe the biggest in Fukuoka?! Since everyone recommended this place). It has a unique floor map, consists of 5 buildings which are connected to each other.

Moomin cafe is located on ground floor or the center building. It is a very cute themed cafe. I’ve been to several themed-cafe but this one is the best so far. We sat on one of the chair and a giant doll sat with us as well. There was someone who came alone and the waiter put a Moomin doll in front of her. Noone feels lonely here! Haha. We didn’t get any doll but we sat close to 1 doll which was supposed to sit with another couple at next table but we pulled the doll closer to us little by little haha!

We didn’t know what is the name of this doll but she is very cute! A female moomin (we called her Moomina lol). We ordered honey toast and ice cream (chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and banana sauce). It was surprisingly very delicious!! So I would recommend this place when you’re looking for a themed cafe or just a place to sit and relax with a simple drink and dessert. Very recommended themed cafe in Fukuoka!

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Giant doll and honey toast with ice cream

Next destination was Yatai street. It is very easy to reach it from canal city, just cross a road then walk through a wooden bridge and voila! You reached nakasu island where the yatai street is.

Yatai street is opened from 6 pm. We walked pass by and didn’t find anything we want. For my case, it was because my stomach still unwell 😦 Near the area is also the red light district. I was told by my friend to not go there when it is dark and only with girl friend.

With a map in our hand, we looked for nearby attraction and we found Kushida Shrine, about 10 minutes walk from Yatai street. When I saw a lot of lantern, I knew that we were close by.

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A street near Kushida Shrine

It was really nice to be inside the shrine in the middle of bustling city. Gave me a calm and relaxing feeling.

On the way to this shrine, I saw a busy area, some kind of shopping area, which was interesting. We went there to check.

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A small street on the way to Kawabata Arcade

And we saw another entrance next to Kawabata Shopping Arcade! after we took a longer route lol..

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Entrance to Kushida Shrine next to Kawabata arcade

Kawabata Shopping Arcade is a nice area to visit to shop as well. It looks like shopping arcade in another cities in Japan, which I liked. Window shopping!

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Kawabata Shopping Arcade

And it was time for dinner! We decided to try this restaurant, RakuGaki. Their price is reasonable and it looked busy as well (without queue though).

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RakuGaki – yakitori restaurant

We ordered several small dishes to try. Mentaiko omelette, grilled chicken skin, crispy tofu and grilled rice ball.

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Our dinner at RakuGaki

Our favorite dishes were mentaiko omelette and grilled chicken skin. Really finger-licking good! We ordered another portion of grilled chicken skin because they were crispy and tasted really yummy. And less oily than the fried one.

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Mentaika omelette

It was a good choice of restaurant. If you are in thearea, you can try RakuGaki for dinner.

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Crispy Chicken Skin

It was getting late and we need to pick up our luggage from the locker, so we walked back to Hakata Station via Canal City. Apparently, there is a bridge from canal city to Kawabata area. Would have been easier if we knew it before!

Canal City has a water show but I’m not sure how often they are. It was very pretty when we walked pass by.

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Water show at Canal City

We took our luggage and brought it to apartment, then rest for the day. Need to prepare our self for our 2nd day!

Thank you for reading. If you have any question, ask me in comment.

Ciao!

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