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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Todoroki no taki 轟の淹 (Ureshino Onsen 嬉野温泉)

Visited 17.03.2014


Visited the second attraction in the afternoon - Todoroki no taki, a 11 m tall, three stages waterfall. From the bus center, we made our way to the waterfall by following Ureshino River (嬉野川) and the entire journey took about 20 - 30 mins. The peripherals of the waterfall was developed into a park and the best spot to capture a panoramic view of waterfall is from Takimi bridge (滝見橋).

Takimi Bridge - best spot to see Todoroki no taki
Was looking forward to visit the park after knowing that there were about 200 cherry blossom trees planted there. Sad to say, we were slightly early for the cherry blossom full bloom season and managed to see only a few early bloomers. Most of the trees were still bare, but full of pink buds awaiting to reveal their beautiful flowers in about 1 to 2 weeks time. Foresee that it will be picture perfect if the waterfall and flowers are captured together under the lenses.


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Todoroki no taki 轟の淹
佐賀县嬉野町大字下宿丙163-1
http://kankou.spa-u.net/sightseeing.html
~20 - 30 mins walk from Ureshino Onsen Bus Center.

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Toyotamahime Shrine 豐玉姬神社 (Ureshino Onsen 嬉野温泉)

Visited 17.03.2014


Though Ureshino Onsen town seemed secluded and quiet, there are ample markers on the streets to direct visitors to its attractions. Decided to visit two places in Ureshino Onsen after lunch - Toyotamahime Shrine and Todoroki no taki. Toyotamahime (Princess Toyotama) Shrine is located in the center of the Ureshino Onsen town. Approx. 5 mins walk from Ureshino Onsen Bus Center, just follow the signage and keep a look out for a narrow slip road with torii, which will eventually lead to the shrine.


Legend?

Toyotamahine, who is the god of sea's daughter, is being worshipped in this shrine. Because of her alluring appearance and beautiful skin, she was also referred to as the "goddess of beauty skin". A smaller shrine that contains a 1 m long, white porcelain catfish statue, is dedicated to Toyotamahime's catfish servant. Apart from the natural therapeutic effects of Ureshino's hot spring water to the skin, it is believed that praying in this shrine can also bring along healthy and beautiful skin. First scoop some water from the side and pour it over the entire length of the catfish body. Next, touch the catfish statue gently and wish for healthy and beautiful skin.

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Toyotamahime Shrine 豐玉姬神社
佐賀县嬉野市嬉野町大字下宿乙2231-2
http://kankou.spa-u.net/lang/en/sightseeing.html
~5 mins walk from Ureshino Onsen Bus Center.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Ureshino Onsen 嬉野温泉 (Bus Center, Onsen Park, Siebold no Yu, Footbaths)

Visited 17.03.2014 - 18.03.2014

Background: 

Ureshino Onsen in Saga Prefecture is named as the top three hot spring for beautiful skin in Japan by Satoshi Fujita, an expert on hot spring, alongside Hinokami Onsen in Shimane Prefecture and Kitsuregawa Onsen in Tochigi Prefecture. Colourless and silky hot spring waters contains sodium bicarbonate which removes hardened skin, washes away skin oils and secretions, and leaves a smooth sensation on skin. Not too commercialised at this point in time, one will feel that time has turned back when strolling along the streets in Ureshino Onsen town - the tranquility which I cherished a lot these days.

Apart from Toyotamahime Shrine and Todori no taki, below are some other spots that you will come across while exploring this little hot spring town.

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Other highlights:

(1) Bus Center & Tourist Information Center

Left: Bus Center & Tourist Information Center; Right: Mascot of Ureshino Onsen
Gateway to Ureshino Onsen, this is the first place you will visit if commuting via Ureshino line JR Bus. In the Tourist Information Center, housed in the bus center, you are collect useful brochures and maps from the staff. Was glad to speak to a English/Mandarin speaking staff who was on duty that day. Got their help to arrange for hotel pick up service from the bus terminal. Also utilised the lockers to safe keep our luggage while we toured the hot spring town in the afternoon.



