Vacationista: Fukuoka, Japan Day 3 (Rakusuien Garden, Canal City Hakata, Mitama Light Festival, Ichiran, Don Quixote)


Since this was a chillax mode kind of trip, everyone just sort of woke up whenever. I mean, sure we had an itinerary but we were in no hurry. No alarm clocks for us.
Took our sweet time with our breakfast while sharing our devotionals, reflections on The Word and basically, making kwento and bonding. Except for ate who was fast asleep. Haha! Honestly, how many families can you find who are so koboy (fuss-free) in nature like us?

 When I said that our location was walking distance to everywhere, I was not kidding. For today, our first destination was the Rakusuien Garden. It was about a 20-minute walk going there and we thought since it was near, why not check it out? For a Saturday, our area was really empty!

We passed by the Hakata Traditional Craft and Design Museum but it was still closed. I think it opens at 10am. Passed by more vending machines (how surprising) and saw this can of energy drink which seems scary to drink. Just look at that crazy looking bunny driver!

 Rakusuien Garden is a simple family-owned (we assumed) Japanese garden, with plants and trees, a small pond in the middle with lots of koi, a tiny bridge and a tiny water fall. 

Entrance fee is Y100 for adults with brochure and you can buy a packet of koi food for Y50. There’s also this bamboo rod which you place somewhere in the flowing river and you can hear a melody or song.

 We were also able to go into the traditional rooms and spend a few minutes of silence there, along with the other Japanese who visited.

If you ask me, you can skip going to this garden if you’re pressed for time since it’s not too grandiose but we didn’t regret it since we were able to help out the family. At least, we and a few tourists were able to extend our appreciation to their tiny garden and serve as an encouragement to them to keep their garden in the middle of the tall buildings.

 Walking back, we then headed to Fukuoka’s most popular destination: Canal City Hakata! Shopaholics would definitely enjoy going here. It’s a shopping haven! It’s huge with lots of stores but maps and info booths with English-speaking staff are everywhere so you won’t get lost.

Right at the entrance was Uniqlo, which had super discounted items like Y500 pants and shirts! That’s roughly P230 each. My family went gaga over it (like they shelled out Y30,000 I think for all their combined items) but I only bought this body shaper, perfect for wearing gowns, at Y1065. So glad I found this because I’ve been looking for one for a while now. At least with this one, I know it’ll be made of quality. It would have been Y990 without tax, which can be availed for Y5000 and above with combined items so better to join forces with your group

 While waiting for the others, bought some cumin chips (Y170) from Kaldi Coffee Farm pangtawid gutom.

 We then checked the map and found a moving sushi bar called Heishir, which my cousin really wanted to experience. Yey for sushi! It was located on the other building so we had to do a bit of walking towards the 4th floor, where the restaurants were located. Good thing again we arrived before 12nn because come lunchtime, there was a long line already! Also, grateful that the resto staff went out of their way to secure 7 seats for us!

Aside from different types of sushi, they also had takoyaki balls, karaage and even desserts on the conveyor belt.

I was starving so I grabbed some torched salmon sushi (Y250) followed by salmon with fish eggs (Y200) and tuna sushi (Y100).

 It was taking some time for other types of sushi that I wanted to come out so I decided to order manually. Do what the locals do! Through the screen in front of you, punch in the items you want, punch the quantity then check out. Wait a few minutes and they’ll serve you the sushi fresh off the preparation table! I ordered fresh tuna sushi (200) and tuna with onions sushi (Y200). Everything was so good! For 5 plates, I paid Y1026. Super sulit for such yummy sushi! 

 With full stomachs, we walked around and enjoyed the sights. Only in Japan will you see women casually walking in kimonos or a cartoon standee with water coming out of its nipples!

 As I mentioned, there’s this particular bag that I’m looking for. I’ve already allotted some budget for it and I told myself, if I found it in Japan and it’s within my budget, I would definitely buy it. Off we went to Komehyo and so ecstatic that I found my ‘dream’ bag for 2016! More on that later (it deserves a separate post) but below is a sneak peek =)

Sis got thirsty so she bought a bottle of ginger ale from the vendo machine and when we saw this resto with fish bread with filling, we decided to rest a bit. They also sold takoyaki balls but we were so full, there was no more space for that. Haha!

Met up with the group and headed back home to leave all of our loot! Sis discovered a short cut going back to our apartment, so we exited at a different gate, which is actually connected to the Kushida shrine and the shopping strip we had dinner at last night. We also tasted this watermelon sparkling drink (Y150) which was really good.

