18th July 2017: Fukuoka – swampy heat {Japan, summer 2017}

The modern Fukuoka [福岡] is a rather big city comprised of two towns – Fukuoka and Hakata. My hotel was in the Hakata area (close to Hakata station), so I could start with visiting some of the sights around there. Right down the street there was Hakata Sennen no Mon [博多千年門], which is a rather modern gate that signals the entrance to the historical site of Fukuoka.

Afterwards I snooped the back gardens of Jouten-ji [承天寺], to whose main building I would come back later (weird mapping sent me the wrong way).

I snooped around Waka Hachimangu [若八幡宮], which was not even open as this was about 8.30 in the morning, I had some coffee and I continued on my way.

My next stop was Tōchō-ji [東長寺] a Buddhist Temple with a rather short-tempered monk in charge of writing shuuin, and a huge Buddha statue made of wood around whose you can descend to ‘hell’, a corridor which first explains the different hells in Buddhist religion and then plunges into complete darkness (no pictures allowed though).

Next I was in Ryugu-ji [龍宮寺], a small temple next to Tōchō-ji.

Right on the other side of the street I walked over to Kushida Jinja [櫛田神社], dedicated to Amaterasu and Susanoo, the first gods in Shinto.

After that I walked into Gokushomachi [御供所町], an area where two or three major Buddhist Temples are located. The most important out of these (and the only one open for inspection) was Shofuku-ji [聖福寺], which is the first known Zen Buddhist temple in Japan.

Afterwards I took a stop at a conbini for some lunch a subway ride to check on the former site of Fukuoka castle Fukuoka-jo [福岡城], and the only two remaining items: the Otemon (main gate) [大手門] of the castle and Shiomi Tower [潮見櫓] and backtracked to the train.

My next stop was Suikyo Tenmangu [水鏡天満宮], in the dead centre of Fukuoka, following the Fukuoka Navi recommendation.

Afterwards, I walked a little and ended up at Kego Jinja [警固神社], a shrine which holds a ‘laughing’ kitsune statue in the grounds. It is the closest thing to a castle shrine that Fukuoka has.

My last stop in Fukuoka was Sumiyoshi Taisha [住吉神] which was colonised by VAMPS fans as it seems that HYDE favours it (the Osaka one, at least, but… don’t ask me).

On my way back I had some ice cream because hot and hungry.

Finally I took the 15:15 Kamome train to my next destination, Nagasaki [長崎]. This dragon greeted me at the station.

After checking in, I tried to go to the Peace Park, but Google sent me to a random parking lot called “Peace Park” so I decided to go to the Inasayama [稲佐山] Observatory to watch the “one million dollar view”. Fortunately or unfortunately there was a storm brewing – it broke down as I was heading towards the Nagasaki Ropeway [長崎ロープウェイ], then it calmed down, only to start up again once I was almost at the top of the mountain. So normal people watch the Nagasaki skyline, I… guessed the Nagasaki skyline through a storm cloud, because I am cool like that.