On March 18, 2013 KLM Royal Dutch Airline, the Kyushu District Transport Bureau, Kyushu Tourism Promotion Agency and Fukuoka City announced the completion and immediate availability of a new 11-minute video promoting Fukuoka and Kyushu as a tourist destination to European markets. KLM Royal Dutch Airline will launch a new non-stop route between Fukuoka and Amsterdam on April 3. The video will be shown as part of the airlines in-flight entertainment on long flights and will also be featured in the airline’s mail magazine “iFly Magazine” with roughly 4 million subscribers (including 1,300,000 in Holland, 880,000 in UK, and 250,000 in Germany). Nick Szasz, Publisher of Fukuoka Now magazine and website, is the navigator for video which covers Fukuoka City, Yanagawa, Kurokawa and Nagasaki. The video can be seen here: http://ifly.to/Fukuoka_KLM , or in the embedded player below. Scroll down for notes and links to places appearing in this video.
NOTES AND LINKS
For your convenience we’ve collected some notes and links to most of the places appearing in this video.
2-4 Gokusho-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka / Open every day, 09:00 – 17:00
Surrounded by office buildings and located behind a high wall on Taihaku-dori, Tocho-ji seems imposing, but in fact anyone can enter, and it is a popular site for springtime cherry blossom viewing. This temple of the Mikkyo sect was built in 806 by Kobo Daiji. The sect venerates Dainichi Nyorai, one of the forms of the Buddha, and its teachings are said to reveal profound, absolute principles. The Rokkaku-do, a hexagonal-shaped hall, was built in 1842. The roof is hexagonal, but the front of the structure has been widened to facilitate worship, and the foundation is asymmetrical. It’s only open to the public on the 28th of the month, when you’ll get the chance to see the Fukuoka Daibutsu, Japan’s largest wooden statue of the seated Buddha. Built in 1992, it is 10.8 meters high and weighs 30 tons. It was built to that height to use the figure 108, the number of worldly desires according to Buddhism. There is also a tunnel built into the base of the statue, and it is said that passing through it and reaching the other side is like going through Hell to reach Paradise.
Kayuno Nomura, owner of Keurig, was always fond of cats and often fed strays near her home. Inspired by a visit to a “neko cafe” in Tokyo, Kayuno Nomura opened the Keurig in the trendy Daimyo district in March of 2008. The location is very convenient for the young ladies and couples that make up the majority of her clientele. Keurig puts a unique twist on the traditional cafe concept whilst offering high-quality and delicious fare. Whether or not you’re intending to adopt one of the rescued strays, or even if you’re a “cat person”, drop by and check it out – a visit is an experience in itself!
Originating in Tokyo, Mandarake is the leading store in otaku culture and now has branches all over Japan. You’ll find the Fukuoka branch in northern part of Tenjin, where it attracts many visitors from early in the morning. The shop is filled with as many as a million items ranging from comic books, animation DVDs and CDs, movie scripts, figures and play models, cosplay items, game software to doujinshi (manga/animation fanzines). It’s a great place for tourists to pick up Japanese animation goods as souvenirs, and there are some English speaking staff too.
Nakasu, Fukuoka’s bar district, is home to many of Fukuoka’s finest restaurants and bars, but unfortunately, few foreigners will ever find them. Here’s a gem that, despite its address, is worth crossing town for. Squeeze down a long, narrow corridor and prepare to leave Nakasu behind as you enter a hidden, restored Japanese inn complete with a center garden. The tatami has been replaced with wooden flooring, and the American diner style tables and chairs are decidedly more Nevada than Kyoto. But it’s exactly this calculated in-balance that work so well. The menu features creative fusion dishes like the Layered Tomato Slices and Soft Boiled White Chicken Citrus, Duck with Maple Sauce, and Marinated Scallops with Yuzu. Prices are reasonable, and there are no extra service charges; very uncommon in Nakasu. Upstairs, a spacious, low-lit room with sofa seating is perfect for just drinks, or to retire to after a meal downstairs. Japanese will find Nakasu Dining nostalgic, foreigners exotic, all of us will agree it’s a very cool spot.
• Bar Eternity
1F Rock Hollywood Bldg., 3-7-7 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka / 092-262-8015
A refurbished strip club, Eternity’s layout is part-Rock & Roll, part-Hollywood, resulting in a pleasantly quirky showbiz feel. The large stage is put to good use in frequent theme nights, including Jazz performance and film nights. This casual, foreigner-friendly bar is full of surprises, with a superbly stocked bar and a flair for Japanese-style cocktails, and strong contacts with talented local musicians.
Yatai stalls are an indispensable part of the Fukuoka night scene. They appear throughout the town as dusk nears, and their operators begin preparing the oden, ramen, and other foods for the popular palate at affordable prices. About 150 stalls now operate in Fukuoka, the largest number of any city in Japan. The scene of their noren fluttering in the night breeze, down neon-lit streets of office buildings, has become an image typifying the city.
The Ohana estate and garden is an important cultural institution that beautifully evokes the refined lifestyle of the samurai class of Japan’s Edo period (1603 – 1867), and that of the feudal lords that once governed Yanagawa. Ohana was formerly the home of Yanagawa’s ruling Tachibana family. The estate still houses a splendid collection of antiques that have been passed down through successive generations of the Tachibana family, over a period of 400 years. In addition to a public museum, there is delightful accommodation, large and small banquet rooms and a restaurant popular for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
• Yanagawa Boat Tour
329, Takahatake, Mihashi-machi, Yanagawa
Yanagawa boat tours have operated since 1961, and are a relaxing way to see the nostalgic town of Yanagawa. Hop aboard a “donko-bune” boat to take a slow trip through the canals that wind through the town, while your guide sings traditional enka songs. In winter, the boats are transformed into “kotatsu-fune” with warmed blankets to keep you cosy.
Dejima was a small fan-shaped artificial island built in the bay of Nagasaki in 1634 by local merchants. This island, which was formed by digging a canal through a small peninsula, remained as the single place of direct trade and exchange between Japan and the outside world during the Edo period. Dejima was built to constrain foreign traders as part of sakoku, the self-imposed isolationist policy. Originally built to house Portuguese traders, it was used by the Dutch as a trading post from 1641 until 1853. Covering an area of 120 m x 75 m (9000 square meters, or 0.9 hectares), it later was integrated into the city. In 1922, “Dejima Dutch Trading Post” has been designated a Japanese national historic site, and is now home to a museum.
Higashioku Kurokawa Onsen, Minami Oguni-cho, Aso-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture
Hozantei is a picturesque hot spa inn with private rooms, located upriver from the Kurokawa Spa Area. Guest rooms with outdoor baths are designed like a detached room to offer you a private and relaxing atmosphere. All the baths in Hozantei use kakenagashi (fresh water, not recycled) natural hot spring water. Enjoy the soft hot spring water while admiring the fine view of the serene mountains.