Wednesday, August 11, 2021

My Experience in Fukuoka and Nagasaki, Japan Part 2

Never in my life would I expect to see a food truck selling Peruvian food in Japan!

One thing I forgot to mention on my second day in Fukuoka was at nighttime, after exploring Ohori Park, I see a mini food park set up there, with all kinds of food and handcrafts around it! I see a Filipino booth there, but what made me interested the most was this food booth handled by a Peruvian family! I saw grilled chicken or Pollo a la brasa but since I was meeting my friend up that night for dinner, I decided to have the Salchipapas or the grilled cut up sausage on top with fries and spicy sauce. I noticed that the staff were native Peruvians so I jump in and start conversing with them in Spanish, which completely shocks them! I begin to see that the chef Geraldine cooking at the car area and her family recently moved to Fukuoka and that they were adjusting to life in Fukuoka. I told them how much I loved Peruvian culture due to my boss back when I was living in US. Little did I know that one year later, I would be making it to Peru myself as well! It was short but sweet for me because I know I attract Latinos and especially Brazilians due to me being in love with their food and culture. That night, I met my Pinay friend Lyn, and start spending time with the community she has in Fukuoka. I am amazed at how long Pinays have been living in Fukuoka with people being there as long as 20 years! This city has really made a Filipino community for itself!

Sushi is always a great option wherever I go in Japan!

So my next day in Fukuoka begins with talking to one of my roommates for the first time ever! Low and behold, I meet someone from UK, and his name is Manish! Immediately got along after I mentioned I'm from Philippines! We had lunch together at a sushi place, and got to know each other pretty quick! I love how I quick it was for me to make friends simply because I just travel on my own, and have no one else to talk to! For me, that kind of confidence came through experience! I have attempted traveling on my own many times, especially to places where English isn't the main language, and through those experiences, you learn to talk to people and develop meaningful relationships with them. It's okay if you want to travel only to places where English is the main language, but for me, I loved being able to tackle a difficult language such as Japanese, and be able to have conversations with locals, as well as be able to help out people who may struggle or find it difficult to deal with language or cultural barriers. It's a big confidence and self esteem booster from being able to make friends with people you just met, to being able to dine in, converse with locals, and use public transport on your own. I never want to stop exploring this great big world around us!

Very grateful to have met Manish who is so eager to take many photos like me!

Manish is such an interesting guy: British guy with an Indian background with love for many cuisines, culture, music, and what not! He is probably one of the most memorable people I have met throughout my travels since even until now, we still talk via Instagram. I love how he is willing to try all kinds of unique dishes, as well as how informed he is about Philippines as well, even though he has never been! I love how he has tried Jollibee or the local food chain here in Philippines but also located in Hong Kong or Vietnam, and how he appreciates the many types of local Japanese food from takoyaki to even natto or fermented soybeans! I guess the only limits he would have are anything that has beef in it, but other than that, he's willing to try many kinds of dishes! I love sushi, and Manish does too, and of course, Otoro or fatty tuna belly is always on my mind whenever I'm in Japan!

Delicious and Satisfying Mentaiko Meal here with Manish!

We had good sushi in Hakata station area at this place called Sushi Kappo Kaji (すし割烹かじ), and I appreciated how there was an English menu although the staff didn't speak much English, I was able to help someone foreign try something out that usually only locals go to! I found it very amusing, how the staff were asking how I was able to learn their language, and I would be doing a back and forth interpretation with my friend next to me! I appreciate the talk Manish and I had on a day we just met. We both had the same place on our mind that day: Nanzoin Temple (南蔵院) or the well known Buddhist temple with the bronze statue of a reclining Buddha there! It's around 30 minutes away from the main city area of Fukuoka, but I wanted to check it out since it was on everyone's go-to list there!

Highly appreciated Manish taking tons of beautiful pictures of me here! I did the same for him!

