Tag Archives: ramen

Exploring Fukuoka

This week’s Exploring Japan goes to Kyushu with Fukuoka.

Fukuoka is on the northern end of the island of Kyushu in western Japan.  It has a population of 5,071,732 and is a major industrial centre in Japan.  The capital is Fukuoka.  The 5 largest cities are:

  1. Fukuoka (1,483,052)
  2. Kitakyushu (983,037)
  3. Kurume (303,277)
  4. Iizuka (132,208)
  5. Omuta (127,126)

Fukuoka and Kitakyushu are both designated cities, so they are divided into wards.  Fukuoka is growing in population, while Kitakyushu is shrinking.


Fukuoka Castle – This castle in Fukuoka city was dismantled during the Meiji Era, and the main tower was never rebuilt.  Several buildings remain, though most of the grounds were converted into a park.

Kokura Castle – This reconstructed castle is in Kitakyushu.  The reconstruction isn’t faithful to the original design, though.


There are several professional sports teams in Fukuoka.  In baseball, the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks are based in Fukuoka city.  As for J-League soccer, Fukuoka has Avispa Fukuoka and Kitakyushu has Giravanz Kitakyushu.

Things to see and do

Fukuoka has a lot to see.  It has one of the oldest histories in Japan, and Fukuoka is one of the oldest cities in the country.  Outside of the cities, Yabahita Hikosan is a quasi-national park that includes Mt. Hiko.

Fukuoka, being one of the largest cities in Japan, has an incredibly large amount to see and do.  The Gion area has many very old temples and shrines.  The Nagahama area is famous for its ramen.  Ohori Park and Nishi Park are beautiful places to go.  Fukuoka Tower has an amazing view of the city.  Atago Shrine has a great view of the bay and city.  Nokonoshima is an island in the bay with great hiking and camping, as well as beautiful gardens.  Kabuki and Noh are great to watch, as well.  I’d love to see Canal City in Hakata.  It looks very interesting.  In Tenjin, there’s a lot of shopping.  To learn about the traditional Hakata way of life, the Hakata Machiya Folk Museum is good to see.

Dazaifu is a city near Fukuoka that has the newest national museum in Japan, the Kyushu National Museum. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and Komyozenji temple are great to see.

In Kitakyushu, there’s also plenty to see.  Moji-ko has a lot of old buildings, and it’s also famous for yakicurry, a baked curry and rice with egg and cheese.  Hiraodai is a karst plateau with a great view.  Mount Sarakura also has a great view of the city.  Iwaya beach is a nice beach.  You can also see Sugao no taki waterfall.  Space World would be a fun place to go, having a space camp and plenty to do.  Kanmon pedestrian tunnel is an easy 10 minute walk under the strait between Kitakyushu and Shimonoseki, which is on Honshu.  I’d also like to see the Zenrin Map Museum, the Museum of Natural and Human History, and enjoy one of the Gion festivals in July.

In Kurume, I’d like to see the Jibo Kannon Statue, a 62 metre concrete statue at Naritasan Temple.  Bairjinji temple and Suitengu shrine would be nice to visit.  It also has an annual flower festival.

Yanagawa is a beautiful small city which you can tour on its system of canals.

Yame is a small city where you can find tea plantations.


Fukuoka is famous for tonkotsu ramen.  The broth is made from boiled pork bones, and you can find many local varieties in each of the cities.

What would you recommend in Fukuoka?


Filed under Fukuoka, Japan

Exploring Japan: Shinyokohama Raumen Museum – February 28, 2010

More than 2 years ago, I visited the Shinyokohama Raumen Museum (spelling is correct), or 新横浜ラーメン博物館 in Shin-Yokohama.  This museum is dedicated to ramen, the very popular Chinese noodle dish that is now quite Japanese.  This museum has branches of some of the most popular ramen restaurants from around Japan, giving you the opportunity to try 9 different kinds of ramen in one day.  You can go to just one restaurant for a full bowl, or you can try samples from each place.  There is also a cafe and bar, a drink bar, and a souvenir shop that sells many kinds of ramen, including instant ramen.

The museum has 3 floors.  The main floor has the entrance, exhibition and souvenir shop.  The entrance is like entering a train station with ticket gates and ticket attendants.  The rest of the museum is on the 2 basement floors.  It’s designed to look like an old-fashioned train station, where many ramen restaurants could be found.  Even today, train platforms in busy stations have ramen, udon or soba restaurants for the busy commuter.  Walking around the museum can be a bit of a challenge, because it’s very crowded, with many people waiting outside each restaurant.  Some parts of the museum are a bit narrow, but the atmosphere is like an old-fashioned 1950s neighbourhood.

