Kyushu - Japan New Year 2010


Monday 4th January 2010

My first visit to the island of Kyushu, one of the four main islands of Japan. Got the Shinkansen to Hakata / Fukuoka where we met up with our friend Ai-san, who then took us by car to Yanagawa for a punting style "donkobune" boat trip along a canal.

Japan New Year 2010
10:15:24 On the Shinkansen on the way to Hakata - very industrial looking!10:44:15 Here's Chie at Hakata station.13:14:57 Now in Yanagawa, visiting the shrine from where the donkobune start from. Note all the messages tied to the tree here - a New Year's tradition.
13:16:44 More bits of the shrine...13:16:49 13:36:53 Some kind of citrus fruit...
13:37:00 13:39:46 The main shrine building.13:41:53 I always like these little alleyways of red gates.
13:42:02 13:47:28 This is where we were going to get on our donkobune.13:48:51 The boatmen.
13:50:17 14:12:53 On the boat now. Note the little "kotatsu" a little table with a blanket on top and heating underneath - to keep your leg warms.14:13:04 There's the boatman doing his job.
14:13:37 Another boat passesd by.14:16:55 The stenciled message on these flower boxes reads "hana ippai" - "lots of flowers"!14:19:36
14:19:58 14:20:11 Looks like the sun was out at this point!14:20:27 Going through a narrower bit...
14:20:48 ...and under a bridge.14:20:56 14:21:54 Coming up to a little canalside cafe.
14:22:34 ...unfortunately nobody wanted to buy anything.14:22:47 A very typical Japanese dog (I think we call them "shiba inu").14:23:32
14:23:39 14:25:00 Lots of bridges to go under on the route.14:25:23 A couple of ducks.
14:27:21 Another boat passing by.14:28:13 Here's a statue of a "kappa" - a mythical Japanese water dwelling creature.14:29:49 I liked the little steps down to the canal from this house.
14:36:24 Very East Asian - bamboo!14:36:38 14:36:46
14:38:52 More ducks.14:39:00 14:44:13 Another riverside cafe, again though no-one bought anything!
14:44:20 14:44:31 This felt very East Asian too - like those floating river markets in places like Thailand.14:44:36
14:44:48 14:49:39 More citrus fruits.14:50:35 Under another bridge.
15:04:27 ...and then it started raining! Which was a bit of a shame...15:06:40 15:09:04 Quite liked the look of this riverside restaurant with all the lanterns.
15:09:10 15:10:27 15:12:08 A stork.
15:12:17 15:14:48 15:18:23
15:18:31 A tree leaning over the river propped up by this log - we went underneath this of course!15:18:50 Ducking seemed like a good idea!15:19:00
15:19:31 Another nice looking riverside restaurant. Must be lovely here in nicer weather!16:16:39 After getting off the boat, a bit later on we found an onsen (hot spring) where we could bathe our feet. Very much appreciated given the weather!16:16:52 Me and Chie enjoying the hot water.
16:45:46 Maybe the old centre of Yanagawa? A bit like Kurashiki here.16:46:40 18:34:27 Later on, dinner at a tempura place recommended by Ai-san, near to Fukuoka airport.
18:36:12 Shimeji mushrooms, erengi (green beans) and renkon (ltous root).18:36:25 Tempura was very good here - and really cheap - my vegetable tempura set cost a mere 670 yen - about 4 pounds.18:40:25 ...also some onion, aubergine and pumpkin now.
18:52:34 There's me and one of the tempura chefs.20:19:25 At Hakata station, queuing up for "Il Forno del Mignon" which seemed to be a very popular place to buy croissants.