Check this awesome website and learn some Hanja on the go!
Photographs by Simon Hunter-Williams
The problem of most travellers – we have a phone, an ipad which doesn’t do anything it does at home.. because we don’t want to pay some insane price for the phone to be used…
The joys of Kakoa Talk, Line, WeChat, Hangout and FacebookTalk means we can use free messaging services.. so we are happy, right!
In the case of Starbucks in Japan, you need to register at http://starbucks.wi2.co.jp before gaining access to the internet – yes – odd, I know.. you can’t gain access to the internet if you haven’t registered before on different Wifi/Internet services.
So… take advantage of the knowledge and register for free.. ahead of your travels!
If you need a place to chill, to let your hair down.. Fukuoka is the place to go… a short flight from most Asian cities.. in my case, I flew from Incheon International with Jeju Air.
>> so time to share with you the details (so you can plan your trip)
Recommended hotels: (recommend booking between 2am on Expedia because some great rates came up…)
Canal City-Fukuoka Washington Hotel - ideally located to explore the area surrounding Hakata Station, this includes the massive department store and mall at the station plus the easy access to the rail network and the airport (though this is a 10 minute walk from the hotel), visit the Kushnida Shrine along with a wide number of smaller temples and a number of parks.
Located on the island and a stone-throw from Tenjin station, the Gangnam or Oxford Street of the city with a bustling array of department stalls and stores plus good transport links to buses to the outer parts of the city, check out the newly built Fukouka Symphony Hall, Daimaru (the nice department stall), or the Loft store for a huge assortment of items, Apple Japan can be found a bi further along Kukutai-doro-Ave.
Hotel Hokke Club, 3-1-90 Sumiyoshi, Hakata, Fukuoka, Fukuoka-ken, 812-0018
> Ideally located, a short walk from the Canal City and very close to Hakata Station (15 mins to the international and domestic airport).
> The room is small (but you are in Japan) and offers all the normal and a nice wee bath!
Check in at 3pm, can store luggage.
For location this was my favourite.
Booked on Expedia.co.kr
‘Simon’s to do list’ in Fukuoka:
Kushmida Shrine (good luck for financial interests)
Fukuoka Tower (no international ATM cards, please make sure you take enough cash to this part of town!)
> F Tower is 234 meters tall, the tallest seaside tower in Japan.
> Has 8000 triangular mirror panels covering it.
> 25,000 tons is the weight of the underground portion of the building, 3500 tons the weigh of the above ground.
> Can withstand magnitude 7 earthquake and winds of upto 63meters/seconds.
> It offers a 360degree view of the area, Fukuoka City, Hakata Bay and the Sefuri Mountains.
> Completed in 1989, took 14 months and cost 6 billion YEN.
Other bits for Fukuoka
Visit the Fukuoka City Museum (near the Tower); I caught the ‘Impressionists at the Waterside’ which had a nice array of art by Cezanne, Monet, Turner, Bodin (take bus from Tenjin (bus station 1A, bus W1 at 220 yen, 20 mins and prepare your camera after 10 minutes to get photographs of the bay from the bridge!).
Gay quarter can be found in the Sumyoshi Area near Hakata Station.
(walking from the station, take the left (if standing outside the station with your back towards the station), walk past the line of Hotels – Crowne Plaza being your landmark, and just walk straight until you pass by a seelction of buildings with Royal writeen on the logo and when you hit a Korean restaurant with white walls.. take a left and you are there — for English speakers, head to BENT, or try Overall.
There is a rather glim Gay shop if you walk past Heat Fatty, Cave Cafe, Compact AZ and a bit more..
Oh and… Daimaru Department Store
Food in Fukuoka:
The most important experience of this city is to try the ‘yatai’ which dates back to the Edo Period, 1603-1867;street stalls which are common to other countries such as Korea. You will find a wide number of restauran and cafes including the familiar places such as Starbucks, McDonalds, Lotteria etc.
There is a wide selection of local and international food for all tastes in this city, the city is easy to explore on foot!
For more information visit the Fukuoka International Association
Visit the ‘Canal City Hakata’ which offers a wide range of shops – with brand names such as Diesel, Vanquish, The Kiss, Coach, Zara, a massive Muji, Bershka, Kitson
more details, weekdays 10-2100, weekends 11-2300.
Tenjin offers a whole OXFORD STREET experience.
described as: ‘It’s a town with a lot of appeal packed into a small space. It’s also perfectly accessible froma ll parts of the area including ASIA’.
Key places to visit:
Kumamoto Castle, Hakata Gate City Hall (get off at City Hall station (if on tram and explore), Kumamoto Prefectuaral Art Mueum, Kamitori Arcade (great for shops and a throws from City Hall Tram sto)
Day trip from Fukuoka, take the high seed train around 7,000 Y and buy yourself the day transport card from the Tourist nformation shop at the train station (it allows the use of bus, trains etc.
Worth a short visit was the CAMK (Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto) which is not your typical gallery, it has a homely feel ad is a good place to sit down and read a book on art or anything else, to browse the gift store and check outthe few exhibits before heading to the mall that is next door.
Artists on display include James Turrell, MArina Abravmovic, Yayoi Kusama, Tatsuo Miyajima.
Other things to see:
Former Residence of Hosokawa Gyobu, Kumamoto City Museum, The Baseball Stadium,
(use the Kumamoto Kotsu Bus Station) a three minute walk from City Hall
>> THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR THE INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLER IS:
ATM services offered by Yucho and Seven Bank accept all international card.
Get that mask..