Friday, 16 December 2016

Japan Day 1: Fukuoka

Our ferry waiting to depart Busan
Our day in Fukuoka was one of my favourites of the holiday, although it didn't have the most promising start....

We took an early taxi from our hotel to the Busan international ferry terminal and after a painless check in, and a rather comical submission of our sales tax refund claim which required me to reverse back through immigration, we were onto the ferry.

Fearing that the three hour ferry ride might be a bit choppy I took some sea sickness tablets. It was a bit of a queazy first half hour for me and then I managed to sleep the rest of the way. Becks hadn't taken any sea sickness tablets and wasn't so lucky.....
Fukuoka cheesecake
We walked from the ferry terminal to our hotel, the Dormy Inn. An early check in certainly wasn't an option (I'm not sure if this was particular to our hotel or is a Japanese thing?) so we dropped off our bags and walked up to the main station so that we could activate our Japan Rail Passes and book tickets up to Hiroshima for the next day.

I had some lunch at a café in the station (Becks still couldn't face food after the ferry). On our way out of the station we discovered a very high end looking food court, something we found was common across Japan. I'd heard that Fukuoka was famous for cheesecake, so after trying out several different flavours we bought ourselves a slice to share. The packaging was a bit over the top with ice packs included.
Night market in Tenjin Park
Following the cheesecake we walked back to the hotel and checked in. After short time in our room we went for a walk round Fukuoka. We didn't really have any aims for our walk, absorbing the sights and sounds of our first day in Japan.

By complete chance we stumbled upon Tenjin Park where a night market was being held. It had the feeling of a small producers / farmers market, although not being able to read any Japanese we didn't really have a clue what was going on!
Dinner at the night market
After doing a lap of the market we decided to pick up a couple of dishes for dinner and stood at one of the communal tables eating with the other locals who were enjoying a meal after a day at work.

One our way out of the market we picked up a mango soft serve cone as a little sweet treat.
Mango soft serve
We drifted a different way back to the hotel and came across a large number of Yatai, traditional street stalls. Fukuoka apparently has half of all the yatai left in Japan. Unfortunately we were tool full from the market to try any of the stalls.
Yatai (food stalls) in Fukuoka
The Dormy Inn was midrange and modern hotel, but I loved it because it seemed so, well, Japanese. In our room was a set of pyjamas that the label advised us to put on and wear round the hotel so we put them on, and after reading the guide, headed to the onsen for a good scrub!

There were separate onsens for men and women. I was quite pleased that there weren't too many other people in the onsen to laugh at me now knowing what to do. Hopefully I got the etiquette right, scrubbing and rinsing thoroughly before getting into the hot pools, both of which were way too hot! I didn't last long in either hot pool before washing again and trying all of the different moisturisers and tonics before heading back to the room.
Free hotel ramen
We chose the hotel largely on the basis that they served free ramen between 9 - 11pm each evening. So still dressed in our pyjamas we headed down to the restaurant for a bowl of noodles before bed.

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