As Manish and I arrive there, we did not expect that it would rain, and also that we would spent the whole day there. When you arrive there, you will see several statues and works of art before you go your way to the Reclining Buddha statue! Some were influenced from several Buddhist countries as well as western cultures since I saw works of art there that were interpreting the 3 emotions of a monkey, but were using frogs instead. A large Fudo Myo-o Statue and the 500 statues of the Buddha's disciples (arhat) are located there as well, and several shrines around the lush greenery there! I was so thankful to have been able to go with a buddy patient enough with taking pictures of me so as long as I do the same for him! When you get to the actual statue of the bronze Buddha or also known as Nehanzo or Shaka Nehan, you'll be amazed at how huge the statue is! 41 meters long, 11 meters high, and almost 300 tons heavy, you would probably be overwhelmed at how huge it is! The statue was initially built to house the ashes of the Buddha and two of their believers. The reason why the Buddha is reclining rather than sitting down is because they wanted to portray the Buddha reaching Nirvana. Manish and I had a blast just talking about anything, and maybe part of the reason why I enjoyed being in Fukuoka so much was because of the people I met! I enjoyed having ice cream with him, and enjoying the rainy vibes, which reminded him of UK. We passed by a small shop, and got some candies for us to enjoy, and it was unique to us: Okinawan black sugar candy, which reminded me of muscovado sugar that we have in Philippines! We got along especially since we both knew a lot about each others culture's from Manish's Indian upbringing and living in UK his whole life, and my personal experiences living in Philippines my whole life, and living overseas several times.

Having Ramen at Ramen Stadium in Canal City Mall was a Wonderful Experience!

When we got back to the hostel, we took a rest for a couple hours before heading out to dinner. I was so excited the whole day that I didn't realize how tired I was cause my nap felt heavy a bit. My local friends told me that Mentaiko or pollack fish roe was a specialty in Fukuoka prefecture because it's where it was mainly produced! I have tried similar forms of Mentaiko such as Tarako, which is similar to it but not spicy at all. They are usually eaten as is with rice or filled in Onigiri or Japanese rice ball snacks or mixed with cream and other herbs, and turned into pasta! The taste is slightly salty, slightly fishy, but very tasty and delicious, kind of like how would make pasta using canned tuna or any form of preserved seafood. People who may not like fishy things may not like this, but I absolutely loved my experience with the Tarako pasta, which is available in the main fast food chain in Japan called Saizeriya. So I felt excited to try it with my new found friend!

Nagasaki Peace Park is a Great Place to start your day out with exploring Nagasaki!

We had dinner at the place that specializes in Mentaiko (明太子) called Ganso Hakata Mentaiju (元祖博多めんたい重), and normally, there is a long line outside during lunch, but luckily for us during dinner time, no line at all! This place is for people who love mentaiko or fish roe in general! We ordered a set that had a whole mentaiko served on a bed of rice topped off with shredded nori seaweeds, sesame seeds, and a light amount of shredded vegetables. The other part of the set was this dish called Mentai Nikomi Tsukemen (めんたい煮こみつけ麺), which is the ramen or udon noodles dipped in a thick sauce made up of rich-tasting mentaiko and 10 types of vegetables! As a lover of Tsukemen or thick noodles dipped in a rich-tasting and flavorful sauce, I knew this one would be delicious! This whole set at that time costed around 2,500 JPY or almost around $25 USD, and it was super filling. Imagine having rice, and then thick noodles in a rich broth to add to that. Staff are professional, friendly, and with some being able to speak English. You get to choose which level of spice you want for this, but compared to other countries, Japanese spiciness isn't really too hot. When I took the first bite of the Mentaiko, my mouth instantly felt the salty and intense flavor of the fish roe! It was super delicious, and eating it with the rice and nori seaweed is a must in order to lessen the saltiness. Then comes the Tsukemen. Let me tell you this: the sauce itself packs a punch of umami savory flavor! It's composed of the fish roe as well, along with several types of vegetables like mushrooms and kelp. Very tasty, and the chewy noodles really helped enhance the experience! Honestly, the double carb meal set will leave you very full and satisfied so be prepared! This place is definitely a must visit in Fukuoka for those who are into the taste and flavor of Mentaiko! A long walk afterwards is highly recommended!

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum Memorial Hall. Pay your respects by sitting here and appreciate it.

