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Charmed in Fukuoka

Fukuoka Travel Blog

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Unknown (to me) Fukuoka Temple
Today is my last full day in Japan, and the weather couldn't be nicer.  Brilliant sunshine, crystal clear blue skies, breezy 70s -- the kind of weather that would make even a Southern Californian green with envy.  Today I visited the temples in Fukuoka, for one last dose of Japanese culture.  While they aren't the world-renowned temples of Kyoto and Nikko, they were every bit as lovely.  And perhaps more so, seeing as travel to Fukuoka for their temples is unheard of (people flock here for the ramen and the 4am partying), I may have passed a dozen people total between the four, allowing for lots of peace and quiet and deserted garden paths and the such.
Unknown (to me) Temple


First I came across a temple that isn't on my map, which was a pleasant surprise.  There was a cheerful guide, who happily peppered me with a whole manner of explanations in rapid-fire Japanese, which means I understood nothing except his eagerly pointing out the male and female gargoyles (looked the same to me -- shows what I know), which I was able to follow only because he knew the words male, female, and gargoyle in English.  I asked him what the temple was called, he too was unable to find it on my map, and not being able to understand a word he was saying I merely deduced "Fukuoka Temple."  So not really sure what I came across.

From there I visited Tocho-ji, which has a neat green and orange pagoda that I was unable to see because it's under construction, but could make the top of it out from a few city blocks away (up close it's hidden by nearby buildings).
Male Gargoyle
  From Tocho-ji I walked to Shofuku-ji, which is perhaps Fukuoka's largest and best-known temple, and had extensive shaded grounds to stroll around.  The last stop was Joten-ji, which was the smallest of the lot and probably would have been skipped if it wasn't so close.

Lunch was in the same area as yesterday, as I was told the area's food vendor stalls were among the best in town.  Sat at a counter in an open kitchen spot called Kenzo and had ramen-like noodles (although without broth) with another delicious egg on top, this one sunny-side up, egg white and all.  Since it was likely my last meal in Japan (save for the snacks I'll have on the ferry tomorrow), I splurged and ordered a sake too.  The dude pulled out a magnum of sake that was about the size of my torso.  (And you think I'm kidding.
Unknown (to me) Temple
)  You can picture me frantically trying to gesture and explain that I only wanted a single serving, not a hangover to last through Easter.  He poured me a tumbler glass full to the brim and then KEPT POURING, so it overflowed and there was a healthy dose on the counter top too.  He put this giant goblet in a little box-like thing in front of me, so that it was sitting in its own contained puddle, and every time I raised it to take a sip, sake would drip on my lap.  (After a few sips, the sake dripping on the lap thing ceases to be an issue.  It's more go with the flow at that point.)  After thinking I'd never drink the whole thing, this lush then did exactly that.

I was trying to think of my favorite meals in Japan, and I have to say the noodle and egg dishes are at the top of my list.
Unknown (to me) Temple
  I think the soba and egg in Hiroshima were my all-time number one, and perhaps the chilled soba in Takayama coming in at number two.  Three, four, and five would have to be Kyoto's udon with tofu, Nikko's curried udon, and perhaps today's egg & ramen.  Actually, I take that back.  The fried giant sea scallops with rice and miso soup in Osaka beat out today to slide in at number five.  I'm not even sure sushi makes the list.  Sure, the sushi I had was terrific.  But it was "just" sushi, the freshness and quality of which while superb, I'm sorry to say I can have easily matched (and probably beat) in Manhattan.  (Bearing in mind that in New York I dine at a level ten times the price point that I've been paying here.  Yes, ten times.  No, that is not an exaggeration.  Looking at you, Pun.)  The other regional dishes were far more varied, complex, and interesting.  Japan's food has been fantastic across the board (overlooking that poorly advised champon awfulness in Nagasaki), and I know it will be sorely missed.  This traveler has been one well-fed buckaroo.  And wow do I love Japanese food.
domnicella says:
Yeah, I've heard that more than once. I usually order spicy grilled octopus at Korean restaurants (and I love it), but that's in NY. So who knows when it's the real deal. Stay tuned.
Posted on: Oct 12, 2009
fransglobal says:
Nihon no ryori suki desu!

I love Japanese cuisine and I think it's an awful pity that a lot of people seem to think it just consists of raw fish.

I have to say though that Korean cuisine is the only one in Asia which did not really appeal to me. I will be interested to hear what you think of it.

Posted on: Oct 12, 2009
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Unknown (to me) Fukuoka Temple
Unknown (to me) Fukuoka Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Male Gargoyle
Male Gargoyle
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Female Gargoyle
Female Gargoyle
Unknown (to me) Temple
Unknown (to me) Temple
Happy Temple Guide
Happy Temple Guide
Tocho-ji
Tocho-ji
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Tocho-ji
Tocho-ji
Tocho-ji
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Joten-ji
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Hilarious sidewalk animation
Hilarious sidewalk animation
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Kenzo
Ramen with cabbage and egg (and bi…
Ramen with cabbage and egg (and b…
Kenzo
Kenzo
Fukuoka Hostels review
Lovely Guesthouse in Fukuoka
Guesthouse Kaine is a lovely place to stay. Tucked on a quiet side street, the location is great -- equidistant from both Canal City and Tenjin. Eas… read entire review
Fukuoka
photo by: nidge76