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Trip Report rkkwan's Honeymoon to Kyushu

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I'll skip my usual sections of whys, hows and whats, and just jump straight into the trip report this time. Will try to keep it brief, at least compared to my usual long-winded reports.

Dec 27, 2012

Bonny and I took the only non-stop between Hong Kong and Kyushu on Dragonair to Fukuoka. Nothing too impressive or memorable on the A320 in coach. Riding the jetstream, it only took 2.5 hours to get to FUK. FUK has its domestic and international terminals on opposite side of its single-runway, and it took a long shuttle bus ride to get to the domestic terminal for the subway into town.

FUK is in the middle of the city, and it's only 2 stops (and 5 minutes) on the Airport Line subway to Hakata. Train runs every 7 minutes. But it's not cheap, as 250yen. Ticket machines take all bills, including 10,000yen ones. Nice.

It's a short walk from the Exit West-21 to the Crowne Plaza ANA. We used 25,000 Priority Club points for a standard room, but was offered to upgrade to a club room (36 sq meter vs 22) for 6,000 yen. Room was pretty nice.

We walked back to the Hakata Station for 2 things. First, we went to Yodobashi, the big camera/electronics store, looking for the b-mobile 1GB data SIM. My first time to Yodobashi, and found it neater and more spacious than the Bic Camera locations I had visited in Ikebukuro (or the one we would visit later in Kagoshima); but unfortunately, they only had the regular SIM as the micro one was out-of-stock. Not a must-have for our trip, we decided to skip it.

Second thing was to locate JR's rental car counter at Hakata where we would pick up our car next morning. Couldn't be easier, as it was just the main JR information center dead in the middle of the station.

For dinner, we took Fukuoka's popular 100yen bus to Nakasu, the island between Hakata and Tenjin, to look for the famous yatais or mobile food stalls. We ate at one along the river called "Hyotan" ひょうたん that serves yakitori barbecue. With one glass of sake, we spent 3,200yen there. But we weren't quite full yet, and crossed the bridge to Canal City for ramen at the Ramen Stadium.

We ordered one traditional bowl from "Shodai Hideohan" 初代 秀ちゃん which is local. Then we ordered a spicy one from "Karadaruma" 辛だるま, not knowing it's from the same owner. Should have tried a different one, as we're not that impressed by the spicy one. About 750yen for a typical bowl with a half--boiled egg.

We were a bit surprised at how quiet the city was, even along the river where the yatais are. Canal City was very empty. Also, I was a bit surprised at how few ramen places there are in Hakata, as it's supposedly very famous for it. I was expecting something like Ikebukuro in Tokyo where there are literally dozens of ramen places between the train station and Sunshine City. Not the case.

Satisfied that we had tried both of Fukuoka's most famous cuisine within a few hours of arrival, we walked back to the Crowne Plaza ANA rather than taking the 100yen bus.

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