Fukuoka-Nagasaki

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:

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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.

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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. 🙂

Fun Fact:

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.

More here: http://www.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/promo/english/magazine/sanpo.html

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!

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The view from our hotel room

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 🙂

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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!

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Tokyo Adventure Day 4-5: Central and Northern Tokyo and then some

One of the things that we immediately agreed on was going to Japan’s Tsukiji Market. Reading about it the past years got me interested in experiencing the Japanese’s market day and eating really fresh sushi.

We decided to skip the auction since:

  1.  It is only limited to about 120 people per day
  2. Tourists have to apply to get a slot, and
  3. It is freaking early. The auction starts around 5AM but people line up very early to get to the first batch. Knowing us, we wouldn’t wake up in time especially since our first few days were packed.

Aside from Tsukiji, Kate also wanted to visit gardens. I did too. Luckily, Tokyo has a bunch of gardens scattered all over the city. Given this, our fourth day was focused mainly on Central and Northern Tokyo. We had three options to go to after the market: Imperial Palace and Garden, Yasukini Shrine or Koishikawa Korakuen. In the end, we chose Koishikawa Korakuen.

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Tokyo Adventure Day 3: Mount Fuji

Right off the bat, I just want to say that there is a big chance I have forgotten some (okay, maybe a lot) details about this trip because it has been a month. All I have is a Notes file on my phone to help me write this and succeeding posts. So sorry. 😦

Alright, here I go.

We really wanted to do all the tourist-y things that we could do in Tokyo kasi di ba, sayang naman ang trip. So.. What is more tourist-y than seeing the infamous Mount Fuji? 😀

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Tokyo Adventure Day 2: Tokyo Disney Sea

Tokyo is blessed with having two Disney theme parks: Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea. I don’t really know the difference but upon googling it, Tokyo Disneyland is like other Disneyland theme parks in other countries; nothing really unique according to this blog Travels In Translation. Disney Sea, on the other hand, is only available in Japan and has a “sea” theme. We let Kate (cousin from the US who is visiting) decide and she chose Disney Sea. My choice too, if you ask me.

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Tokyo Adventure Day 1: Western Tokyo

We were already at the NAIA Terminal 2 by around 5AM since our flight was at 8:45. However, our flight got delayed and was only able to leave at around 9:20AM. As you can see in the previous post, our schedule was really packed on the first day so this unexpected delay was not a good sign.

After around four hours, we landed at Haneda International Airport ~2:00PM local time. My nephew Jeto got a little held up at the airport because the immigration agent’s machine to check passports was not functioning. We got our luggage and proceeded to our Airbnb in Shibuya.

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