Growth Chart for My Little Ones

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4 Jul 2010 - Fukuoka Day 2: Hakata, Ohori Park, Nishijin

All of us woke up pretty early today. Jerlene and Javier were as energetic as ever.

Today we decided to travel slightly further out of the city central by subway. Hakata Station is the main railway terminal in the city of Fukuoka. In fact, it is the largest and busiest station in Kyushu. Hakata station is about 10-15mins walk from our hotel. Along the way to the station, we visited several traditional Japanese shrines and temples around the vicinity.
In these traditional Japanese shrines, there is always a small fountain or well with clear running water near the entrance. I saw people use it to wash their hands and face. Some also drank the water. I guess probably it's for people to cleanse themselves before entering the shrine.

The first is Shofukuji Temple, which is the oldest Zen temple in Japan. Nearby is Tochoji Temple, which houses a beautiful Daibutsu (a 11 metres / 36 foot tall, 30 ton statue of Buddha).

We then walked towards towards Hakata station, passing by Gion station where we had our lunch in a small food outlet at the street corner.
After lunch, we passed by a building and saw a group of men preparing some event. Straightaway we thought of the coming Gion Yamakasa festival.
Finally we reached Hakata Station.

The moment we entered Hakata station, first thing we did is to find out where to purchase the 3 days Northern Kyushu Railpass. Our plan for the next 3 days is to travel out even further by rail to places such as Nagasaki and Hui Ten Bosch. After checking at the information counter (the receptionist knows a bit of English), we realized that our passports are required for the purchase. As we kept the passport in the hotel safe, we could not purchase the railpass today. So we then proceed to purchase the one-day subway tickets.

First we stopped at Ohorikoen station. A few steps from the station is Ohori Park, which is a pleasant city park in central Fukuoka. It has a chinese theme and a large man made lake in the centre of the park.
All this while, it has been drizzling but as soon as we stepped into the park, the rain got heavier and heavier. We quickly went into a shelter and waited for the rain to stop. Fortunately, there were birds around to keep my two little angels "entertained". They enjoyed feeding the birds with bread that we have brought along.

After waited for more than half an hour, there was still no sign for the rain to stop. So we decided to bash through the rain and go back to the subway station. Tracy and I were pretty wet then but Jerlene and Javier were ok as they were fully "covered" in their strollers.

Next we planned to go to Marinoa City, which is a popular outlet shopping mall in Fukuoka. From the map that we had, it seems that the nearest subway station to Marinoa City is Meinohama station. So we alighted at that station and started walking in that direction. However, after we walked for about half an hour, we still did not see any sign of the Twin Ferris Wheel in Marinoa City. We started to suspect that something is not right. Since we have already walked so far, we decided to persist. Finally we saw the ferris wheel BUT.....we were separated by a river!!!!! At this point, we confirmed that it is unreachable on foot. So we took some pictures and headed back to the station.

We need to change our plan now and decided to go to Fukuoka Tower. The nearest station there is Nishijin, which is 3 stations away. When we came out of the station, we tried to orientate ourselves as we were a bit lost. As we saw many people, who looked like tourist, walking into a shopping street, we decided to follow. It's actually a road for cars but was closed at that time.
Once again, we walked for about half an hour and still no sign of the tower. We began to feel not right and decided to turn back. As I turned to my right, I suddenly saw a tall building at quite a distance away. Sigh......we had walked the wrong direction...... :(

After so much walking, we were a bit hungry. So we found a small food outlet nearby and had our dinner there. The outlet owner is a Chinese and he had been here for 15 years already. After dinner, we decided to get our orientation correct this time and try to walk to Fukuoka Tower one more time. At a junction, it says that the walking time to Fukuoka Tower is 20mins. However after walking for more than 20mins, the tower still seems to be quite far. As the sky is getting dark, we decided to turn back and call it a day. I would say today is a bad day and we had a few lessons learned.

On the way back to the station, we decided to buy two umbrellas for the coming days. Weather forecast indicated that there will be rain in the coming week. We reached our hotel at about 9pm.

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