Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Unique Bus Stops: Konagai, Nagasaki Prefecture

The Unique Bus Stops in that you see here in the photos below are part of the Nagasaki Prefectures character and adds to her personality unlike any other attraction.  I nearly always include this site on my Private Nagasaki Tours because everyone comes away with a pic and a smile on their face.

I think the unique bus stops are just another random if not crazy idea that some town official thought up but for whatever reason it has stuck and become a permanent and important fixture of the town's psyche.

In the sleepy town of Konagai, Nagasaki Prefecture right on the boarder of Saga Prefecture there are some Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops that will stop you in your tracks and make you say to yourself, "Why haven't I ever seen this before?"

As you drive from one bus stop to the next, you will wonder what fruit or vegetable will come next. In some ways, when you don't see your favorite one you wonder why it hasn't been included and of course when you have passed the last one and headed into the next prefecture you will also have a slight feeling of disappointment that you won't see another one again in Japan, period!

Some of the Unique Bus Stops have seen better days and they are in need of a touch up or repair or better still a repaint but just to see one up close to touch and feel and to sit inside as to re enact the feeling of waiting for a bus is exciting in itself.  Come and enjoy the Bus Stops even if it's just for a fleeting moment!

Check out the Unique Nagasaki Bus Stops on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Mouth watering Watermelon

Juicy strawberry

Appealing Melon

Tasty Tomato

Delicious Orange

My favorite

Please click on the video below to see the highlight sights of the Konagai Bus Stops.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Unzen Ropeway: Unzen, Nagasaki Prefecture

The Unzen Ropeway in Nagasaki climbs the Myoken Peak of Mount Unzen on the Shimabara Peninsular. The Unzen Ropeway was opened in 1957, the area was transformed immediately and has developed into a major Attraction that many people visit over and over again throughout the seasons. It attracts visitors with its 360 degree views of the surrounding areas.  It's nature is also a big calling card for many visitors, especially the blooming azaleas in spring and the many autumn changing colors.

It  is open 365 days of the year and at certain times of the year during the peaks seasons of Spring and Autumn extensive waiting periods can be observed, sometimes up to 2 or 3 hours as people are desperate to see the spring cherry blossoms and Autumn foliage change.  However summer and winter are quite reasonable and it's more a matter of minutes and not hours needed at these times of the year.  This is the way I like it and on this particular day which was a weekday (weekends can be horrendous) in no time at all we were allowed a great standing position on the ropeway to get the sight and pictures that we desired.

This visit was my first to use the actual Ropeway as I usually prefer to climb the mountain but in order to get the photos I desired i took advantage of the fabulous service available to the public.  All I can say is that i wasn't disappointed with my decision, the views and its proximity to nature are second to none resulting in some of the best pictures I have taken.  Please check them out!

Check out The Unzen Ropeway in Nagasaki  on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The colours are intense!

Spectacular views

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Ichiran Ramen Factory: Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture

Everyone loves Ramen!  It is the lifeblood of the populace of Fukuoka and most of Japan to tell you the truth.  Ichiran Ramen is originally from Fukuoka and has been exported all over the world so when I found out that they have a Factory and Restaurant just outside Fukuoka City in the coastal area of Itoshima, I made it my mission to go and check out this establishment at my earliest possible convenience.

The drive out to Itoshima is always a pleasant one.  Lots of open spaces, fields of various fruits and vegetables and a countryside feel about it when compared to the busy Fukuoka City streets.  To reinforce this non urban scene, the entrance towards the main building is also rather amazing as it is a full on Bamboo Grove that even though not fully grown is quite impressive never the less.

The building was larger than I expected.  At first they have a viewing window where you can see the manufacturing process of the noodle component of the product.  Ichiran`s soup recipe and process is a very heavily guarded secret so this portion of the process is not on the agenda unfortunately.  Next, you can walk at your own speed through the Museum part of the Building which shows the history of the company, various aspects about the product and quite a few instructional and interactive exhibits which is very popular with the younger customers.  There isn`t a huge amount of English subtitles but the design and the displays are all very explanatory and easy to follow.

Finally, the main part of the tour is the tasting and ordering of you favorite Ramen.  I am sure that even an average ramen fan won`t be disappointed with the taste as there are many choices of Ramen open to the public thru a vending machine which starts the ordering process. The staff members are all friendly and are extremely polite to their international customers. and more than willing to flash you a smile and a wave at the end of the stay on their premises.

Of course on the way out there is also a Gift Shop of sorts that you can fill up on Instant Ramen which always is a popular gift for family and friends back home who haven`t had the pleasure of trying the genuine product.

Overall I had a great hour at the factory.  I learnt a lot, will return to try another Ramen type and throughly recommend any Ramen Lover to come and see the entire process for themselves.

Please check out the Ichiran Ramen Factory here in a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

The noodle production line

This Ramen is Fukuoka based.

Museum exhibits

Always busy!

Walk through a Bamboo Grove

Famous visitors

Ichiran Signage

You will order from the vending machine

You can purchased ramen to take home too!

Click on the videos below to see more about the Ichiran Ramen Factory in Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Ohori Park Japanese Gardens: Fukuoka City

I have been wanting to go to the Japanese Gardens at Ohori Park in the middle of Fukuoka City for sometime now and with Autumn in full swing the thought of seeing some red crimson Japanese Maple Leaf gave me even more motivation to go and check it out.

The location of this attraction can be seen from the outside but only the tops of the trees so I really wasn`t expecting too much but once inside I was in fact blown away by the size, features and overall ambience of the place.  Not only are the gardens impeccably maintained but the central pond really sets the centerpiece of the whole place.  I was a little rush for time on this day and only spent around 25 minutes here but in all honesty I could have easily spent an hour or more here, just lapping up the breathtaking scene and ambience.

On this day, the Teahouses and outer buildings were closed but I lucked out with 2 sets of Japanese couples getting professional pictures taken around the grounds.  I wished them luck, sent a message of congratulations and was able to snap a couple of photos of the ladies and gents in their magnificent Kimonos.  I am sure the gardens are pristine all year long but i will absolutely want to come back during spring to see the Cherry Blossoms and Azalea foliage during this period.

Once I get the times and the booking process under control I will also document and blog about the Green Tea Ceremonies that are held twice a month.  I am looking forward to see what kind of facilities are available for the International Travelers as I may include this traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony on my Fukuoka Walking Tour Itinerary.

Check out the location of the Ohori Park`s Japanese Gardens here on a map:

Please click the photos below to enlarge:

The best view

Japanese beauty

Please click on the videos below to see more details about this amazing attraction.