Kyushu, Day 1: Hakata Old Town

MARCH 4, 2020

After lunch, we headed to an area called HAKATA OLD TOWN and our first stop was TOCHO-JI. This temple was established in 806 by Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhist sect.

Inside the complex was the main hall, 5-story pagoda, garden, and cemetery of the Kuroda clan (lords of Fukuoka domain).

Before leaving, we checked out Fukuoka Daibutsu (Great Buddha of Fukuoka), the largest seated wooden statue of Buddha in Japan. Taking pictures was not allowed but it was amazing to see the 11-meter statue. A monk who saw us was kind enough to tell us that we can visit the area at the back of the statue but be cautious because there was a part there that is dark. She was not kidding because we could not see anything in the middle of our walk and had to rely on the railing as our guide out.

Our last stop was KUSHIDA SHRINE, constructed in 757. The god enshrined here is the main deity of Hakata residents and nationally renowned festivals are held here.

At the back area, we saw the Kazari Yamakasa used from the last festival. Dolls and ornaments in this float were designed by traditional Hakata puppet makers, making these look like characters from history and myths.

Before leaving, my sister and I tried our luck with omikuji. The first time I got an omikuji was in 2016, my first ever visit in Japan, and I got the best luck (Meiji Shrine). I was hesitant to get omikuji after that because I might get bad luck. Haha! So I decided to break it this year and whew, I got an omikuji with the best luck again.

For dinner, we went to CANAL CITY to visit Ramen Stadium. We wanted to get Kurume ramen but we could not find the store – apparently changed the name and it was just right beside the ramen place we chose. We went to Shinfukusaikan where we ate Kyoto-style ramen. It was good but towards the latter part of eating, I got a bit of cloyed with the broth.

Before going back to our hotel, I spotted Taito Station and asked my sister if we can look around. We were supposed to just look at the claw machines but we saw purikura machines and decided to try it.

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