When we went to Don Quijote in Hakata area, I was shocked to see something quite rare: a Filipina woman working there! I know Don Quijote hires foreigners to work in Japan often since the shop really caters to foreign tourists, but I had never encountered someone from my country working there 'til that time! She said she's been in Fukuoka for over 10 years now! That's when I realized just how much Filipino people there are in Fukuoka! My friend Manish was browsing at how big the shop was, and was even able to meet some locals there! What I love about Don Quijote is that it is your one stop shop for gifts, personal items, food, souvenirs, etc. If you need to find gifts to give to people, or things you need for yourself, this is THE PLACE to go! And also, if you spend a certain amount, they provide several coupons as well as promos. For foreigners, everything is tax free except the fresh foods, frozen items, and produce like fruits and vegetables since those are easily perishable. The cosmetics, beauty products, packaged and sealed foods and snacks are all tax free. Be patient as there are tourists always in line there, but this place is absolutely worth it if you great deals and memorable items!

Glover Garden view! Without a doubt, one of the most stunning viewpoints I have ever seen in Japan!

The next day, Manish departed back to Tokyo where he was working that time, and I checked out with my things all packed, left the counter, and headed to Canal City Hakata (キャナルシティ博多) for some more ramen hunting as well as some mini exploring! If there's anything Canal City Hakata is well known for other than it's fountain show, TV wall, is Ramen Stadium (ラーメンスタジアム)! Located on the 5th floor of the mall, Ramen Stadium combines the best of Kyushu's Ramen in one place! There are so many options here, and if you're a ramen fanatic, you have to go here at least once! I went to the one called Shodai Hide-chan (初代秀ちゃん) since that was the one where it was featured on the Youtube video! I ordered the premium choice which was one of their bestsellers called Zenbu no se Ramen (全部のせラーメン) or "All in one Ramen" in Japanese. This one costs around 1,150 yen or around $10 USD, which may seem pricey at first, but with the amount of food in it and for quality, it was so worth it! What I loved about this option was that there was already a soft boiled Tamago egg included which was runny in the center along with premium Chashu pork belly and pork neck, bean sprouts, pickled mustard greens, and a sheet of nori seaweed! One taste, and I can see why it lives up to it's name! The broth was surprisingly not too rich, and the noodles were cooked just the way I liked it: hot but with a firm, chewy bite! The meats were so soft, tender, and melting, and the vegetables and egg just balanced everything out so well! One bowl of this deliciousness, and you're already so full!

It was Halloween themed here in Huis Ten Bosch theme Park so I appreciated the decorations!

The ordering system was very much straightforward: fall in line at the vending machine that has English options, order what you want, pay at the vending machine, wait for the slip, and give to the staff. They will accommodate you to the seats available whether it would be at the standard seat area, or at the front where you see all the chefs and staff in action! The ramen I had was so good and filling that I felt too full to order the Gyoza or dumplings, which I regret because I heard so much delicious reviews about it! It may appear smaller compared to other ramen joints, but one piece packs so much juiciness and flavor, that it will leave you wanting more! At least now I have a reason to come back there next time I go to Fukuoka!

All these neon lights and umbrella scattered around here! Such an amazing experience!

From there, I took the bullet train for a 2 hour train ride to Nagasaki! I arrived at night, and took my rest there to wake up very early the next morning! I have to say: waking up at 6am at the land of the rising sun is so refreshing! Especially when you have a rooftop view of the whole area to yourself! The train station closest to this particular Airbnb is at Urakami Station, which is a couple stations away from the Nagasaki city main area! I got the view of so many suburban houses while seeing certain buildings like a nearby mall and a huge Ferris Wheel! Nagasaki has a history of being one of the two prefectures in Japan that was attacked by an Atomic Bomb. However, not a lot of people know that Nagasaki has a thriving community, culture, and food scene as well. It's not just history, but also since it's a seaport, Nagasaki truly has some of the most stunning views I have seen in all of Japan so far! The wind, breeze, sunshine, and beautiful colors of the sea really worked for me that day, and just made my day in Nagasaki! Even until now, I still remember how good it was!

The viewpoint at night in Huis Ten Bosch from up a Ferris Wheel! So amazing!

