My day actually started in Hakata, because I needed to purchase a shinkansen ticket for a Granrodeo show next month. Turns out you can use the automated machine for every line except the one I needed, of course. Managed beautifully with the ticket agent until he read me the price, at which point my brain blanked. But anyhow, ticket obtained in about two minutes, leaving me free to wander. Which I did.
The east side of Hakata station didn’t seem very promising — mostly hotels and closed restaurants, and a truly ginormous Yodobashi Camera store — so I went back around to the west side under an overpass. And found the most delightful mural, on both sides of the street, that I have to go back and photograph. It depicts Western and Japanese (and perhaps some Chinese) folk tales all running into one another. So here’s Little Red Riding Hood, with her basket of goodies and some chirping song birds … right next to a very large red oni (demon) about to bludgeon someone with a club. Quite marvelous!
Discovered quickly that the area immediately around Hakata station is mainly businesses, so it was pretty empty, given the national holiday. Did find a Book Off, for future reference. Studied an area map and decided to visit a cluster of temples off to the west. And when it turned out Tenjin was only 1.8 km (the temples being mostly on the way), decided I’d just walk back there for lunch afterward.
Wandered around a bit, and eventually found one temple that looked far too business like for people to just wander in, then discovered Tochoji Temple right by the Gion subway station. I’d left my camera at the apartment, so all of today’s pics were on the phone. For a change, it handled things fairly well. Spent some time on the ground battling gnats and taking pics before heading back towards Tenjin, where I found two other temples, completely missed a sizable shrine complex and found the red-light–er, entertainment–district (it is both, really — apparently Nakasu is a) the largest red-light district west of Osaka and b) home to all the food stalls Fukuoka is known for, and numerous restaurants)
Once I crossed out of Nishi-Nakatsu, I realized that I was pretty much in Tenjin. Just walked up the street and across to the Daimaru, where I had the “spring dessert plate” and a lovely pot of Damask Rose tea at the Lupicia tea shop. At that point, I needed to go grocery shopping, so headed right back to Minato, ran into two co-workers, including my office dad and an editor visiting from China for a few weeks. She’d like to hit some of the museums here, so hopefully this weekend or next we’ll fit some in.
Did the grocery shopping, where I cringed at the price of fruit (and the broccoli I bought), came home, put stuff up, cleaned the floor and took care of some more travel stuff while waiting for Kuro Neko to deliver my fan from Amazon. I’d hoped they’d bundle the fan with the package they tried to deliver yesterday (redelivery is a cinch — there’s even an online form in English), which they did. Got the fan put together and tried it out. No more drowning in silence — or in early morning traffic noises. Yay!
And now tis time for dinner. Back to work tomorrow for three days, then a four day weekend for exploring.
All my pictures since I’ve arrived in Fukuoka can be found here. Will work on the Tokyo vacation pictures next.