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ACROS Fukuoka is a world-class example of green architecture. From behind the building, the park appears to extend up 14 stories to rooftop level. Visitors can take one of two stairways through the thickly forested Step Garden, which is home to 50,000 plants and trees spanning 120 varieties. Weather permitting, fine views of the city can be enjoyed from the rooftop observation deck. To climb and descend the 809 steps takes about 30 minutes. Along the way there are benches in case a rest is needed. If you’re not up for the trek, you can also just admire the view from the park.
Address: 1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
Open: Step Garden: 9:00~18:30 (May ~ Aug.), Rooftop observation deck: 10:00~16:00 (Sat., Sun. & Hol. only)
Closed: In event of rain, 12/31 ~ 1/2
Tel.: 092-751-8591 (A.F. Building Management)
Original Pancake House
Founded in Portland, Oregon in 1953, the Original Pancake House’s latest franchise has opened in Fukuoka. The company, which set itself apart by offering German-style oven-baked pancakes, has since grown to encompass 129 stores in the U.S. and several overseas. The signature Dutch baby is an oven-baked pancake served with whipped butter, lemon and powdered sugar (your server adds these toppings at the table). You can also enjoy American favorites like the apple and cinnamon-packed apple pancake and Three Little Pigs in Blankets—three sausages individually wrapped in fluffy pancakes.
Original Pancake House
Address: 2F Hakata Marui, 9-1 Hakataeki-chuogai, Hakata-ku
Open: 10:00~21:00 (L.O.: 20:15)
Menu: Dutch baby ¥1,340, apple pancake ¥1,680, Three Little Pigs in Blankets ¥1,050, macadamia nut pancakes ¥1,680, buttermilk pancakes ¥800, drip coffee ¥470, fresh strawberry soda ¥480, Heineken ¥600
Ariyoshi Shoten: The Origin of Hakata Tantanmen
Located on a backstreet off Watanabe-dori, Ariyoshi Shoten is popular for Hakata Tantanmen – an original twist on the spicy noodle dish from China. Instead of a clear chicken-based soup, the shop uses tonkotsu (pork bone) broth (which is cooked for ten hours), and the noodles are flavored with a homemade ground sesame sauce, instead of the standard Chinese sesame paste. The soup also includes a dash of vinegar to add to the flavor and stimulate the palate. If you want to try a different noodle dish, there are seven available, including the Healthy Tantanmen with soup made from Itoshima-raised chicken and topped with mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) and lettuce. Every ingredient has been carefully selected by the eponymous owner. The a la carte menu expands in the evening, and includes three flavors of karaage (fried chicken) and boiled shrimp dumplings. So, feel free to stop by for a drink and a snack, but we suggest you round out the evening Fukuoka style with a bowl of noodles!
Address: 1-8-18 Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku
Hours: 11:30~3:00 (Sun.: until soup runs out)
Closed: 1st Sun. of every month
Menu: Hakata Tantanmen ¥740 (¥800 after 24:00), Healthy Tantanmen ¥740, spicy green onion tantanmen ¥820, ramen ¥580 (¥680 after 24:00), spicy Asian chives ramen ¥630, chashumen ¥680, Showa-style soy sauce soba ¥660, karaage (x3) ¥380~, boiled dumplings (x3) ¥360, four-snack plate ¥580, pork & ponzu ¥500, kibinago nanban (banded blue-sprat fish in vinegar marinade) ¥420, beer (small bottle) ¥430, beer (medium bottle) ¥550
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn210, Jun. 2016)