Waking up at 6am, I knew I had a long day ahead of me, so I prepped up a quick eggs and toast with jam and butter breakfast, prepped myself up, and then off I went to explore the wonderful city of Nagasaki! It may not have the same advanced trains as Tokyo or Osaka, but I loved that whole classical, laid back look cause it felt very relaxing for me! After all, when you're traveling, you definitely want to experience something so different from what you have in your home country over something modern or high tech that you can easily find in your own home country. I decided to start my day at Nagasaki Peace Park (平和公園 "へいわこうえん") since it was so early, and most places don't really open until 9-10 am around the area. If you're into history and culture, this place is definitely a popular tourist spot. A nice small park to commemorate the atomic bombing that happened on August 9, 1945 during World War II. It's free entrance, and the signature male statue there is the highlight of the place! The 10-meter peace statue symbolizes divine grace and prayer with the right hand pointing to the top for the threat on nuclear weapons while the left hand is pointed to the side for eternal peace.

My Nagasaki host, Terufusa Minagawa-san with his daughter, Maria-chan!

I loved the fact that the locals have such a peaceful demeanor and positive outlook on life despite what happened. There was an ice cream vendor selling handmade flower shaped ice creams on the side of the park. What I admired was the fact that instead of scooping, the ice cream vendor shaped the ice cream into flower petals, which made me say "Kawaii!" or cute in Japanese. If you feel like snacking on something else, I highly recommend Castella cake (カステラケーキ). Nagasaki was inspired by Western cultures, particularly Portuguese who introduced the method of frying and baking to the Japanese, and the Dutch, who introduced to them their architecture. The Castella cake is like a moist, fluffy, and tender chiffon or sponge cake that pairs well with tea or coffee. This is just one of many foods that were inspired by the Portuguese! Tempura is another well known dish as well! After getting some snacks, I headed to Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum (長崎原爆資料館to pay my respect to what happened to Nagasaki. If it's your first time to visit Nagasaki, please visit here to learn the history of this prefecture. 

Just some of the well-preserved artifacts of Dejima! Get to know the history of Nagasaki here!

Normally people would visit the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Museum first since the first atomic bomb happened there. But I did the opposite since it was much closer to Fukuoka where I was touring. It costs only 200 yen or $2 USD to get inside for adults. As I get inside the museum in Nagasaki to tour the place, I see a clock that's stopped at 11:02 am, the precise time the bomb hit the city. I see several videos of the horrible incident that happened on that day, from animation to the pictures of the aftermath of the bombing. They even have an artwork of the atomic bomb design there, actual size. You get to see first hand the sadness, injuries and pain that the innocent locals suffered that day. It's something I definitely felt as I walking through the place, and seeing the pictures of the burned victims as well as the number of the people who died that day. As you look through the letters written by the survivors, you will see directions leading to the Peace Memorial Hall, where you will see a grand structure that's shaped like a tower full of documents. These documents contain the names of the people who died that day, and are constantly changing because of discoveries. On the side are origami artworks made by students who visited. I felt the emotion, and was just completely quiet as I was standing there.

One of Nagasaki's specialty dish here is Champon, which is a shrimp and pork based noodle soup!

I felt a sense of disbelief and shock at the numbers, results and everything else from that experience. It's hard to believe that something like this had happened to a city that's super beautiful now. Nagasaki locals are constantly promoting peace and love. They consider it their duty to make sure the horrors they experienced from this due to the atomic bombing are never to be repeated again. If there's one important place I would recommend people to visit when in Nagasaki, it's this place first. I want people to pay their respects, and a feel a sense of gratitude after visiting here. Even though that bombing happened, it doesn't define the city that it is today: beautiful, thriving, and peaceful. A very eye-opening experience here! It's really surreal to see some place that you have only ever seen on TV, in person! 

A family hard at work in this lovely restaurant where it smelled so good that I had Champon noodles!

