Himeshima – Princess Island
Mention Itoshima and people unfamiliar with the area might assume you’re referring to an island called “Ito.” While that’s not the case, there are some islands within Itoshima and Himeshima (Princess Island) is the biggest. Currently just 175 people live there and most earn a living from fishing. The island measures 3.8 kilometers in circumference and there’s a paved path around about two-thirds of it. You can continue to walk along the rocky shoreline but be careful of the tide! What’s there to do and see? If you’re an angler, then fish! There is at least one minshuku (inn) offering overnight accommodation, but otherwise Himeshima is just a nice place to putter around and enjoy the view of Itoshima from afar. Another attraction is the cabin in which the poet Botoni Nomura was exiled to in the late Edo period. She was exiled there for her political activity, but was rescued within a year by supporters. The other attraction on the island is the cats! The island is filled with friendly furry felines, and it’s just a matter of time until cat-loving tourists discover them. Photographing the cats is fine, but please do not feed them! Himeshima is just a 16-minute ride on a comfortable boat from Kishi Port. Stand outside on the boat’s stern and catch some sea spray and magnificent views!
• Boat service between Kishi Port and Himeshima Port. Four voyages/day.
• Adult: ¥470 Child: ¥240.
• Kishi Port is 20 min. away from JR Chikuzen-Maebaru Station by Showa Bus
Akka Punto Effe – Agriturismo
After renting a plot of land for years to grow vegetables for their Italian restaurant in Fukuoka, Chef Hiroshi Fujita and his wife Hiroko moved their kitchen and home to Itoshima. They had become hooked and wanted the full countryside experience, and now they offer that to their guests. Open for lunch and dinner, fabulous Italian dishes made with vegetables fresh from their fields are offered a la carte or as full course meals. Their hens provide the eggs, milk is from their goat, fish from the nearby fishermen, and gibier from the local hunter. On the second floor there are two tastefully appointed and spacious rooms with ensuite baths and views of the valley and distant seaside. Guests interested in getting a closer look or connection to their food are welcome to pick fruit or help with vegetable planting. The Fujitas love to give tours of their grounds and introduce their animals. There might not be a better way to experiences the charms and flavors of Itoshima.
• Lunch: 11:45~14:00, Pasta Lunch ¥2,000, Course meal by reservation ¥3,000, ¥5,000 & ¥8,000, Cafe: 14:00~16:00, Dinner: 17:30~22:00 (by reservation only)
• Room (dinner and breakfast): ¥12,000~/night/person
• 389-1 Nijo-yoshii, Itoshima (5 min. drive from Fukuyoshi Sta.)
• Tel.: 092-326-6301
Small Valley Dessert Company
Located high up a narrow valley along a seldom traveled road in Nijo-mitsuyoshi, Nobuko Itabashi has been baking homemade pies and cakes for sixteen years. Using recipes adopted and modified from time spent in America and Australia, she does every step by hand and using only trusted seasonal ingredients. It’s like grandma’s baking, assuming your grandmother was an extremely talented baker! Not at all interested in expanding business, her goods are not available in shops or online. Instead she ships them frozen to individuals by courier or they can be picked up in the morning by reservation. Her repertoire includes over a dozen pies and tarts from a classic Apple Pie (pictured here) to Caramel Nuts Tart, Espresso Chocolate Tart, French Pear Tart and more. Can’t decide? Relax, she offers a mixed box with eight or twelve kinds of pie included. Then, there are her cakes!
• Tel.: 092-325-2910
• Orders in advance by phone in mornings Mon. ~ Sat. only.
• Apple Pie, 22 cm. Seasonal. ¥3,000 (shipping extra)
First-ever Public Piano Inside a Train Station
On November 24 a public piano was placed just inside of the ticket gate of JR Chikuzen-Maebaru Station. Everyone is welcome to play it at any time while the station is open. The project was brought to Itoshima City by Itoshima Machikado Concert, a volunteer group which was inspired by a similar public piano installation found inside Amsterdam Central Station. With this Chikuzen-maebaru Station has become the first JR Station in Fukuoka where people can enjoy playing and listening to the sound of a public piano.
To learn more about Itoshima now, click here!
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn240, Dec. 2018)