I know this might be a bit morbid but one subject that interests me is the World War II. Aside from your usual serial killers or mysterious events, the World War II is one keyword that pops up in my Google search history from time to time. A dream of mine is to visit as many WW2 museums as I can or maybe the Auschwitz camp in Germany. I only know four museums, actually, most of them in Japan. Last year, I visited the Peace Museum in Osaka and the experience was just heartbreaking. Children who survived the war drew portraits of what they saw and most of them had dead bodies and huge fires. My cousin’s family visited Hiroshima earlier this year and I was envious. Luckily, one of our suppliers invited us on an all-expense paid trip. Even more lucky, it was in Japan. And the best news, it included a side trip to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum!
I’ve included our itinerary for easier reference:
Since I and my sister will be joining a tour group, I knew early on that there won’t be that much tourist sites. As what my sister said, this trip was more for pleasure so I expected a lot of down time i.e. shopping.
Our flight was set on October 25 (my dad’s birthday!) morning. We arrived at Fukuoka International Airport at around 3:00PM local time and was at the hotel by 4:00PM. We had about an hour to walk around the neighborhood before going to dinner. According to the tour guide, Fukuoka City is the fifth biggest city in Japan with a population of 1.5 million. It is 2 hours away from Tokyo, about 1000 kilometers. It was the gate between Japan and the continent (China, Korea, etc). It had the government facility that granted permission from the emperor to travel. One famous dish that comes from Fukuoka is Hakata Ramen, a kind of ramen which uses a pork-bone tonkontsu broth.
Nagasaki, on the other hand, was the only open port to the west during Japan’s self-isolation. It was also one of the places where an atomic bomb was dropped in 1945. These were from the tour guide’s intro while on the bus and I haven’t fact-checked some of these so feel free to correct me. 🙂
Fukuoka has been known ever since as “Hakata”. A samurai from a town called “Fukuoka” in another prefecture then went to Hakata and established his Fukuoka Castle. This led to the division into two: Hakata and Fukuoka. However, after the Samurai era, there was a vote on what to name the city. “Fukuoka” won by one vote.
Our hotel (Hakata Excel Hotel) is comfortably situated between Hakata and Tenjing areas. From what I can recall, Tenjing area is famous for its shopping, dining, entertainment and night life while Hakata is more the laid-back and cultural area but is now starting to boom. Again, if you have more info, don’t hesitate to tell me!
We went out to grab a snack at a nearby Mo’s burger, scoured the aisles of a Family Mart and looked for the closest Don Quijote branch before going back to the hotel. Our dinner that night was at a shabu shabu place 🙂
TIL. The shabu shabu soup isn’t really meant to be drunk; you just cook the food there, one by one. Unlike what we did as seen below.. 😛
To keep this post short, I’ll just mention the highlights of our trip!