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!
On my last day for 2018 autumn trip in Japan, I went to Morikoro Park which houses a replica of Mei and Satsuki’s House (My Neighborhood Totoro, 1988).
On my last day for 2018 autumn trip in
Japan, I went to Morikoro Park which houses a replica of Mei and Satsuki’s House
(My Neighborhood Totoro, 1988).
NOVEMBER 27, 2018
It was about an hour train ride from Nagoya
to Ai Chikyu-Haku Kinen Koen Station. As soon as I exited the station, I
already felt lost. All the other locals took the other exit so there was no one
to ask which way I should go. I followed my gut feel then found an elevator
going down. I rode it then saw a souvenir shop a few hundred meters away from
me, which was already part of MORIKORO
PARK. Yay! I asked for directions going to the bus stop – turned out it was
on the other side from the GF elevator so I ran because I might miss it and it
only visited the stop once every hour.
When I reached the bus stop, the bus was not yet there but it arrived shortly after 5 minutes. Aside from me, there was only a Japanese couple who were passengers. The obaasan tour guide and ojiisan driver greeted me with a big smile so I smiled back at them and greeted them “Ohayou!”. Obaasan tour guide was talking during most of the ride but I could not understand anything because it was in Japanese. 😦 I still looked at the spots she pointed at to let her know that I was her audience.
When we reached the stop for Satsuki and
Mei’s house, I got off and followed the Japanese couple walking in front of me.
I successfully reached the ticket area then
I showed the pass I bought at Lawson’s LOPPI and in exchange, I was given an ID
and 2-page English instructions.
Fifteen minutes before
the scheduled tour, our guide was orienting us with do’s and don’ts but I
couldn’t understand most of it because it was in Japanese. I didn’t even know
if A would explore the outside first while B would be inside the house or
vice-versa. Haha! I just followed the locals with the same ID letter as mine so
that I wouldn’t get lost.
A short walk from the
orientation area, we could already see the famous house of Mei and Satsuki.
Once we arrived, the guide said a few reminders then gave us the go signal to
I went inside the house first and explored every part of the house. I opened all drawers and all cabinets I could find inside, which were filled with random items that seemed to belong to the Kusakabe family. Picture taking was not allowed inside the house but from the outside, you can take pictures of the interiors of the house.
My favorite part of
the house was the working room of Tatsuo-san – messy but filled with lots of books
and papers. That rocking chair was tempting to sit on but we were not allowed
to enter this room.
Outside the house, I
found a replica of the bus stop. There was no Totoro though. T_T I wish they
placed a cardboard of Totoro holding a big leaf as an umbrella…
At the backyard near
the kitchen area, I saw these kids having fun pumping the water. The little
girl even held the pail in the exact same way Mei held it and peeked through
Some say that 30 minutes is too short for
the tour but for me, that was enough time already. Maybe because I was a solo traveller
as well so there was less time consumed talking to someone else. The tour guide
was nice enough to take pictures of me in different spots of the place.
When the time was up, we were called by the
guide and we went back to the orientation area. From there, I retraced my steps
going back to the bus stop and waited for the bus that would take me back near
the train station.
Quick fun fact before ending this post: the Studio Ghibli theme park will be built here in Morikoro Park and is expected to open in 2022.