It’s 300 yen for adults to enter, and each adult is expected to order at least one bowl of ramen.  3 month and yearly passes are available for 500 and 800 yen respectively, which is extremely reasonable.  Many people return to the museum frequently to have their favourite ramen.

I took a few pictures from my old iPhone in the museum, but no pictures are allowed in the restaurants.  This is what I managed to take.

Looking down at the lower level of the museum. I took this picture just after entering the basement.

Looking up from the lower level of the museum, it's much like an old station neighbourhood.

Waiting in line for a restaurant in one of the narrow "streets" on the upper basement floor.

I only tried one restaurant, and now that I look at the website, it was replaced last year by another restaurant.  However, it seems the ramen is similar.

If you love ramen, and you’re willing to spend a few hours waiting for 9 different kinds of ramen, then this is a great place to visit.


Filed under Food, Japan, Kanagawa, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama

Picture of the Week 49 – Yottekoya

This week’s picture is from inside a ramen shop in Shonandai. It’s called Yottekoya, or as it says on its napkins, Yo! Teko. They specialise in tonkotsu ramen, which is a fatty pork broth. It’s quite good. I enjoy the bowl of tonkotsu and soy sauce aburi chashuumen. This has a mix of tonkotsu and soy sauce and some slices of grilled pork. Very good! What’s your favourite kind of ramen?


Filed under Food, Fujisawa, Japan, Kanagawa, Picture of the Week

Food I can’t get enough of in Japan

A couple days ago, I made a post about problems I had with food in Japan.  These are mostly pretty minor issues of mine.  Honestly, I love the food in Japan.  There are some foods and restaurants that I love, and always want to eat.  So, here is what I love.

Sushi and sashimi. Before I came to Japan, I’d already had sushi.  It’s quite popular in Canada.  However, I hadn’t tried sashimi yet.  Well, the sushi in Japan is much better than Canada’s sushi.  My favourites are salmon, tuna (maguro and toro) and shrimp for sushi, while I love salmon and tuna for sashimi.

Shrimp tempura. For a while, I kept eating this 2 or 3 times a week.  However, it is expensive, so I’ve tried limiting how often I eat it.  But it is so delicious!  It’s great stuff!

Tonkatsu and chicken katsu. There are a few varieties of this.  Basically, it’s pork cutlets and chicken cutlets.  It’s breaded and deep fried pork or chicken, served with a great sauce.  This food isn’t unique to Japan, as pork and chicken cutlets can be bought frozen in supermarkets in Canada.  But they are a bit different, with a more Japanese flavour in Japan.

Ramen. It’s easy to get instant ramen or Cup Noodle in Canada.  It’s a staple food for university students.  It’s cheap and easy.  However, I rarely eat the instant variety now.  I eat the real thing, freshly made.  My favourite is Chuuka Chaashuumen.  It’s Chinese flavoured ramen with sliced pork.  Very good!

Wasabeef. It’s wasabi and beef flavoured potato chips!  It has that wasabi kick to it.  One of my favourite flavours of potato chips.

Pepper Lunch. This is a restaurant that serves uncooked steak and rice dishes on a hot iron plate.  You basically cook it yourself, and put as much sauce on it as you want.  Great stuff!  Check out the menu here (Japanese only).

Curry House CoCo Ichibanya. So much variety in this restaurant!  You can have any combination of ingredients in your curry rice, including tonkatsu, shrimp, crispy chicken, spinach, sausage, cheese, etc.  You can choose which kind of curry sauce you want (pork, beef, hash and rice based) and the spicy level.  Level 1 is spicy enough for me.  Level 2, I haven’t tried yet.  Level 5 is supposed to be very spicy, and you must be able to handle level 5 if you want to go higher.  The highest level is 10.  I’m addicted to this restaurant.  Check out the multilingual menu here.

What are your favourite foods and restaurants in Japan?


Filed under Food

Ramen and gyoza lunch

It’s rainy, I’m hungry. So, I went to the ramen chain Hidakaya. I got chuuka chaashuumen, which is basically ramen with pork in a soy sauce based soup. Also got gyoza. The first picture is a rainy street. Second is Ofuna’s shopping street. Third is food!

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Filed under Food, Kamakura, Kanagawa, Weather