Kyushu, Day 14: Fukuoka Castle Ruins

A short walk from Maizuru Park, we reached Fukuoka Castle Ruins. I was expecting to see remnants of the main keep but there was not so much to see.

MARCH 17, 2020

We passed by MAIZURU PARK but none of the trees had any flower blooming.

A short walk from there, we reached FUKUOKA CASTLE RUINS. I was expecting to see remnants of the main keep but there was not so much to see. What survived were some turrets and guard towers in the castle grounds. Portion of the moat was also noticeable.

We went to ICHIRAN TENJIN NISHIDORI afterwards and ordered the premium tonkotsu (kamadare style) again. This time, we did not buy the set because we were still full from breakfast. I bought extra osukaran vinegar (¥120), Ichiran’s original premium vinegar, and added it to the broth. That brought out a nice touch of sourness although my conclusion is not adding the vinegar is still better.

I shopped for tea bags and tea leaves in the store recommended by Hisako-obaasan. It was difficult to spot because there was no English sign but good thing she sent me a picture of the store.

We went back to Canal City and spotted a Studio Ghibli shop

…then went to HAKATA GION TETSUNABE for early dinner. We ordered the bestselling tetsunabe gyoza, which were bite-sized pieces of gyoza served in hot skillet.

We went back home afterwards because Hisako-obaasan and Masanobu-ojiisan prepared a yummy light dinner for our last night in Fukuoka.

They served us okonomiyaki, homemade umeshu, sake, and a side of salad with prosciutto.

What a perfect way to cap off our last night for this Kyushu region trip!

Kyushu, Day 5: Kagoshima Sights

Sengan-en is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for offering a good view of Sakurajima. The house lived in and loved by generations of the Shimadzu family can also be found here.

MARCH 8, 2020

Main mission for this day was to visit Sengan-en so from Kagoshima-chuo Station, we rode the City View Bus to get there.

SENGAN-EN (¥1,000) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for offering a good view of Sakurajima. The house lived in and loved by generations of the Shimadzu family can also be found here. There is also the garden area which spans 12 acres of land.

Some of the memorable spots we visited were:

  • Reverberatory furnace
  • Stone wall and site of Satsuma pottery kiln
  • Crest of the Shimadzu family
  • Initial part of the hiking trail

We also saw Sakon-taro, a water-powered rice-husking machine that they used before to polish brown rice.

C bought a few cat goodies from a shop managed by an obaasan…

…and there was also a cat shrine nearby.

At the other end of Sengan-en was the viewing point for Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes and the symbol of Kagoshima. It spews smoke constantly but the island can actually be visited as long as it is not on high alert.

On our way back, we spotted the Senjingan, which people before worked on for 3 months to carve three characters (translating to “very large rock”), and the jumping lion lantern.

The last place we visited was SHIMADZU SATSUMA KIRIKO GLASSWORK. We were a bit shy to go inside the shop because the items were expensive but the staff did not let us leave even if we were just looking around. There is also a factory nearby where you can watch the master craftsmen do Satsuma Kiriko crystal glass.

Since the bus going back to the station was still about 30 minutes away, we decided to go inside the uniquely designed Starbucks.

We wanted to eat kurobuta tonkatsu for lunch and found a good place near the central train station –KURO KATSU TEI. We ordered and shared the Kurokatsutei set lunch (fillet and loin; ¥1,090) and special loin cutlet set meal (¥1,690).

The kurobuta tonkatsu was juicy and flavorful, and the best part was it did not feel too oily or greasy. I would not mind eating it again! Hehe.

Inside Kagoshima-chuo station, we found an area with different food stalls inside. I was lucky to spot Agetateya which specializes in satsumaage (fried fish cake). I bought 3 pieces for ¥520, picking random flavors and turned out to be good ones – prawn, mushroom, cheese.