(2) Onsen Park



Managed to slip in some time to visit this park opposite Warakuen in the morning. Spotted this Olle marker in the park.
Originated from Jeju, Olle are designated trekking trails enabling hikers to come closer to nature, rich history and culture of a place while going through this activity. In 2014, a collaboration with Jeju brought this concept to several places in Kyushu and currently there are about 15 courses to choose from. Ureshino course is about 12.5 km long, requiring approx 4 - 5 hours to complete. The course covers green tea fields (Ureshino being one of the best green tea producers in Japan), Todoroki no taki, Onsen Park and Siebold's Public Bath.  
Ureshino course (in Japanese): http://www.welcomekyushu.jp/kyushuolle/?mode=detail&id=16


(3) Siebold no Yu シーボルトの湯 (Public Bathhouse)



Named after Dr Siebold (a German physician and botanist who stayed in Nagasaki), this Gothic style building has been around since 19th century and has become an important focal point for locals in Ureshino city. Didn't get to utilitse the public bath house during this trip.
Opening hrs: 0600 - 2300 hrs




(4) Footbaths 

Siebold's Footbath
There are two free hot spring footbaths open to public. One of them is located near Siebold no Yu, named as Siebold footbath (シーボルトの足湯) and the other beside Soan Yokocho restaurant.



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Commemorative stamp:


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Video: Ureshino Onsen was featured in one of the episodes of 遇约九州, a travelogue promoting Kyushu. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Soan Yokocho 宗庵 よこ長

Visited 17.03.2014


Ureshino Onsen's gourmet food: Tofu soup, otherwise known as onsen yudofu, is a specialty of Ureshino Onsen. In this small onsen town, beancurd is boiled slowly in Ureshino's very own hot spring water. After a while, the water will turn milky and beancurd becomes more silky in texture. Why? The hot spring water causes the proteins in the tofu to dissolve and gives rise to the change in colour of water - a phenomenon which we normally do not see if this is boiled in water.

Due to the popularity of onsen yudofu, many restaurants here are offering this specialty dish on their menu. Came to Soan Yokocho, which is by far the most widely publicized restaurant (at least I have seen it being featured on tv programs a couple of times). English menu was also available in the shop.

Special yudofu set lunch
Ordered two different set meals, each set comes with rice, pickles and side dishes:
- Normal set (湯どうふ定食): 790 yen (*850 yen after 1 Apr 2014)
- Special set (特選湯どうふ定食): 990 yen (*1,080 yen after 1 Apr 2014), which comes with seafood (salmon and prawn) in the soup.

Delicious!
Thought the soup was going to be bland on the first look. However, with vegetables and seafood simmered together in the soup and the additional touch of soybean flavour which was introduced as the beancurd gradually "melted" during the cooking process, all these elements combined to make this soup exceptionally tasty. The beancurd became silkier in texture, well-balanced between firm and soft. Every sip of the soup comes with a sense of satisfaction and exclamation on how a simple soup dish can be so fulfilling! Definitely a must try gourmet food for anyone who comes to Ureshino Onsen.

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Soan Yokocho 宗庵 よこ長
843-0301 佐賀県嬉野市嬉野町下宿乙2190
http://yococho.com/
Opening hrs: 1000 - 2100 hrs (Closed on Wed)
~5 mins walk from Ureshino Onsen Bus Terminal.


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Video: Restaurant was featured in 遇约九州, a travel programme on Kyushu. Scroll to 3:50 for their recommendation.

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Takeo Onsen JR Station 武雄温泉駅 , Kairodo Saga Beef Sukiyaki Bento 佐賀牛すき焼き弁当


Takeo Onsen JR Station, along Sasebo line.

The following limited express trains stop at this station:
(1) Limited Express Midori train, commutes between Hakata & Sasebo.
(2) Limited Express Huis Ten Bosch train, commutes between Hakata & Huis Ten Bosch.
Time taken to travel from Hakata to Takeo Onsen is ~70 mins.

This train station will also become part of Kyushu Shinkansen - West Kyushu route, which is currently under construction. West Kyushu route will run from Takeo Onsen to Nagasaki, passing by Ureshino Onsen, Omura and Isahaya. However, service is expected to start only from 2023 onwards.

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Remember...

Apart from Ureshino Onsen, the other fond memory I had of Saga Prefecture was its beef ekiben! Sold by the cafe "Kairo-do" located within Takeo Station JR Station, this "Saga Beef Sukiyaki Bento (佐賀牛すき焼き弁当)" has been voted the best in Kyushu for two consecutive years in 2012 and 2013.
Saga has always been well known for its high quality marbled beef. But what surprised me was A5 grade beef, the highest standard among all, is utilised for this ekiben! Be overwhelmed by the sweet fragrant sukiyaki sauce when you unveiled the packaging. Well-marinated meat is laid over rice, which is already infused with the rich flavours of both the sauce and beef. Tender and juicy beef is so appetising that makes one yearn for more!

Priced at 1,300 yen (~15 SGD), this ekiben is definitely worth a try!