After this place, I got recommended to go to this beautiful museum/garden nearby up on a hill called Glover Garden (グラバー園). They have an entrance fee at around 600 JPY, but as I was getting up via escalator, I was starting to see one of the most stunning views I have ever seen in all of Japan! Nagasaki is a port city, with many cruise ships and boats constantly passing by everyday! Being the only place where foreigners could trade with locals hundreds of years ago, some of those foreigners permanently settled in Nagasaki such as the man John Glover, who the garden was named after a Scottish merchant named Thomas Blake Glover. He contributed greatly towards the modernization of Japan in the fields of shipbuilding, coal mining, and more! To this date, it is the oldest existing western style house in all of Japan, and I can see why it is such a popular tourist destination in Nagasaki! The viewing point of Glover Garden is so serene, calming, relaxing and completely mixed with beautiful nature and clear, blue skies! It was just a beautiful place to hang out and appreciate the all around vibes! I met several Korean and Filipino tourists there, and I have to say, if you're ever in Nagasaki prefecture, I highly recommend going to Glover Garden just for the viewing point alone!

Fuku no Yu Onsen! The viewpoint while relaxing here is stunning and worth visiting!

After that beautiful experience, I decided to visit Oura Church (大浦天主堂) nearby because coming from a country where Christianity is highly practiced, it would be nice to see some resemblance of Philippines exist in another country, even in religion. Nagasaki prefecture is the most Christianized area in all of Japan, with Roman Catholics existing there since the 16th century. Oura Church is known to be the church of the 26 Japanese Martyrs, and is the oldest existing church in all of Japan. It's amazing to see how they have maintained it, and after all the struggles it went through, is now considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Next to it is their museum where you get to see how this church was built by French missionaries, and how much Western culture influenced this area. I felt very grateful to have seen this place in person, and to know that places like this are preserved.

The Original Wall Clock in Nagasaki the day the Atomic Bomb happened.

After visiting there, I decided to go to Huis Ten Bosch (ハウステンボス) theme park because I heard so many reviews about that Dutch theme park! I wanted to get a feel of Europe because it's been a while since I went to Europe since getting a visa is difficult for Europe and expensive too! Plus I know that the Dutch and Portuguese made great contributions to Nagasaki's society, which is why I wanted to get a feel of it! This is also a great option for people who may never have the time or money to go to Europe. They can get a feel of what it's like to be in Europe without having to actually set foot on there! It's around a 2 hour train ride from where I was, so I knew I had to go there as soon as possible! Nagasaki is not as big as Tokyo but trains are limited and it's mostly JR trains there, so going to certain places takes time. Huis Ten Bosch is in Sasebo which is pretty far from the main city area of Nagasaki. Huis Ten Bosch is a really huge theme park that has a lot of neon lights, performances, and beautiful building structure that is like a replica of the ones in Europe!

The delicious Turkish rice dish I had in Nicky Arnstein in Nagasaki!

Something to take into account: Don't just trust Google Maps to getting to your destination! I had to learn that the hard way. When I arrived at the train station of Huis Ten Bosch, I activated my Google Maps to get to the main entrance since it was quite a walk to get there. I didn't bother asking anyone for help and not look at the signs to where the entrance was. 20 minutes later, I am at the EMPLOYEE entrance of Huis Ten Bosch theme park! Lesson learned there, but eventually I did make it to the main entrance of Huis Ten Bosch! As I enter the park, one of the first things I see is the iconic Dutch Windmills with lights strapped all around it as well as the insane amount of tulips and flowers surrounding it! I went during Halloween season so majority of their decorations were Halloween themed! Absolutely stunning designs similar to that of Amsterdam, Netherlands, even though I have yet to go there! What's more amazing was the ambience and atmosphere! There were many stage performances there from foreign singers to music themed Halloween light performances. I was able to ride their Ferris wheel to get a top view of the entire place, and it blows my mind how they are able to maintain and care for this place! No wonder this place is also known as the kingdom of lights because this whole place was covered in neon lights!

Forever grateful to have experienced Nagasaki's Mount Inasa night view! It was amazing!

