Monday, June 20, 2011


Fukuoka is one of my favorite cities in Japan. It might not have a lot of "touristy" things to do, but its big, convenient, and overall just a fun place to be in. We have been numerous times throughout the year, but we just recently got a tour of the city with the best type of tour guide - someone who was born and raised there.

On June 4th and 5th, Michelle, Alice and I met up with Keiko and Masa at their home in Hikari. Keiko is one of Alice's English teachers and Masa is one of my coworkers at Iwakuni Technical High School. Masa was actually born and raised in downtown Fukuoka, and lived there until graduating from University a few years back. From their home in Hikari we all crammed into Masa's car and made the three hour treck to Fukuoka. We had been talking about the trip for weeks, and we could tell Masa was really proud and excited to show off his city. Fukuoka and his tour did not disappoint. When we arrived in Fukuoka, we hit things off with a nice western style meal at Hard Rock Cafe (wow do we really eat that much food at every meal back home?), followed up with some shopping at the new Hakata train station. Afterwords we took a quick break at Masa's parent's home to relax a bit. Her house was amazing. Located off a few side streets, it was incredibly tranquil even though it was located a stones throw away from Hakata Station. After a two hour rest, we were back on the subway heading out to Tenjin and Nakasu, where we dined at a British pub and had a couple drinks at a trendy international beer joint.

Hard Rock Cafe in Fukuoka!

Hanging together Saturday night in a British pub in Tenjin

With Masa's mother in her house in downtown Fukuoka

We stayed the night back at Masa's mom's quant Japanese home, and after we ate the fantastic breakfast that she made for us we took off to the small town of Yanagawa, located to the south of Fukuoka. Here we dined on the town's famous unagi (eel) dinner plates and strolled the city's beautiful river canals. The unagi dish, called kabayaki-don, was incredible. The eel is cooked and dipped into a sweet soy sauce, then served over rice in a tiered food box. Delicious. After Yanagawa, and a stop at the area's famous American style outlet malls, we started the long drive back to Yamaguchi Prefecture. It felt like we packed a week's trip in just two days. A big shout out to Keiko and Masa for being such awesome hosts!

Strolling alongside Yanagawa's beautiful canals

The Unagi (eel) kabayaki-don plate. Amazing.

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