Kairodo (カイロ堂)'s website: http://kairodo.com/

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What's nearby? 

(1) Tourist Information Center, located within the train station.

(2) Takeo Onsen, a hot spring town which traces its history almost 12 centuries back, is about 15 mins walk away from the train station. Will want to explore Takeo Onsen and Takeo city on my next trip.

Clear directions to bus stop for Ureshino line JR Bus.
(3) JR Bus for Ureshino Onsen
Bus fee = 660 yen
Follow directions to the bus stop and board the Ureshino line (嬉野線) JR Bus heading for Ureshino Onsen. 30 mins to hourly bus interval and the time taken to Ureshino Onsen Bus Terminal is about 30 mins.
Bus schedule: http://www.jrkbus.co.jp/rosen_map/ureshino_route01.html

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Commemorative stamps: 


Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Day 3 Itinerary: Saga 佐賀, Ureshino Onsen 嬉野温泉

Day 3: 17.03.2014
* Day 1 of 5 Days JR Kyushu Rail Pass (Northern Area)

Todoroki no taki
Breakfast: MOS Burger @ Hakata JR Station Chikusi Exit

Hakata JR Station 博多駅 (1032 hrs) > Takeo Onsen JR Station 武雄温泉駅 (1141 hrs)
by Midori Express 7.

Takeo Onsen > Ureshino Onsen Bus Center 嬉野温泉バスセンター
by JR Kyushu Bus Ureshino line. Fee = 640 yen.

Lunch: Tofu soup @ Soan Yokocho 宗庵 よこ長

Visited:
(1) Toyotamahime Shrine 豐玉姬神社
(2) Todoroki no taki 轟の淹

Check in: Warakuen 和楽園

DinnerWarakuen 和楽園

- End of Day 3 -

Monday, February 16, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Tetsunabe 鉄なべ

Visited 16.03.2014


Tetsunabe started off as an Izakaya and became well-known for their pan fried dumplings or yaki gyoza. So far, most of the gyoza I had was during visits to ramen shop, typically ordered as side-dishes. What makes their gyoza stand out from the conventional ones?
(1) These handmade gyoza are smaller than usual, which means each gyoza fits one mouth nicely.
(2) They served in the piping hot iron pan, right off the stove.

Wanted to visit the main shop which is located near Gion subway station. Later found out that they have a smaller branch in Fukuoka Parco, which is easily accessible via Tenjin's underground shopping street. [Note: Could not locate any information on this branch from Fukuoka Parco and Tetsunabe main page. Branch may have closed down, therefore will be safer to patronise the main shop.]


Ordered a 10 + 6 pieces pan fried gyoza and 7 pieces gyoza in soup. Skin of the pan-fried gyoza was thin and crispy, sealing the juicy meat and cabbage fillings - simply irresistible! Their secret ponzu sauce elevates the flavours of the delicious gyoza further. Would recommend the pan fried version more than the ones in soup. Apart from gyozas, other popular dishes that Tetsunabe has to offer include stewed chicken wings and potato salad. Simple yet delicious, this is a local delicacy not to be missed when you visit Fukuoka.

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Tetsunabe Main Shop 鉄なべ
http://www.tetsunabe.co.jp/
3 mins walk from Gion Subway Station Exit 5.
Opening hrs: 1700 - 0000 hrs

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine 太宰府天满宫

Visited 16.03.2014

The main hall (Honden); Kisa no ume on the left and Tobi ume on the right
History. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is an important landmark in Dazaifu city. It is sacred to the memory of Michizane Sugawara (菅原道真) famously known as the God of literature or calligraphy. In 901 A.D., Michizane was demoted from a high ranking government official and sent to exile in Dazaifu, where he died two years later. Michizane is celebrated as a man, pure in heart and deed, and after his death, he was deified and worshiped as a god in Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, which is built on the site of his grave. Many people, especially students, make their way to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine to pray for excellence in academic studies.

Top left: Taikobashi; Top bottom: bronze statue of ox at the entrance.
Layout. Exit Nishitetsu Dazaifu station and turn right. Walk to the end of Omotesando and turn left as you approach the bronze statue of an ox. Cross the Taikobashi (太鼓橋) which is made up of three bridges - the first arched bridge represents the past, next flat bridge the present and last arched bridge the future. Shinji ike (心字池) is just beneath the bridges and the name of the pond came about because it resembles the character "heart" (心). The first shrine was built in 905 A.D. and a larger structure was later constructed in 919 A.D. but was destroyed by war and fire. The current main hall (Honden), which displayed fine and intricate Monoyama style architecture, was constructed in 1591 and has been preserved in the same state since then. The main hall has also been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.


