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Published: October 31st 2015
Sunday, 18th October 2015
I arrived at Fukuoka International Airport on the morning of 18th October 2015. The subway service to the city was located at the Domestic Terminal where this was reachable by the free shuttle bus services that were easy to locate. Arriving in Japan with a lack of sleep, I had some difficulties getting my bearings properly as I exited from the gigantic JR Hakata Station which was two stops away from the airport.
I had booked a room at Hotel Nikko Fukuoka and was quietly hoping to see if there was a chance for an early check-in. Without even bothering to check through the system, the lady at the reception maintained that check-in was after 2pm - no leeway. For a five star establishment, I was rather unimpressed given that they did not even bother to engage a customer in a positive manner. With a few hours left to burn until 2pm, I took to the streets and tried my best to understand the city as quickly as I could.
I soon realised that many of the city's chief sights were not easily reachable by subway - oftened required a change of buses. This
did not pose a major challenge after my public "bussing" experience in Okinawa and I could make out the kanji characters pretty well.
I made a brief stop at the top level of JR Hakata Station where there was a shrine, a tiny shopping street and free views of Fukuoka. Since the station was shrouded among the tall buildings in the city, the views were not fantastic even though the blue skies did enhance the overall experience.
With my subway one day pass on hand, I took the train to Tenjin where the ACROS Fukuoka Building was located. I stopped by at one heritage building along the river before lunching at a local eatery next to a shrine. This was my first proper lunch in Japan and I was really impressed by their good service despite the language barriers.
After lunch, I walked for a while around the malls of Tenjin as well as the underground city before heading back to the hotel for check-in. In the evening, feeling well-rested, I headed out again and finally settling on my first ramen meal at Ichiran in Nakasu District. While the ramen was nice, I found the noodles quantity
to be rather little. They were generous with the soup serving though - half expecting you to order a top-up of their ramen noodles.
The JR Hakata Station Building was brightly litted up in the evening and it was a sight to behold. This is a huge complex that offered plenty of chances to lose your bearings along with two departmental stores, many restaurants and choke full of people at any time of the day.
Welcome to Fukuoka and good night!
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