I remember hearing the phrase "big lights will inspire you" from a well known song before, and even though that song was about New York, US, I remember hearing that phrase as I was walking around this whole park and seeing all the bright lights and decorations around there! See, it's not always the food I'm after when visiting a country, even though it's a big part of it! I'm also so into the thought and care people put into creating an amazing experience unlike any other I have felt! There is an area in Huis Ten Bosch that contains rooftop umbrellas placed in one section of the park which was more than 100 umbrellas I think! And also, they made sure to give you a very bright and almost similar to Amsterdam feel there per section by constantly playing music in every area I was at! Theme park foods in general are more expensive than average, but I admire that they made the effort to provide the iconic Dutch cookie stroopwafel there, with the caramel center inside! I had something interesting there: fried potato pancakes with a delicious camembert cheese filling. Pretty delicious after all that walking! Walking around the gift shop, you will see a lot of chocolate treats called "Cocoa Balls" which reminded me of chocolate truffles! After purchasing some gifts, I decided to take lots of pictures, especially around the umbrella area and the huge pumpkin since it was Halloween themed! All in all, if you want to get an almost European feel without having to actually make that travel to Netherlands or Europe, I highly recommend this place! It will probably give you a wonderful experience where you "take in the moment", and appreciate all the aesthetic beauty around it!

Thankful for friends like Manish who was able to take a lot of wonderful pictures!

The next day, I woke up and met up with the host of the hostel! Terufusa Minagawa-san brought his baby daughter Maria along with him, and I enjoyed having a short but fun conversation with him and my other roommate, Andrew from Michigan, US! I offere them my dried mangoes as gifts. Andrew is currently based in Japan, and is already fluent enough to have a full conversation with the locals. I really appreciated how Teru-san made a hostel in the neighborhood of Urakami area which is just a short walk to the JR train station! He recommended to me that I try Turkish Rice in Nicki Arnstein (ニッキーアースティン) café so I made it my goal to have that for lunch! Another place he recommended me to go to was Fuku no Yu Onsen (ふくの湯温泉) since he said it has an amazing view as well as Inasa Mountain (稲佐山) since I told him I loved getting views of cities high up. After chatting, I went on my way to Dejima (出島) to explore its history and culture there since I heard that this was the only place that foreigners could trade with the Japanese, particularly with the Portuguese and Dutch people during the Edo Period! As I arrive at the entrance, I was amazed at how well preserved the spots are there! This trading post is really important in Japanese history and culture because this spot was where the Japanese got introduced to many types of food, culture, piano, photography, and sports like badminton due to the influence of the traders! I'm amazed at how well they preserved the cutleries and furniture inside the houses there. To see western designs and furniture blending so well with tatami mats, thin sliding doors, and Japanese artworks in the chief factors residence and captain's quarters made me realize that even though the cultures are so different, their artworks and designs can blend in so well with each other!

The walkway getting to the viewing point of Nagasaki was so cool and fun to experience!

After spending time there, I decided to walk around the Chinatown area of Nagasaki. Chinatown areas in Japan are mostly based in Yokohama since it's close to Tokyo. However, Nagasaki has its own Chinatown because the Chinese also traded a lot with Nagasaki since this is the only port in all of Japan where foreigners could trade with them. So you can see how important and significant Nagasaki was, is and will always be due it's grand history and constant development. While I was there, I heard a blend of Japanese and Chinese being spoken there. I stopped by to get some Kakuni Manju (角煮まんじゅう) which is soft, slow cooked pork belly braised in dashi stock, mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and sake. The pork belly is extremely tender, light and delicious served on a steamed bun similar to our Siopao. As I arrive in Nicky Arnstein, I look at the food pictures outside and see the Turkish Rice  (トルコライス) I want to order. Don't be fooled by the name since this dish has little to do with the country Turkey itself! Especially because it contains a fried pork cutlet with it, and Turkish people in general do not consume pork meat. Its name can be debated due to the tricolors that the pork cutlet, spaghetti and curry rice pilaf shows at the dish itself which may have developed into the term Toruko

Forever grateful for my friend, Ai-san who introduced me to her Pinay friends living in Fukuoka!

