Our plan for day 2 was to go to Ainoshima (Cat Island) near Fukuoka. I wanted to go early there so I would have had time for something else in the city but since my friend didn’t want to wake up early and didn’t plan to stay there for a long time we agreed to take the later train.
My breakfast was just simple bread we bought at one of the bakeries in canal city. It was just so-so but enough to fill my morning tummy.
Ainoshima (Cat Island)
To reach Ainoshima from Hakata Station, we need to take train > bus > ferry. We checked the schedule for the ferry on website. The journey from Hakata to Shingu port is about 1 hour so plan accordingly.
From Hakata Station, we need to go to Fukko-Daimae Station to take a bus. Looking at the train map, it costs 280 yen to reach it, so I picked 280 from the machine. I printed the receipt as well. It is not necessary actually.
We walked around a bit in the station before going in into the gate and found Ekibento. There is only 1 cafe in Ainoshima so we decided to buy a bento for lunch there. I picked the small bento with small fishes and salmon (and condiments). It costs 860 yen. There are many options! They also have onigiri (Japanese rice ball).
We went to the gate and found a train to Fukko-Daimae at 10.08 am. Our first plan was to take the 10.20 am train. Nevermind! We could also wait there with more spare time.
The journey from Hakata to fukko-daimae only took 16 mins, so we had around 22 minutes before the bus arrived. After checking out at the gate, there are 2 exits. We picked the right-hand side one. The bus station is directly there, a small bus stop.
At 10.58 am, the bus came. It costs 100 yen, paid to the box by the end of the trip.
Once we arrived at Shingu Port, we went inside a building and bought a ticket for ferry from the machine. It is 460 yen per person. Only single trip ticket is available. Return ticket must be bought at Ainoshima. To buy it from the machine, insert the money, press 1 ticket (top left button), get the ticket then the change came out. Departed from Shingu Port at 11.30 am.
We arrived at Ainoshima 20 mins later with a hungry tummy. We saw several cats at the harbor but we needed to have our lunch first. We walked to the right-side area first since I saw many people walked that way.
Tried to find a place to have lunch and couldn’t find any! Finally I found a quiet area behind someone’s house. We sat there eating lunch 😂
There are several cats coming over after our lunch finished. Found few more cats along the way. There are signs saying about no feeding the cats. I can understand because people might overfeed them or feed them with human’s food (or both!).
It was really hot there, especially when we had to walk all the way. No public transport whatsoever. We used sunblock to prevent UV lights, but maybe a UV umbrella would be great. After a while, we needed to find the restroom. It is next to the cafe. We went inside and found a ticketing machine to come back to Shingu port. I bought 1 ticket, 460 yen. Be careful not to press 2 times. I used 10.000 yen bill to pay, so I needed to push a button to get my change after I got my ticket.
We walked to the other side from the harbor (the left side) and only saw a small shrine and also a memorial stone, but not many cats around.
We were a little disappointed with the number of cats in Ainoshima. It was not as many as it’s written in websites or blogs. Maybe because the weather was too humid as well. I also think a vet needs to make a visit there! Many cats are sick (eye problem or skin problem). If someone asked me is it worth to visit it, I would say it depends on how you missed cats. I can see cats at the shelter I worked in Saigon every day and also interacting with them, so for me it is not worth to visit. Although, the view is beautiful.
The cats of Ainoshima that we met today (excluding the trio up there) :
The good thing is we met 2 new friends! A guy from India who lives in Fukuoka and a guy from Hong Kong who can’t speak English well. Amazingly, we could communicate good enough, understood each other 😀
We didn’t have any plan after cat island. I planned to do some sightseeing in the city though, but then someone suggested to visit Owl Cafe. Owl! OWL! YES let’s do it!
It is in Kawabata Shopping Arcade. We came there by 3.30 pm and it was full. So we made reservation for 4 pm. Meanwhile, the boys needed lunch first (and I needed my snack :D).
We ate in a small restaurant, which selling udon, soba and vegetable tempura. I ordered kakiage (Japanese vegetable tempura). It was huge! Had to share it.
By 4.00 pm, we arrived back at owl family cafe. The girl ushered us to go upstairs where another girl was getting ready to give us instructions. How to touch an owl, what to do if the owl is trying to fly, can’t make ‘tsk tsk’ sound to gain attention, can’t touch or disturb the sleeping owls, can’t use flash to take photos, and much more!
She explained everything in Japanese and a little bit English. We could read it from the book as well though.
Once she finished, we had to order 1 drink. The fee is 1.500 yen including drink. We had time until 5.00 pm to interact with the owls. Off we go downstairs!
They are soooo cute! and also seems to be well taken care of. These 6 are just some of the owl I had in my camera, but there are more! We took so many photos. All four of us were busy with owls (and selfies)!
Once the time almost up, the girls from Cafe asked us to go upstairs again to enjoy our drink. They also told us if we posted a photo on Instagram and tag them, we would get a free postcard as a gift. My friend posted our photos and we got postcards!
They also have a corner of owl stuff there.
It was an amazing experience. Every one of us was very happy that we did this 🙂
Yokai Watch store
We went to Canal City together after that. And while walking from one building to another, we found yokai watch store. I’m not a fan of it but I knew it from Final Fantasy XIV event. I love the ghost! Too bad they don’t sell anything about the ghost 😦
To continue our adventure, my friend suddenly hungry and wanted to eat ramen. We went to Ramen Stadium in Canal City. Just follow the sign and you’ll get there.
Once we were there, I remembered about Ichiran Ramen. Apparently it is not at ramen stadium floor, but at the ground floor of another building instead. We walked to the ramen place but didn’t end up eating it, because they were so full! There was a long queue in front of it. Hence finding another food.
Takoyaki at Gindaco
The boys left already after our failed attempt at Ichiran Ramen. Only me and my friend and we wanted to sit! I saw this takoyaki shop and they have seats inside. Yay!
The portion was big so we only bought one portion. The original takoyaki is my favorite. I wanted to try their taiyaki (fish-shaped bread with filling), but it was sold out 😦
This takoyaki was awesome! Delicious and made me want more..
Dinner at Kaizantei
My friend had an appointment with her friends for dinner and I was invited as well. We went to a Japanese restaurant near Hakata Station. The name is Kaizantei. To eat here, make sure to make a reservation first because they are very famous and always crowded.
Their foods are delicious! I have no idea about their price though.. It was a treat from the friends! Lucky us ^^
I only took photos of these 2 but they actually ordered more! We were so full after dinner. For the drink, I ordered plum sake (ume liquor) with soda. Bad choice in term of soda because they put too much soda in it and all I could taste was the soda 😦 Should have just ordered with ice only.
The dinner wasn’t last for long because we have to wake up early for tomorrow! Beppu is waiting for us. So we just walked back to our apartment (Airbnb) and rest for the day.