Today I thought I’d write about the first time I went to Fukuoka with some of the ALTs.
Fukuoka is the capital city of Kyushu island (the island Beppu is on) and has the biggest population out of all cities here. It’s the largest metropolitan area west of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe area (also called Keihanshin) and actually has a larger population than that of not only Kobe but Kyoto too! Fukuoka has lots of great places to visit whether you’re into shopping, art, manga + anime, novels, fashion, traditional buildings, music, or other things! It’s home to people like Tokyo Ghoul writer Sui Ishida, novelist Yumeno Kyuusaku, and singers Ayumi Hamasaki, Ringo Shiina, former Morning Musume members Reina Tanaka and Erina Ikuta, and HKT48, Fukuoka’s AKB48-related group.
So, what did we do in Fukuoka?
We went for a weekend (Fri-Sun) by coach, and stayed at a hostel called Hostel Futagi (it has a cute flying squirrel logo). I’d never stayed in a hostel before, but this one was really nice, quite fresh and modern, and nice and clean. With me and the other ALTs we had enough to fill one of the dormitory rooms, which was nice ’cause I’m not really into the sharing-a-room-with-strangers thing, though I think this hostel also does separate rooms for one or two people possibly? The dormitory rooms are a little like capsule hotels in that it’s a block with two layers of beds, each of which is a little enclosed area with a curtain at the end and a lockable box to keep valuables in. In the entrance to the hostel there’s also a little bar that does snacks (and provides a place where you can eat there since eating in the rooms isn’t allowed) which also serves as the reception area.
On our first full day in Fukuoka we started off with a delicious breakfast at Eggs n’ Things (which luckily we ended up going to not long before that store was closed down) before exploring the Tenjin and Daimyo areas. Daimyo is well known for having lots of vintage clothing stores so we spent some time wandering around those, although most of the ones we found, despite having some really cool stuff, were way out of our budget compared to secondhand stores back home… but we did find some other cool shops where we could actually buy things!
In the evening we found Canal City, a really beautiful shopping centre with plants growing and trailing from every level, and a pond and fountain down the side. Because it was dark when we were there, we got to see something I’d never seen before – an interactive Space Invaders game projected onto the walls of the hotel opposite the shopping centre, which encompassed colourful light and water displays using the fountains! It was so cool.
Canal City has a load of cool stores, including a store that sells some really beautiful Studio Ghibli merchandise, a Sanrio store, a Shonen Jump store, a Blue Seal ice cream kiosk (Blue Seal is actually from Okinawa but it’s my fave ice cream brand here), and a Moomin Cafe! Me and two of the ALTs I travelled with tried the Moomin Cafe and it was really nicely decorated with great attention to detail (even the napkins have Moomin decorations on them, and the teaspoons are even Moomin characters!) and felt homely, and although we didn’t try any of the food it looked like the menu was a lot more original than at most themed cafes where the dishes are almost always curry and rice, omurice or hamburger. This may have something to do with the fact that the Moomin cafe isn’t a temporary installation, but a permanent fixture. I’d definitely recommend it.
I really enjoyed my time in Fukuoka, and I hope to go back soon for sure! You should definitely check it out too!
For more info about Fukuoka, check out the Instagram of Béné, a French person living in Fukuoka who’s a certified Fukuoka specialist~ She posts in French, Japanese and English, and also has a blog (in French) here!