Regardless of its origin, the dish itself is very delicious, filling and flavorful! As a person who likes light and not too oily or robust flavors that don't give me a headache, I found this dish to be very satisfying because of the salty sweet flavors it has. The pork cutlets were crispy even though it has a demi glace sauce on top, and the rice was well seasoned along with the pasta that's al dente. And for a dish worth around 900 yen or around $9 USD within a popular tourist district, this dish is one of those dishes worth trying without having to spend so much. I did some more shopping at the nearby pharmacies and another Don Quijote store, before exploring more places. A lot of locals were amazed at how I was able to converse well with them in their language, and it made me feel great inside because I felt like I was worth something for once. As I was walking around, I see more European designs like the Dutch slope area along with Japanese high school students running around the area wearing baseball outfits. It made me appreciate the blend of Eastern and Western in one spot! The cleanliness, the weather, and all around vibes there just made me love Nagasaki even more!

Thankful to have met Andrew in Nagasaki along with Manish! I still keep in touch with them!

Going to Fuku no Yu Onsen is quite a challenge if you don't have a car. Luckily, they offer a mini public shuttle for free at the Urakami station (浦上駅) up until 9pm which brings you to the onsen! The place is mostly in Japanese but they do offer English guidebooks and signs. Standard onsen rules follow here such as not having big tattoos and so as usual, being nude is required here so be prepared! The facilities offer salt baths which exfoliates your skin, and then carbonated pools which helps relieve your skin as you are dipping your body in different types of heated water. The pools are grand here and so relaxing, and once you go outdoors, you will get a stunning outdoor view of the whole city area while relaxing at the hotsprings! My body felt relaxed, rejuvenated, and recovered from walking all day! At 800 yen or around $8 USD, this place is highly recommended and reasonable at what they offer. And the shuttle bus will drop you off again at the train station you came from, which makes this onsen very convenient to visit for anyone!

It's really best to experience Mount Inasa when you're in Nagasaki!

As starts to turn dark at around 6pm, I rush to visit Inasa Mountain! From Urakami station, it's one bus stop and around a 20 minute walk to the main entrance to the ropeway. The cable car is around 1,250 yen or around $12 USD for a roundtrip ticket which already includes entrance to the entire facility once you're up there. This area is known as Nagasaki's 10 million dollar night view, and I could see why! Once you're up there, you can see just how bright and amazing the city looks 333 feet above sea level! The place is amazing for seeing so many bright and beautiful buildings along with lush forests and greenery in one place! I really felt lucky to have been able to make it to the very top, and see the night views, even if I was just traveling on my own! The guards along with the other tourists were kind enough to take a picture of me while I was there. As I finish exploring and appreciating the views, I rush to get back down, take the next bus back to my hostel, say my goodbyes to my roommate Andrew, and take the very last train back to Fukuoka area. Nagasaki really won me over with everything I experienced. This area has so much to offer you if you ever get the chance to go! 

The drawings and decorations of the guesthouse Terufusa-san had in Nagasaki!

What I loved about Kyushu area in Japan is how at home I felt there! As I head back to Fukuoka station, I enter the hostel, and see majority Koreans staying there, and it makes me feel so happy to be able to share with them some of my dried mangoes as souvenirs and then get to talk about my trip around the area cause it was my first time there. Having met a bunch of foreigners as well as people from my own country in Kyushu area made me feel comfy to just walk around there by myself, and make friends easily wherever I go! I take my last night of having ramen in Ramen Unari along with gyoza, and head to the Filipino restaurant Rizaf for drinks to call it a night! The next day, I do some shopping at Uniqlo and get to see a nice surprise: a Russian blonde blue eyed woman handling the tax return section speaking in fluent Japanese! If there's one place I always enjoy shopping in Japan, it's Uniqlo! Clothes that are great quality and so comfy for me! After shopping, I pack up and take the train that's only 5-10 minutes away from Hakata Station and have my lunch there. What amazes me about Japan is that even though you're just at an airport, you still get to have delicious food there. In my case, I was able to get roast beef with poached egg on top of rice! That winning moment where the yolk is popped and blended into the rice and then mixed with the roast beef just made me appreciate the food around me even more! Even though you're at an airport in Japan, it's not difficult to eat well there! I will forever appreciate Fukuoka and Kyushu in general for having an airport that's only 5-10 minutes away from the main city area of Hakata station. If you're ever planning to spend time in Fukuoka or Kyushu area, it will be an experience you will want to keep coming back to! For sure, I will!

One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen and captured in my entire life on the plane in Fukuoka! Truly magical!

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