Plum. As there are about 6,000 plum trees in the compound, the shrine is popular with visitors especially during the spring season. There are two plum trees planted on both sides of the main hall. The one of the right is called Tobi ume or flying plum (飛梅). The name came from the legend of this plum tree uprooting itself from Kyoto (where Michizane came from) to reunite with Michizane in Dazaifu. Unfortunately, almost all of the flowers of Tobi-ume have already withered during my visit - the best time to witness the bloom is in late January. The tree on the left side is named Kisa no ume (皇后の梅) and was planted in 1922 when Teimei Kogo (貞明皇后) came to the shrine for worship. Most of the plum trees are found in the park located outside the main hall. Made use of the remaining time before the shrine was closed for the day to admire these beautiful late bloomers.


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Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine 太宰府天满宫
〒818-0117 福岡県太宰府市宰府4丁目7番1号
Opening hrs:
Jun - Aug: 0630 - 2000 hrs
Sep - May: 0630 - 1900 hrs
http://www.dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/en


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Video: Scroll to 40:10 for 遇约九州's feature on Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station 太宰府駅, Dazaifu Starbucks スターバックス太宰府天満宮店



Dazaifu Station, the terminus station on Nishitetsu Dazaifu line.
* JR Kyushu Rail Pass does not cover Nishitetsu operated lines.

Transfer at Futsukaichi Station (二日市駅) to Dazaifu line. Approx 5 mins train ride between both train stations. 

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What's nearby? 

(1) Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, the most prominent landmark & attraction in Dazaifu city.

(2) Kasanoya かさの家 



Red bean mochi cake, otherwise beautifully known as plum tree branch cake (梅枝ヶ餅), is a snack famous in this area.
History: Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine was built in memory of Michizane Sugawara (菅原道真), a famous poet and politician during Heian Period of Japan (794 - 1185). It was said that when Michizane Sugawara was battling with hunger while working in Dazaifu, an old lady handed him a plum tree branch which has a piece of warm red bean cake inserted into it. That was how the name of this red bean cake came about.

There are many shops selling this snack along Omotesando which stretches from the train station to the shrine. Came to Kasanoya and bought one to try just before the shop closed for the day. Simple yet delectable snack - sweet red bean filling and lightly toasted, chewy mochi skin. 

(3) Dazaifu Starbucks スターバックス太宰府天満宮店

Exterior of Starbucks


As you walk along Omotesando, there is one shop that will surely catch your attention. I must say this is most unique and artistically designed Starbucks branch I have seen so far in my life. Designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma ( 研吾), he wanted to create a fusion between traditional and modern culture using natural materials such as wood and bamboo. Numerous wooden sticks intersecting each another in an repetitive fashion created a frame on top of the rustic cemented walls. Unexpectedly, the finished product looked aesethically pleasing. You can't help exclaiming in excitement (internally) as you scan every corner of this piece of artwork, while enjoying your cup of coffee in a totally different ambience. 

Interior of Starbucks.



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Commemorative stamps: 




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Motoyoshiya 吉本屋

Visited 16.03.2014

Spot the infamous blackish and oily exhaust vent!
After an enjoyable tea break at River Flow (リバーフロー 紅茶の店), we decided to walk back to Yanagawa train station and along the way, we would stop by Motoyoshiya for steamed eel rice. Thought we could avoid the lunch hour queue, but at 2 pm in the afternoon there were four to five groups of guests standing in front of this two storey tall, traditional Japanese style house. Got to see the infamous blackish and oily exhaust vent where the aroma of grilled eel is continuously being sucked out from the kitchen and introduced to the environment, luring patrons to this restaurant. Had to wait for about half an hour before seats were available. Sat down comfortably on the tatami mats and ordered a grilled eel set each.


Secret sauce. Yanagawa is famous for unagi no seiro mushi (鰻の蒸籠蒸), which is essentially grilled eel put on rice and steamed. There are numerous restaurant here offering this famous traditional dish and Motoyoshiya has been around for more than 300 years! Eel is dipped into its secret sauce and is grilled to golden brown. Next, the grilled eel is put on top of the rice and steamed twice in a bamboo basket. The dish is garnished with shredded egg just before served. One thing that I always hope for when eating eel is that the fine bones are removed cleanly from the meat. Motoyoshiya did quite a good job in this, at least I was not pricked by any bones during the course of eating. Though the meat is tender, I found the meat slightly charred to my liking. What I like most about this dish was its fragrant rice which is soaked up with the light, savoury sauce during the steaming process. Every mouthful of rice was so satisfying to my tastebuds and I gobbled up the entire portion of rice within minutes! Though I am not a big fan of eel, I will still recommend to give this dish a try. I will definitely eat this again for the sake of its secret sauce and rice.  



