No Smoking in the Streets!
Before I went to Japan, I read in other travellers' tips and guidebooks that restaurants and hotels could be unpleasantly smoky. This worried me a bit, my ability to tolerate second hand smoke has declined since smoking in public places has been banned in the UK.
I need not have worried. Times seem to have changed a bit. We found that hotels had no smoking floors, the trains were no smoking except for one carriage, and that smoking was confined to designated areas in stations and cafes.
In Fukuoka, smoking was even banned in the street (and most people seemed to comply with this).
Go pet a cow
Cows are the traditional labor of the fields, and therefore a revered animal. They can bring fortune, health and prosperity.
It is considered a good look omen to pet the cow, particularly on their heads. There are statues hiding all over the area, mostly at historic points of interest.
The photo shown here is outside of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.
From Fukuoka, take Nisheitetsu-Dazaifu local train from Futsukaichi Station. From Dazaifu, it is ~5 minute walk. Maps and directions are prevalent in Dazaifu area.
Hojoya, one of Hakata's three main festival
Hojoya, is one of Hakata’s three main festivals, held in September in Hakozaki Shrine in Fukuoka-city, and is a celebration of living creature with a history of over 1000 years.
Hundred of doves and carp will be released on September 18 in reverence of loving things, and a solemn mikoshi ( shrine) procession take place on the 12th.
Most visitors are usually happy just to amble about, doing little more than munch on grilled food, gulp cold beer and amuse themselves with traditional sugar-cutting or goldfish catching games.
Join the cheerful crowd in colorful yukatas and experience a rare, unhurried slice of old-time Fukuoka.
The name Dontakuis a corruption of the Dutch word Zontag, meaning Sunday.
The festival is said to have started as a New Year parade of merchants going to the local lord’s residence to celebrate is held on May 3 and 4 in Hakata.
About 30,000 of local townspeople take part, and its attractions include the traditional
Matsuribayashi parade, a fancy-dress parade and a shamoji band.
Matsuribayashi is a parade of children and adults in traditional dress, led by the three gods Fuku-no-Kami, Ebisu and Daikoku, on horseback.
The kasahoko, a float that forms part of the Matsuribayashi parade.
It is believed in Fukuoka that babies carried under the
kasahoko will grow up strong and healthy.
The shamoji band parade around the town beating time with shamoji, the wooden spatulas used for serving rice.
Tamaseseri, is a dynamic festival
Tamaseseri, a lively New Year’s Festival held on January 3, in Hakozaki Shrine in Fukuoka-city, and is a traditional form of fortune-telling.
Several hundred men wearing lion cloths compete on piggy-back in two teams, the “sea” team and the “land” team” team, for possession of a wooden ball.
If the sea team wins, a bountiful fishing catch is predicted for the year; if the land team wins a rich harvest is predicted.
Hakata-ningyo dolls are unglazed bisque dolls made of painted fired clay.
They often depict beautiful women and children, or characters from famous Noh play.
They are popular for their graceful curves.
Hakata-za, is a Kabuki theater
Hakata-za, is a theater for Kabuki play, musicals, Takarazuka Revue and variety of other shows that are performed monthly.
Hakata-za, is located in the Hakata Riverain in Nakasu, and is one of most popular destinations in Fukuoka-city.
Why don’t you watch Japanese traditional play Kabuki?
[Back to Fukuoka-City]
A Short walk from Nakasu-kawabata Subway Station.
Hakata Gion Yamagasa
Hakata Gion Yamagasa, is a summer festival in Hakata Fukuoka, takes place from July 1 to 15, held at Kushida Jinsha.
During the festival, large floats called Kazariyama decorate Fukuoka's streets, and early in the morning of the 15th the Oiyama is held, where men race through the street carrying one-ton "portable shrines."
A spectacle that must be seen to be believed.
[Back to Fukuoka-City]
Hakata Machiya, is a folk museum
Hakata Machiya is a folk museum shows the life and culture of Hakata Fukuoka.
1)Exhibition hall, you can find the many faces of the Hakata way of life.
2)Machiya hall, the superb example of traditional architecture has been moved here and restored to provide a glimpse into the past.
3)Souvenir hall, you can pick up traditional craft items here as gifts and souvenirs.
[Back to Fukuoka-City]
- A 5 minute walk from Gion Subway Station.
Using alternative energy and recylcing
In our energy hungry world, I'm always appreciative of people who have decided to adopt more environmentally friendly ways to obtain energy. While they probably do it for mostly selfish reasons, such as their own benefit, in the long run it benefits us all. Pictured here are some solar panels that have been set up in Ohori park. I'm assuming the energy collected is used to power the lights in the park, or something along the same lines.
Other things to know about environementally friendly Japan. If you eat at anywhere fast food, you will generally be expected to sort your garbage at the garbage cans. Paper, plastics and food/liquid will all be separated by you. The Japanese and the environment will love you for it.
What's wrong with this picture
Okay, all you Brits are looking at this picture thinking "Jolly Good, those Japanese sure do have things sorted out correctly, don't they?" But, if you're a North American like me, you're thinking "Why can't everyone just drive on the 'right' side of the road!!!" This was my first experience in a country where people drive on the left hand side of the road. I must say that my heart jumped right into my throat the first time my cab turned into the left hand lane!
The currency in Japan is the Yen. The note pictured is the 1000 Yen bill which is the smallest. The other notes are 5000 and 10000 yen. The coins come in 500,100,50,10,5 and 1 yen denominations.
When travelling to Japan the best thing to do is to change your money into Yen cash (or if you are coming from the US then American Dollars is fine) as Japan is a cash based society. It is very common to walk around with the equivalent of $500US in cash or more!
The debit card and credit card craze of most societies has never caught on in Japan. Most foreign credit cards are not accepted in shops, restaurants and even some hotels. It is possible to get a cash advance from a Visa card at some ATM machines or banks but don't count on it!
To find out how much the Yen is worth click on the link below to launch the currency convertor.
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Sorry that this picture did...
Sorry that this picture did not turn out very clear. It's a beer vending machine - right out on the street. I doubt such a vending machine would last very long in the USA... In Japan, the drinking age is 18, I believe. Supposedly, no one under 18 will buy beer from these machines because to do so would be breaking the law and one would therefore bring shame upon the family.
Kimonos are expensive. To put...
Kimonos are expensive. To put one on, you need the help of experienced people, and about an hour of free time. This kimono was lent to me for my graduation from the International program at Seinan Gaukin Daigaku (University). I could only take very small steps while wearing it, so it took me a while to reach the university. Along the way, I was greeted warmly by nearly every Japanese person I passed. To see a gaijin (foreigner) wearing a kimono is apparently not that usual.
Food Culture: Tea.
Don't forget, what's a meal without GREEN TEA?
So, below are types of TEA:
3 grades are found:
Gyokuro: Highest grade that come out in May.
Secha: Popular medium grade with tender leaves picked in May or June.
Bancha: Roasted or mixed with other ingredients such as brown rice to form robust tea. Usually served at restaurants. Hojicha is roasted bancha.
Powdered Matcha: Usually used at tea ceremony. I love this one :-).
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