Fukuoka, Japan Part I: Sightseeing


Alas, the travel bug bit us again. Thanks to Cebu Pacific seat sales and our five-year multiple-entry Japan visa, we decided to book the cheapest flight to (and from) Japan on a period encompassing promo fares.

As the memories (and receipts) of this trip are fairly fresh, I'll try to provide the costs of the places we've been as well as the food we consumed. This is for the benefit of those who are considering Fukuoka as their next budget travel destination.

Downtown Fukuoka - Tenjin Area

Strap yourselves in folks, this is going to be a lengthy read.

Day 1: MNL to FUK

Fukuoka City is located at Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Because of the location, its climate is described as "humid subtropical," experiencing hot humid summers and relatively mild winters. It is the fifth largest city in Japan.

Cebu Pacific offers only one flight a day from Manila to Fukuoka (5J 922), and only one flight a day from Fukuoka to Manila (5J 923).

Cebu Pacific Promo Fare per person: 6,057.44 PHP (round trip)

For accommodations, we weren't able to find a hostel to our liking. Most of the hostels near the city center were already fully booked, and those that were still available only offered dormitory-type rooms. Because of this, we decided to try booking through Airbnb.

Airbnb for the duration of the trip: 9,308.00 PHP, where:
  • 1,380 PHP x 5 nights = 6,900 PHP
  • Cleaning fees = 1,389 PHP
  • Airbnb Service fee = 1,019 PHP 

Our host was very gracious and met us at the Minami-Fukuoka Station, even if our arrival time is already in the evening. He accompanied us to the apartment and handed over our keys before leaving us to rest for the day.

BUT FIRST!!! DINNER!!!

Note: Prices listed from this point will be in Japanese Yen (JPY). To know the converted price in PHP, a Google search will do.

Fukuoka is a relatively *provincial* place, compared to Tokyo or Osaka. This being said, most (I mean MOST) of the shops close at 9PM, with restaurants extending to 12MN. There are occasional establishments that open until 2AM, but they are mostly inuman places. We were lucky enough to find a ramen place near the apartment.

No idea what the place is called though, as all the names and signs are in Japanese. Buti na lang we know how to read some Katakana, so we recognized the word "RAMEN" at the front of the shop.

 

 

This ramen place does have an English menu, but you have to request for it as it is not readily available on the tables. We each ordered tonkotsu (i.e. pork broth) ramen with additional seasoned egg.

Dinner per person: 680 JPY

Day 2: Sightseeing within the city

Fukuoka Tower


Fun Fukuoka Tower Facts:

- The tower was built in 1989
- It is 234 meters high and is covered with 8,000 half mirrors
- It is 3rd tallest tower (and the tallest seaside tower) in Japan
- The observation room in the 5th level is 123 meters high
- The 3rd level is called the Lover's Sanctuary
- There are different illumination designs on the tower per season.

Business Hours: 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM; admission is until 30 minutes before closing.

Admission Fees (further discounts for groups and the disabled):
- Adult: 800 JPY
- Student/ Senior: 500 JPY
- Child: 200 JPY
** Foreign passport holders are entitled to 20% discount


Almost all cities in Japan have a tower with an observation deck, to provide tourists with a 360 degree view of the city. Fukuoka is of no exception. There are no trains to the city however; you would have to ride a bus or a taxi.

  

 

Fukuoka Tower per adult with foreign passport discount: 640 JPY

Marine World Uminonakamichi


Across Fukuoka Tower is the Uminonakamichi Seaside Park, and beside the park is Marine World Uminonakamichi. This aquarium focuses on aquatic life around the Tsushima area, an island between Japan and Korea.

Business Hours (specific show schedules are listed on the website and on pamphlets found in the Information Center):
  • March 1 to July 19: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • July 20 to August 31: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
  • September 1 to November 30: 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • December 1 to February 28/29: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission Fees (further discount for annual passes, groups and the disabled):
  • Adult: 2,160 JPY
  • JHS Student: 1,180 JPY
  • Elementary Student: 820
  • Children (4 years and over and under elementary age): 570

Dolphin and Sea Lion Show

Two of its main attractions are its largest water tank, which holds 2,000 gallons of water and is used for dolphin and sea lion shows, and its panoramic water tank, with a depth of 7 meters, holds 1400 gallons of water, and is home to more than 120 sharks of 20 different kinds.

