Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Fukuoka Tower: Fukuoka City

The Fukuoka Tower is Fukuoka`s No 1 Landmark as it should be! Standing 234 meters above sea level it is visible at all times and a constant reminder to the community at large and of course tourists who may be in town at any point in time.

The Fukuoka Tower is not a one dimensional destination in any sense of the word.  Literally, there is something here for everyone.  Of course the main reason that people come is for the view and the experience of seeing nearly every part of Fukuoka City and its outlying areas.  Not only can you see the Fukuoka Dome and Hilton Seahawk Hotel up come and personal but other areas are also easy to be spotted including the Airport, Hakata Station, the nearby Marinoa City Outlet Mall and its massive Ferris Wheel.  In total, more than a dozen easily recognized landmarks can be spotted in an extremely short period of time.

The Tower is not everyones cup of tea.  Like myself who does have a fear of heights, the elevator which is completely open and glass surrounded, really is a test of one`s character.  It did test me!  I am not saying it was the scariest experience that I have ever had but i will tell you this, you definitely will have to grab the handles provided and look away every now and then during your trip up to the 123rd floor.  Our companions who have no fears whatsoever may laugh at us but seriously it will take some courage to get past this phobia that affects many of us in life.

If you are one who refuses to take the elevator, then don`t despair there are a few options on the ground floor including a restaurant that serves a mean cup of coffee and even a place to get dressed up in a kimono, if that`s your thing?  On the other end, at the top of the tower there are many special inclusions such as a VR Reality Sky Walk, a Lovers Sanctuary, various games and prizes to be won as well as another restaurant as well as a constant 360 degree view that never quits.

All in all, I rather enjoyed this experience.  Coming down was absolutely easier than going up as I have a video of the decending portion of the trip only as evidence.  This attraction is a staple on my Fukuoka Walking Tours and 1 Day Driving Tours but only on sunny days where the weather warrants a climb to the highest point in Fukuoka City.  Cloudy and Rainy days will rely more on Cultural attractions rather than visual ones!!

Please check out Fukuoka Tower here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Please check out these videos below to see more about the Fukuoka Tower and its attractions:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Kyushu Ceramic Museum

The Kyushu Ceramic Museum although technically not in Nagasaki, shows various styles of Pottery not just from Nagasaki but also from all the regions around Kyushu including the big 4 of Arita, Hasami, Mikawachi and Imari.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

 If you want to experience and understand the history of pottery from the area, there is definitely enough English provided to give you plenty of background information and to allow you to delve into the finer details of all this regarding Kyushu Ceramics.
Lots of exhibits

Without a doubt any pottery enthusiast would need at least 2 hours here at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum in order to fully check out all the attractions and information provided within the showcases.  I really had to check my time in order to stay within my scheduled time, which was 1 hour.  I will probably have to return again someday to really get the most out of my visit as it felt like i left too many things on the table

Information about ceramics

Huge selection

The range of products and displays at the Kyushu Ceramic Museum are as diverse and wide ranging as you would expect from a highly rated institution.  They get visitors from all over Japan and many more from abroad and this reflects in their efforts to provide as much English signposting and subtitling.

Once you have finished inside there is a lovely garden outside that deserves a stroll and a wander around.  Very peaceful and with many cherry trees, so if your visit coincides with Spring then you will be able to see the cherry blossoms as well.

Well worth a visit!

Please click here to see Kyushu Ceramic Museum on a map:

Check out these 2 videos to see more about the Kyushu Ceramic Museum:

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Couples Rock- Itoshima Beach: Fukuoka Prefecture

Couples Rock in Itoshima is also known as Sakurai Futamigaura of Meotoiwa.  I will continue to called this attraction Couples Rock as the latter saying is certainly a mouth full.  
When people talk about Itoshima, a small and relaxing place where the city folk like to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life for a day or even just a half a day considering its close proximity, ultimately the one place everyone wants to visit and get the obligatory photo is Couples Rock.
Couples Rock is a beautiful sunset scenic spot right on the Genkai Sea. This place has been selected as one of Japan’s 100 most scenic places and during summer when the days are at their longest, the final view of the sunset between the 2 rocks will leave a strong and lasting impression on even the least romantic people in this world.
Couples Rock is connected by a large Shimenawa (rope) which is 30 metres in length and weighs 1 tonne. The male rock is 11.8 metres high and the female rock is 11.2 metres in height. Shimenawa is a thick, twisted, straw rope that in ancient times, was believed to have the power to ward off evil sprits or was used to cordon off sacred area as a talisman and as a result many objects connected with Shinto Shrines are decorated with these types of ropes.
Itoshima is also loaded with cafes, restaurants and places of nature, so you can see why it is becoming the stamping ground for the Fukuoka community as a place to recharge and refresh and in many cases retire from the rat race or live out a more peaceful existence.

I am finding more and more interesting place during each new visit to the area, so please keep a look out of many more posts and places of interest in my upcoming blogs.

Please click here for a map of Couples Rock located in Itoshima:

Please click on the picture below to enlarge the photos:

Please click on these videos to see more of Couples Rock up close and personal:

Monday, September 2, 2019

Umegae Sake Brewery: Nagasaki Prefecture

Every now and then in my travels around Nagasaki Prefecture you come upon a special place that instantly makes a strong and lasting impression on you. Umegae Sake Brewery is just one of these places and as a result of this positive and uplifting experience we intend to make this location a regular attraction on our full day tours.

To tell you the truth, for quite a few years now, I have been intending to visit this location and highlight its wares but for some reason it never did fit neatly into my schedule on the day.  Luckily a few hours opened up for me and my original plan had to be changed, however the god`s shine on me and my chance to check out my first Sake Brewery in Nagasaki came to fruition.

The rest is history!  Right from the beginning the friendly ladies welcomed me with open arms (not figuratively) allowed me to wander around on my own device, allow me to ask a multitude of questions and to basically give me full access of their facilities in order to make this report.  Even though I was here for only 45 minutes or so, it felt so much longer as there was some much information that i was able to digest and use.  Unfortunately there is not a huge amount of written and spoken English in this environment but the warm hearted smiles and manners of all the staff members really hopes to overcome any language communication difficulties.

I was not able to drink on the day (zero drinking and driving policy in Japan) but the range of Sake (Japanese Rice Wine) Shochu (Japanese Distilled Spirits) and Liqueurs is more than enough to satisfy everyone`s requirements.  So I am absolutely sure that I will be back as a non driver to sample at my hearts content in order to be the best guide and provider of information on the day.  It`s a hard job but I am sure I can handle it!

Please check out the Umegae Sake Brewery here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

English explainations

Recommended place

Special Sake

Storage Vats

Nice welcome for everyone

Factory Floor

Love the entrance

Very reasonably priced

Let`s try them all!

Lots of variety

Here is a video of my experience at the Umegae Sake Brewery that I am sure you will enjoy: