Once a bustling main street, Kego-hondori is now a backstreet running parallel to Keyaki-dori from the Kego four-way intersection, curving and connecting with Sakurazaka. It’s home to an eclectic mix of stores and eateries including for example Trene which serves many French dishes, whilst Wappa Teishokudo serves classic Japanese set menus at affordable prices. Elsewhere, more than a few gourmands are known to visit Chinese restaurant Ji Xing, and Sugoroku Motor Bar is a popular place for creative types to convene until the wee hours. If you’re after a delicious cup of coffee in a quiet indy-style setting, look no further than Motoy Coffee, which opens from 05:00 until 03:00, ideal for those who can’t wait for Starbucks to open. It’s just one of the many gems you can discover in this area.
Another attraction of Kego-hondori is its array of small boutiques and sundry shops. Untidy sells antique items and originally designed bags, and Flower Shop Blue Lady displays its colorful bouquets out in front of the store. Not too far from these stylish establishments, rice and fish sellers of all ages still attract a loyal customer base. One of the street’s landmarks is Sunny Kego, a supermarket which has been loyally patronised by locals since Kego-hondori’s golden years.
Beyond this myriad of eateries and shops, you will also find the stunning exterior of Fukuoka Kego Church. Built in 1929, its ancient walls are now covered with dark green ivy. In past years, the building’s unique appearance has earned it the Fukuoka Urban Beautification Award. If you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track, then wander down for a look.
These small but delicious crêpes are ¥100 each and are wrapped into handy little squares. 12 different flavours are available including banana, pineapple, maccha and numerous seasonal varieties. Enjoy!
trene DELI & BAL
The most popular lunch item here is ringo buta (apple-fed pork). The juicy meat goes well with the accompanying tomato and onion sauce. 40 dishes are served for dinner. They also offer a wine buffet (¥1,500 / 120min)
Hyder uses 16 health enhancing spices in his yakuzen (traditionally medicinal) curries from his native Bangladesh. Stoles, leathers and other fair-trade Bangladeshi items are also for sale in this cozy spot. Recommended!
MORE KEGO HONDORI
Gyoza-ya Ni no Ni
This lively gyoza restaurant adds some color to Kego-hondori’s nightlife. You’ll find both the indoor and outdoor areas of Gyoza-ya Ni no Ni buzzing with customers chatting over fresh beers and delicious dumplings. The menu includes grilled gyoza ¥250, steamed gyoza ¥300, mabodofu (hot tofu with minced meat) ¥480 and other Chinese and Asian dishes- all of which are served at reasonable prices.
Address: 2-11-15 Kego, Chuo-ku
Hipsy is a bar famous amongst both local and international musicians. It serves authentic Okinawan foods and boasts an impressive range of liquors from Okinawa and the world- including awamori spirits. Behind its red door, friendly staff will greet you and allow you to settle into the cozy surrounds, including bar seating and several tables. You’re certain to notice the owner’s love of music, manifested in the bar’s walls which are covered with posters of musicians, and in his extensive CD collection kept behind the counter. Why not join the conversaton tonight? Opens from 18:00.
The location of this issue’s cover shoot, Motoy Coffee is a hidden gem.. Climb a winding staircase to the third floor of this narrow building, where the trendy cafe operates from 11am until three in the morning. In the daytime, sunshine enters through the big window facing Kego-hondori, drenching the interior in natural light Here, you’ll find some unique flavors of coffee, such as lemon or salt, in addition to the regular line up. The classic Japanese “kissa-ten” menu – featuring toast, pizza, curry and more – is also worth a taste. If you fancy staying late for a drink, you can pop upstairs to “Motoy the Bar”, which opens at 19:00 just above on the fourth floor.
Address: 3-12-16 Akasaka, Chuo-ku
Pasta e Pizza Christie’s
Thin but not crispy? Chewy but not heavy? Welcome to Christie’s, where veteran pizza maker Youichi Nishizaki tends to a wood-burning oven, preparing authentic Napoli-style pizza. And the pizza’s not all that’s great- don’t forget to try the delicious antipasti, which you can select from the showcase yourself, or some freshly made pasta. Wooden tables, pink colored walls and an open kitchen give Christie’s a casual feel perfect for either a date or a meal with the family – but remember to call ahead, there are only five tables! Wines, grappa, espresso and deserts are available too.
Address: 1F Sakaguchi Bldg., 2-16-11 Kego, Chuo-ku
Within the ever broadening field of ‘Shokudo’, or restaurants specializing in Japanese set meals, Wappo Teishhokudo on Kego-hondori stands out in many ways. A sister shop to the high-end Tanakada in Hirao, Wappa’s interior is more stylish than other similarly priced diners, making it the perfect space for women dining alone to sit comfortably at the counter. Around twenty varieties of teishoku (set meals) are offered from lunchtime until closing, and special attention is paid to the quality of ingredients and preparation. If you feel that food is more than just fuel, and want to fill up on a well-balanced meal, Wappa is well worth checking out. Take-out bentos are available too!
Address: 2-10-12 Kego, Chuo-ku
Strolling along the middle section of Kego-hondori, you may notice the tempting aroma of coffee beans in the air. This unmistakable scent can be traced back to coffee specialist Baisenya- a shop which brightens up Kego-hondori with its eyecatching blue roof. Baisenya’s owners hand-pick raw coffee beans from the limited product district and roast them carefully. Among their selection of fresh beans, the Keyaki Blend (¥520/g) is a must-try. The owner passionately created this blend with the intention to promote Keyaki-dori, the neighboring street to Kego-hondori. He says it is the first “gotochi” (local) coffee of the area. If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to watch him in the process of picking up beans.
Address: 2-10-11 Kego, Chuo-ku
Maggazzino is Kego-hondori’s one stop shop for international foods. The store’s owner wishes for his customers to save time hunting through department stores all over town for imported foods. As such, he stocks a wide range of popular foods and well-known brands from all over the world. You’ll find everything from pasta, jams, sauces and spices to imported candy and ice cream. A back fridge holds a small but interesting selection of international beers and soft drinks in colorfully illustrated bottles.
Address: 2-11-19 Kego, Chuo-ku
Albus Photo Studio (Albus Shashin Labo)
This charming photo studio can be found in the same building as Trene Deli & Bal. The second floor gallery space is often home to various events- photo exhibitions, photo classes, workshops and talks. Downstairs, budding photographers can purchase films, cameras and various photography accessories from the first floor shop section, and film-development services are also on offer.
Address: 2-9-14 Kego, Chuo-ku
View Fukuoka Now Around Town “Kego Hondori” in a larger map
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn155, Nov. 2011)