Info on 2016 Fukuoka Cherry Blossom:
Refill petrol – there are a few stations around. Keep watch out before you drive in.
Our Nippon Rent a car drop off is just one street away from our hotel JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Central. So convenient. There’s an incentive/ refund for returning earlier than our appointment. Came up to 48,500 for 3 days for a Toyota Proud 1.8 for 3 pax. We also paid for English translation.
We dropped off our car at Fukuoka at extra charge. Expensive but no other way.
I’m glad we don’t have to wait for public transport in the cold and it’s possible to go to Mt Aso possibly by either travel coach or your own car. Did we really need snow tires? Certainly not. Were we ripped off by the polite Japanese or were they just conscientious? I don’t want to think too much. Not being fluent in the language, I just want to write off as a safe and happy trip!
An underground links Sunplaza to Hakata station if you want to avoid the cold. (I think Hotel Forza is nearer to Hakata station than JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Central . You don’t need to cross the road. It’s on the right side of station while Hotel Blossom Hakata Central is on left. Apparently there’s another JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom on the right side. Yes. I’ll recommend this hotel again. Clean, new and smoke free. But small so go for the biggest size you can afford. Kyushu is anytime cheaper than Tokyo. If you’ve bought a JR pass you can ask for a discount. I only realised later when I read a brochure in Singapore. Ask for it.)
Ichiran the famous – “please don’t disturb me while I’m eating my ramen” has an outlet next to our hotel, JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Central. It’s in B2 of Sunplaza. We saw it at 2pm and went over at 630pm. No queue in sight.
You pay by pressing from a machine then tick your choice of noodle firmness. Ichiran originated from Hakata with its pork bone broth.
Shutters up and you concentrate. In theory. In practice the kitchen staff are so noisy shouting out orders from behind the shutters.
When we arrived in Fukuoka after Tokyo, the shopping was underwhelming. But back to Fukuoka at Day 6 from the countryside and better able to appreciate the shopping.
Around Hakata Station there are lots of shopping including Tokyu Hands, Hankkyu department stall and an entire food basement. In the surrounding convenient store, we bought a Lotte Rum and Raisin chocolate bar for 138¥. Delicious and not too sweet with right alcohol taste. Japanese are famous for more than 100 over flavours of Kit Kat although I’ve only seen 5 flavours so far which are only available in certain seasons or locations eg. Kyushu.
Within walking distance from the Delifrance exit is Yodobashi electronics store. We lost our camera cover and got a non-branded one here. There are at least 5 levels and constant translation over the announcement in Mandarin and French. Tax free at purchases above $108, claimed at time of purchase (show your passport). This is unlike other shops where tax free is claimed after purchase where you can accumulate receipts. Shop closes at 10pm. Others around the station close around 8pm, as a signal the “auld lang sye” song is played over the sound system.
Christmas lights and a live performance, beer, Christmas delights at the Hakata station till Christmas day. Something to do at 10pm. As you can tell, this is ultra slow-blogging.
Day 7: Fukuoka