Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kyushu Day Two

Day two was a trip out to Dazaifu to see the ancient capital and a bit of traditional Japan. While I think anyone who has been to Kyoto my find it a bit underwhelming I was amazed by it. The train out was simple enough once we asked a few people, as there was no signage in English anywhere for transportation (another common theme in Japan). We popped out of the station and were met almost right away by a long, brick road lined with traditional shops (not always selling traditional stuff).

Main Street Dazaifu

intersections in most cities have traffic lights

The walk itself is scenic and at the end of it there is an old Japanese garden and pond and a huge Shinto shrine. The shine, called Tenman-gu was huge.


We looked around for a while, saw a few tour groups and then opted to head to the Kyushu National Museum, one of only three national museums in Japan. Once inside though it as a bit underwhelming, with a few interesting artifacts but in total it was only one floor. By this time it was getting to be one and we needed a coffee so we ducked in to a Starbucks and then a very traditional noodle house serving really good food. n hour there and we were ready for a two km walk to the temples and government ruins on the other end of town. It was actually a nice walk and were it not 34 degrees in a subtropical climate it would have been a real treat. The other ruins didn't really live up to the first half of Dazaifu but the mountain views were spectacular. Actually throughout Kyushu the mountain views were spectacular, as Kyushu straddles that fine line between the tropical and temperate zone, so you can get huge trees out of the amazon growing next to trees you'd expect to see in a boreal forest in Korea.

this shot does not do it justice

After the walk we hopped on the train back to Hakata and made our way out to Tenjin, the downtown core of Fukuoka, to meet a woman I met through named Jun ko Nagashima. She was amazing, taking us to a great noodle house and then the fireworks festival at Ohori Park. Watching fireworks while sitting on castle ruins surrounded by Japanese in traditional clothing (they actually wear kimono's a lot) was an amazing experience. We had hoped to meet again on Saturday but my Korean phone does not work in Japan and Fukuoka wifi is almost non-existent with the result that we couldn't co-ordinate a time . I hope we can meet up again in Japan or Korea though.

After that we walked around Tenjin, seeing the sights and gawking at some of the stranger sides of Japanese fashion, but by then we were tired and the subway was right there so we opted for hostel and bed.

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