Wednesday, November 25, 2009

11/23/09: Day 4 in Japan - Arriving in Hakata

Not unexpectedly, my eyes opened around 7:30, but I woke up around 9:30 only because I had to check out by 10:00.

I skipped breakfast, but that's not a bad thing in retrospect, based on the pace I am helping out Japanese food industry.

After leaving the comforts of bed, I spent couple of hours by Hiroshima Station working on rehydration. Interestingly, the city of Kyoto was promoting tourism, so there was a lady dressed as geisha and a gentleman clad in the coat of Shinsengumi.

My next stop is Hakata in Fukuoka prefecture, located on the island of Kyushu. This will be my first visit on the island where my father's side of the family is based.

As my appetizer was virtually nonexistant, my lunch included 3 different breads. First was the bacon and cheese roll...

...followed by fried chicken with tartare sauce on a roll...

...and curry bread, a must-eat item when in Japan.

After checking into the hotel, it was time to relax and detox by visitig Seiryu Onsen hot springs, recommended by a friend.

Housed in a traditional-looking lodge, the onsen featured 6 different hotsprings (2 inside, 4 outside) and 2 spa facilities. The onsen is located about 50 minutes from Hakata Station, but thankfully, there is a free shuttle bus that runs hourly. This visit was much needed!

Hakata is famous for their tonkotsu ramen, which is made from deriving broth from pork. In a lucky coincidence, the restaurant my friend recommended, Fukuchan, was located just 2 blocks away from the hotel.

As my appetite recovered sufficiently, I ordered Char-Siu Tonkotsu Ramen.

The taste did not disappoint, the firm noodle pairing well with creamy but well-balanced soup.

Of course, I had to have their gyoza as well.

On the way home, there was a tunnel running under and across the rail tracks. Within the tunnel was a mural, and one section featured Kondo Isami, leader of Shinsengumi. Man, they're everywhere!

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