 Back home, rested for a bit until 5:30pm, as we were planning on visiting the Mitama Light Festival, best seen at night. This Mitama Light Festival was actually a happy accident. It wasn’t initially included in our itinerary but then one day, as I was researching for things to do in Fukuoka, chanced upon this site showing the light festival. Perfect timing because it was right during our time of visit!

This time, we took the bus going there (Y380). Walked to the bus station and took bus number 3. Upon entering, get the ticket and make sure you have exact change to pay when you exit, since they don’t give any change. If you have a Y1000 bill, you may have it broken down by the driver’s seat. Just put it in the machine and it will give you coins. The fare will be shown on the screen in front, based on the number on the ticket. Be sure to always check since sometimes the fare changes from time to time, I think depending on the distance. Passed by a branch of the famous Ichiran too.

We just followed the instructions on the net so we got down at the stop but still had to walk quite a while. Along the way was a long strip of lotus flowers.

Mom couldn’t walk anymore so me, her and aunt took a cab while the others walked. It’s a short distance so it was only Y570 for the cab ride. Going inside, stalls left and right were selling goods – both new and pre-loved.

 Further down were the food stalls selling all sorts of food – takoyaki balls, sandwiches, pizzas and even beer. It really felt like a festival!

We first checked out the main attraction – the 6,000 lanterns all lit up. Lanterns were so pretty. Some of them even had works of art by kids. This festival is actually a celebration of the return of spirits of the honorable dead.

At the Gokoku Shrine located at the end, the Japanese would pay respects and pray. Beside it were a trio of women playing their guitars. We heard both modern and traditional music. Seats were provided for those who would like to rest and listen.

Going back to the entrance where the food stalls were located, we decided to have some appetizer before making our way back to dinner. I bought chicken balls (Y550) and green tea (Y150). Sis made a new furry and kulit friend too.

 Recharged, we went to the bus stop and searched our way to one of the must-eat places in Fukuoka – the original Ichiran! Ichiran is known for the ramen and the one we visited was their original branch. We had to take two buses (Y290, Y190) to get there plus a bit of walking but it was worth it. Again, good thing there were only three people ahead of us. A small window gives you a peek into the hard working cooks preparing the ramen.

You order your food via a machine. Insert the money, choose which one you like – including the add ons like egg, extra pork etc – then get the ticket. I ordered the ramen (Y790) while the others added a soft boiled egg, which they say is recommended. While waiting in line, you’ll have to fill up a paper indicating what ramen you want – how spicy, with or without green onions, with pork, how rich etc. similar to Ramen Nagi in Manila. There’s an English paper so no worries. At the entrance, closed by a curtain and door while you wait, there are blinking lights, I guess showing if the seats are occupied, available or almost finished. A staff will tell you when to come in.

 We thought that we’d eat separately – depending on seat availability – but again, the staff went out of their way to secure 7 seats for us. How nice talaga! Once inside, you’ll have your own booth with your own water. Press the red button in front of you and give your filled up paper and ticket to the server. Tissue paper, toothpick and coat hangers are located behind you.

After a few minutes, the server will bring your food. You won’t even see his or her face when they serve the ramen! Samurai skills right there! Haha! Talagang inabangan ko pagdating niya. Once served, they’ll put down the bamboo curtain in front of you for your eating privacy.

 I ordered medium spicy ramen with green onions and pork. It was so good obviously as I finished all of it! We then took the cab going home (about Y1070) due to our tired feet and super full stomachs.

Since this was our last night, we decided to make the best of it. After resting, we walked towards Don Quixote and passed by a pretty street art. Don Quix which is open 24 hours is known for cheap items ranging from beauty products, clothes, electronics, bags and food. It’s a must go to in Japan!

 When we got there, there were so many people. I couldn’t take photos anymore but just enjoyed my shopping experience. Spent Y8,548 for my items using my credit card plus Y1,244 for mom’s items but since the line for the tax free counter was so long, we decided not to avail of it anymore. Their tax is 8%. My loot was 3 pieces Japanese crackers as pasalubong (Y178 each), 5 packs of 52-pieces Softymo make-up remover wipes (Y265), 2 hair conditioners (Y128 and Y198), 1 box of 32-pieces Lulun anti-aging face masks (Y1500), 1 pack of 7-pieces Lulun face mask (330) and 1 pack of 7-piece Quality first face mask (Y400) for my friend, 1 piece K-Palette eyebrow pencil (Y1200) and 3 pieces BIfesta make-up remover (Y580). The other loot was 2 pieces Dove shower gel (Y280 each), 2 pieces toothpaste (Y178 each), hand soap (Y138), almond Pocky (Y88), 3 pieces chocolate biscuits (Y88 each) and two peach flavored drinks (Y128 and Y178).

Went back home and mentally prepared myself for the last day in Fukuoka. Huhu.


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