 

 

Marine World Uminonakamichi per person:
  • Ferry from Fukuoka Marine Tower: 1,030 JPY
  • Admission - Adult with special 200 yen discount (from voucher): 1,960 JPY 
  • Ferry to Hakata Port: 1,030 JPY

LUNCH/ DINNER SUGGESTION: Tempura No Hirao (Tenjin Area)

A photo posted by Miriam P. See (@ako_si_iam) on


If your open to trying out some local food (one that has not franchised its way to the Philippines), I suggest that you try out this tempura fastfood restaurant within walking distance from the Tenjin Station. In typical Japanese fashion, order and payment are done via vending machines, and counters are provided as tables.



Tempura No Hirao per person: 890 JPY (for an ebi tempura set meal)

Day 3: Sightseeing outside the city

Sightseeing Pass


The Nishitetsu Train Company offers various train ticket packages, with additional admission and food discounts to various places of interests. For this day tour, we purchased a Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sights-eeing Ticket Pack, which allows us travel to Fukuoka Tenjin Station, to Dazaifu Station, and to Yanagawa Station (exclusively), within two days from first day of use. Tickets can be purchased at the Nishitetsu Ticket Office at Tenjin Station.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This pass allows you to travel ONLY between Dazaifu Station and Yanagawa Station (or vice versa) provided that you DO NOT return to Fukuoka Tenjin Station in between.

Sightseeing Ticket per person: 2,930 JPY

Yanagawa River Punting


Even though I haven't experienced it personally, I'd say that the Yanagawa Kawakudari experience is similar to the gondola rides of Venice. Each punt (i.e. boat) can seat up to 16 people (reservations for personal group tours are also available), wherein a boatman will navigate downstream for 4.5 kilometers through the waterways in Yanagawa.

Yanagawa Kawakudari boarding station affiliated with the Nishitetsu Train Company.
Free shuttle ride from the Yanagawa Station is provided.

 

 

The complete punting experience lasts for 70 minutes. Throughout the tour, the boatman will share historical tidbits of structures along the way, and will sing a few songs about the Yanagawa river. Albeit in full Japanese, the experience is nevertheless entertaining.

Yanagawa Kawakudari River Punting per person: FREE (included in the Sightseeing Pass)

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH, BUT DISCOUNTED, PWEDE!

Included in the Sightseeing Pass is a 100 JPY off the Yanagawa Steamed Eel Set, an old traditional local dish of the area. There are a lot of Unagi Restaurants in the area, but as per website only the restaurants Rokkyu and Fuuki accept the discount voucher. We're not sure which restaurant we got into, but we were glad that they allowed the discount.

We ordered a medium-sized set. The amount of rice is consistent among the sizes of the sets; only the quantity of the eel differs.

 

Yanagawa Steamed Eel Set per person - with 100 JPY discount from Sightseeing Pass: 2,370


Dazaifu


Dazaifu was once the administrative center of the island of Kyushu for 500 years, since the late 7th century. Just like Kyoto, it has a lot of historical relics, such as the Government Office Ruins, and a large shrine--Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. Both spots are located at opposite ends of the city and are a bit far apart for walking, so for the duration of our stay in Dazaifu we chose to roam the shrine area.

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, a Heian period scholar and politician,
so most of the amulets being sold around the area pertain to success in studies and exams

 

 

Around the shrine area is also an amusement park and a national museum. Both admission fees have discount vouchers included in the Sightseeing Pass.

WHEN IN DAZAIFU, TRY OUT THE LOCAL SNACKS!

There are a lot of shops lined across the road leading to the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, and one of the more popular snack item being sold is the umegae-mochi. This snack is a grilled yuzu bean (i.e. red bean) cake stamped with a pattern of a plum tree flower. As per legend, the caretaker of the shrine used to prepare this snack to Sugarawa Michizane, and left one as an offering when he died.

 

Umegae-mochi per piece: 108 JPY

Days 4 to 6 will be continued in Part II, as most of the activity during those days involve shopping and eating.

Summary of Costs (Days 1 - 3):

Philippine Peso (PHP)

  • Cebu Pacific round trip MNL-FUK: 6,057.44
  • Airbnb for 5 nights: 9,308
Total: 15,365.44 PHP

Japanese Yen (JPY)

  • Minami-Fukuoka Area Ramen: 680
  • Fukuoka Tower: 640
  • Ferry from Fukuoka Tower to Marine World Uminonakamichi: 1,030
  • Marine World Uminonakamichi Admission Fee: 1,960
  • Tempura No Hiro: 890
  • Ferry from Marine World Uminonakamichi to Hakata Port: 1,030
  • Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sight-seeing Ticket Pack: 2,930 JPY
  • Yanagawa Steamed Eel Set: 2,370
  • Umegae-mochi: 108
Total: 11,638 JPY (approximately 5,542.44 PHP)

** Computation above does not include transportation to and from the locations mentioned.

Other Japan-related posts in my blog:

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