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November 21, 2015

Yusentei Japanese Garden

Today I'll share another Fukuoka highlight that we've been meaning to visit for awhile, and we're glad we finally made the trip. A pleasant bike ride away from home, we found ourselves this afternoon at Yusentei Japanese Gardens in Jonan-ku, Fukuoka City. Although the kōyō autumn leaves are not at their best this year because of the unseasonably warm autumn, Yusentei would be a great place to visit at any time of year. Peaceful, verdant gardens and the historic tearooms overlooking a pond full of genki koi... what more could you want?

November 18, 2015

Fukuoka Two-day Tour: The City and the Mountains

Visitors from afar always put a smile on my face. Tokyo-based Kat came to experience Fukuoka for the first time this week and, although she was only here for two full days, we made it worthwhile and covered lots of ground. Day one involved an all-day bike tour to see some of Fukuoka City's landmarks (Ohori Park, the Fukuoka Castle ruins, ACROS building, Nakasu river, Canal City), a lunchtime cat cafe visit, some Daimyo vintage shop browsing, and the obligatory Hakata ramen for dinner. Day two was off to the mountains for Kat's first hike and first onsen experience at Wakasugiyama, followed by a pitstop at the reclining Buddha at Nanzoin, and night-time view of Fukuoka Tower. We finished it all off with a final kaisen-don lunch and purikura session at Hakata Station. Phew! Here are some snaps from along the way...

November 17, 2015

Hakushu-sai in Yanagawa

Hello! Things have been so busy around here lately that I never got a chance to post about the wonderful event we attended earlier this month. I was very grateful to be invited by Fukuoka Now to participate in and do a report on the Hakushu-sai festival in Yanagawa (one of my favourite towns).

Here I'd like to share some photos that didn't make the cut, but for the full experience please head on over to read the report on Fukuoka Now !

November 3, 2015

Saga International Balloon Fiesta 2015

Words by Kamil, photos by me. The prospect of a 5:30am wake up and early morning drive to Saga was not particularly appealing after a late night. It was certainly worth the effort, though, as we crossed the Sefuri range just after sunrise and were greeted by a flotilla of colourful orbs soundlessly floating into the distance. The orange glow of the morning sun gave the whole scene a mystical hue, painting the rice fields and riverbanks in a golden light.

October 20, 2015

Cosmos at Closing Time: Uminonakamichi

Walking through endless fields of waist-deep purple, pink and white flowers as the autumn sun sets. It's a Tuesday afternoon and we arrive an hour and a half before closing time, so the usually busy tourist spot is virtually deserted.

October 19, 2015

Early Autumn Camping: Sefuri & Yoshino

Wanting to take advantage of the still rather warm early Autumn weather, Kam and I decided to take a little overnight camping trip last night. The plan was to drive up to the top of Mount Sefuri, on the border of Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures, and set up our tent in the campground near the mountain peak. To our disappointment we arrived to find a sign at the campground warning of multiple sightings of a bear in the area the day before. There were two TV crews reporting from the carpark, a police car on patrol and a helicopter in the sky. No other tents were set up in the campground.

October 11, 2015

Antiquing in Hakata Bayside Market

I've always wanted to visit the antique market that happens a few times a year at Bayside Place Hakata, but one way or another something has always come up to stop me going. Not today! Kam and I rode bikes to the port to finally check out "Antiquing in Hakata Bayside" market. Similar to the regular Gokoku Shrine markets, I found the stalls to be very polished and well curated. There's no room for "junk" - it's all very stylish (as are the visitors to the market!) and there are loads of European imported items. Not in the market to buy anything, I enjoyed browsing the stalls at a slow and easy pace taking in all the details. Here are some photos I snapped along the way.

October 4, 2015

Wakasugiyama: A Sunday Hike

It's been a little while since we've gone hiking, and yesterday's perfect weather inspired us to get out amongst nature. Wakasugiyama (若杉山) is a beautiful mountain found in the Sasaguri area of Fukuoka. A forest full of towering cedar trees, soft mossy pathways, trickling streams, multiple mountaintop shrines and panoramic views - this hike really has all the best elements of a Japanese yamanobori experience. 

September 30, 2015

Five Days in Tokyo

Before moving to Japan to live I couldn't have imagined a place I wanted to be in more than Tokyo. Each of our first two trips to Japan, I fell head over heels in love with the big city and its electric buzz. Being lost in a sea of people at Shinjuku Station, cramming onto a packed train car of the Yamanote-sen, catching a glimpse of the impossibly fashionable residents in the coolest neighbourhoods of Koenji, Shimokitazawa and Harajuku - I wanted to be amongst it. 

September 7, 2015

Yamaguchi '15: Skateboards, Soba and Caves

A weekend at this incredible old house in the mountains never fails to leave me refreshed. To me, Yamaguchi is a place of peace, nature, friends and some of the best memories I have of life in Japan.