Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Sights & Sites
Kyushu National Museum – 4-7-2 Ishizaka; 011-81-92-918-2807; kyuhaku.jp; 1 of 4 national museums and 1st new one in over 100 years; 1st to elevate focus on history over art; extremely high resolution video system, with latest image processing and color management software, serves both in documenting collection objects and in expanding access; striking glass and wood building in hills; hosts important collections Japanese artifacts, particularly ceramics, related to Kyūshū history.
Tenmangu Shrine – 4-7-1 Saifu; 011-81-92-922-8225; dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/en; Shinto shrine built over Sugawara no Michizane’s grave and among main shrines dedicated to Tenjin (Michizane’s deified form); spans over 3K acres and includes several structures; honden (main shrine) 1st built by Yasuyuki Umasake in 905 (2 years after Michizane’s death); Momoyama-style shrine visitors see today dates from 1591; grounds also contain bridge, 2 ponds, and treasure house; also known for its 6K ume (Asian plum) trees (167 varieties).

Bars & Nightclubs
Akatan – 1-13-12 Daimyo (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-738-3253; akatan.jp; narrow standing bar; flat-stone floor, long wood counter, and bamboo, cloth-covered, low benches; real goldfish swim around floor’s perimeter (“Akatan” is rarely used term for ”goldfish”); shochu is most popular drink.
Bar Klug – 2-25 Nishinakasu, 2nd Floor (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-725-7066; cavelike, elegant hideaway.
Akatan – 1-13-12 Daimyo (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-738-3253; akatan.jp; narrow standing bar; flat-stone floor, long wood counter, and bamboo, cloth-covered, low benches; real goldfish swim around floor’s perimeter (“Akatan” is rarely used term for ”goldfish”); for bar food, try batter-coated, boiled taco (octopus) chunks spun into ball shapes with thin crispy skin and flavorsome, soft body; dip them in traditional tare (sweet sauce) or sprinkle on rock salt; other Japanese pub favorites include grilled fish, roasted ginan nuts, and nostalgic dishes like mugi-choco.
Cafe de H – 1-8-5 Imaizumi (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-732-3167; cafedeh.exblog.jp; approach through greened courtyard, isolated from street hustle-bustle; Italian; lunch-dinner; gallery space.
Hakata Gyoza Yuushin – 2-7-7 Sumiyoshi (Hakata-ku); 011-81-92-282-3553; yuu-shin.jp; near Hakata station; succulent gyoza.
Shin Shin – 3-2-19 Tenjin (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-732-4006; hakata-shinshin.com; for Hakata ramen, for which city is famous.
Yakitori-Hachibei – 1-4-27 Kego (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-732-5379; hachibei.com/en; everything good; standouts include sukiyaki-kushi (enoki mushrooms and spinach wrapped in sliced beef on skewers), which can dip in raw egg, and sasami-umenoshio (chicken breast lightly grilled, splashed with sake, then topped with plum paste); must try edomame croquette (deep-fried, lightly breaded, mashed green bean ball).
Curve – 2-5-4 Imaizumi (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-732-7439; clothing.
Dice & Dice – 1-2-52 Daimyo (Chuo-ku, Imaizumi); 011-81-92-715-6650; diceshop.exblog.jp; men’s and women’s clothing boutique.
Florent – 1-21-5 Imaizumi (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-725-1450; florent.jp; men’s and women’s clothing.
Naif – 2-5-4 Imaizumi (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-714-0274; clothing.
Double OO 9 – 1-3-6 Flaps (Imaizumi); 011-81-92-725-4900; aloha9.com; minimalist clothing boutique, worth visiting for architectural design alone.
Sights & Sites
Fukuoka Art Museum – 1-6 Ohorikoen (Chuo-ku); 011-81-92-714-6051; fukuoka-art-museum.jp/english.
Fukuoka Asian Art Museum – Riverain Center Building, 3-1 Shimokawabata-machi, 7th & 8th Floors (Hakata-ku); 011-81-92-263-1100; faam.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/eng/home.html; unlike Fukuoka Art Museum, this museum only encompasses contemporary and modern Asian art.
Fukuoka (Maizuru) Castle – Jonai (Chuo-ku, in Maizuru Park); 011-81-92-781-2153; jcastle.info/castle/profile/78-Fukuoka-Castle; completed in early Edo period for tozama daimyo Kuroda Nagamasa; used from 1601 to 1871.
Kawachi Fujien Gardens – 2-2-46 Kawachi (Yawatahigashi-ku, Kitakyushu); 011-81-93-652-0334; en.japantravel.com/photos/wisteria-at-kawachi-fuji-garden; go in May to see Wisterial Tunnel, arcades dripping with various hued wisteria; must make special trip; not to be missed.
Ohori Park – Ohori Koen (Chuo-ku); ohorikouen.jp or yokanavi.com/eg/landmark/index/53; registered Place of Scenic Beauty; name means “trench” and derives from fact that former Fukuoka lord reclaimed land (called Kusagae, which faces Hakata Bay) and made trench for Fukuoka Castle; among Japan’s most beautiful water parks; fireworks festival held here in summer.

Din Tai Fung – 6-1 Tetori-cho (7F Tsuruya Department Store); 011-81-96-211-0667; dintaifungusa.com; excellent café chain that elevates street food into something elegant; try xiaolong bao (soup dumplings).

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