Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fukuoka Sightseeing and Hakata Lantern Festival with Dan & Kath

On their first full day in Japan, Dan and Kath joined us for some gentle sightseeing in Fukuoka while they fought the pesky gremlins of jet lag.

We started with a bike ride along Momochi Beach, past the Yahoo Dome and Fukuoka Tower.

After that, we stopped off at the school then gave Dan and Kath the grand tour of our apartment.
Next was a nap for Mom and a short ride along the Muromi River for me and Dad, before we gathered our strength for an evening in Hakata.

You see, Dan and Kath timed their visit perfectly: their first Saturday was the Hakata Lantern Festival. (Especially nice because my beloved Muromi Lantern Festival was cancelled this year on account of typhoon.) We took this opportunity to check out Kushida Shrine and the Hakata Machiya Furusato-Kan, which is a small museum about old Japanese townhouses.

As you can see, they were already setting up for the lantern festival.
The Machiya Museum was cool - something we hadn't actually seen before, though we've been in the area roughly three billion times.
Rickshaw: along with the noble horse, one of only two modes of transportation we didn't use on this trip.

An old loom for making Hakata-ori fabric.

Next: shopping around Canal City.
Canal City was also getting into the lantern-Halloweeny spirit.

Another stroke of good fortune: as we were wandering around near the covered shopping street (the first of many Dan and Kath would see - there's one in nearly every city in Japan), we stumbled on a gathering parade of geisha. I'd known that there were various such parades happening in conjunction with the festival, but I'd been unable to decipher when and where.

(E-mail readers: click through to the blog to see the videos.)

As the sun set, we drifted back to Kushida Shrine, the center of the lantern festival.

Can you guess what the pattern is?

Geisha. Naturally.

The lanterns around the rest of the shrine were also a neat effect.

We finished the night off with another quintessential Fukuoka experience: a dinner of ramen (both souped and fried) at our favorite yatai street stall.

And thus Dan and Kath were introduced to life in Japan.

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