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Motoyoshiya 吉本屋
福岡県柳川市旭町69
Opening hrs: 1030 - 2100 hrs
Approx 12 mins walk from Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station. 

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - River Flow リバーフロー 紅茶の店

Visited 16.03.2014



Was reading a travel guide on Kyushu and stumbled across this picture of a heart shaped tea cup, which was served by River Flow, a tea house in Yanagawa. Paying this tea house a visit soon had to be put into my list of places to visit in Yanagawa (apart from tasting its famous steamed eel rice) for this trip!

Went for the river punting cruise, the activity most tourists would engage in on their debut trip to Yanagawa, also referred to the city of river. Alighted at Okihata (the end point of an hour long river punting cruise), and made our way to River Flow located in the vicinity. A two storey shophouse which overlooks the scenic river, River Flow sells more than 50 different varieties of tea. Interior of the tea house was decorated with European style wallpaper, wooden furnishing and parquet flooring - all these features created a homely and cosy ambience for guests to relax in. First floor is their tea shop, while the upper deck has about 6 tables for in house dining.

Original intent was to take a short break here over a cup of tea. However, we could not resist not ordering their limited period lunch set (1,350 yen), which was introduced for Dolls Festival, to share. Had two other tea and dessert sets, each comprised of a slice of cake and a pot of tea.


(1) Main course of the lunch set was made up of many delectable small dishes: meat loaf, mackerel with sesame sauce, simmered vegetables, broccoli and bamboo shoot mixed with ume dressing, asparagus and walnut with Japanese dressing, fried beancurd stuffed with sushi rice and soup. Strawberry milk jelly dessert and a pot of tea were served at the end of the meal. The lunch set not only had a good balance of meat and vegetable items and eye appealing plating, tastewise it had exceeded our expectations as well.

(2) Two tea and desserts sets:
- Haruiro Set はるいろセット (850 yen), which comprised of matcha azuki chiffon cake and sakura tea.
- Hina Set ひなセット (850 yen), which comprised of strawberry custard roll cake and original blend tea.
Cakes and tea were served in beautiful and intricate flower patterned porcelain wares. Preferred the chiffon cake beacause the matcha flavour was fully infused in the sponge cake. Both cakes went well with the recommended type of tea.

Overall dinning experience was good. River Flow has a apt setting for people to spend an afternoon here with families and friends, catching up on each other's life, with the company of delicious cakes and aromatic tea. 

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River Flow 紅茶の店
http://tearoom-riverflow.com/
Opening hrs: 1000 - 1930 hrs (Closed on Wed)


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Video: Tea house was featured in 食尚玩家 previously. Scroll to 8:00 for their recommendation. 


Continuation:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Yanagawa River Punting Ride 柳川 川下り

Visited 16.03.2014 (Sun)

Crossed the Taiko bashi to get to Shogetsu Dock, the embarkation point for river punting ride.
Utilised Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sightseeing Ticket (太宰府.柳川観光きっぷ) offered by Ninshitetsu. River punting in Yanagawa is included in this package. From Yanagawa Ninshitetsu Station, exit and turn right to locate the punting information desk. A bus will ferry passengers to the river punting embarkation point at Shogetsu Dock (松月乗船場) which can be easily identified by a red arched Taiko bashi (太鼓橋).

Top left: Squeezed into Shirohori floodgate; Top right: Cafe located on the river bank.
Journey. Yanagawa is referred to as a city of waterways because of the 470 km long canals that run into the city. These canals were constructed surrounding the dysfunctional Yanagawa Castle, more than half a century ago. The punter moves the boat by pushing against the river bed with a long pole. The entire river punt ride takes slightly over an hour to complete; at a decent leisure pace. Punter would provide historical/cultural background of this city and would direct our attention to the scenery or buildings situated along the river bank every now and then - but all spoken in Japanese. The most "thrilling" moments of the punt ride were the times when the punt had to maneuver under the low ceiling bridges. As the boat approached these bridges, the punter would warn all on board passengers to put down their heads or lean forward, and punter himself would have to change from a standing to squat position skilfully and revert after the punt has reappeared from below the bridge every time. There are about 10 such bridges throughout the entire journey. The narrowest passageway was at Shirohori floodgate (城堀水門) where the punter had to adjust the position of the punt such that it would not knock against the stone walls. Passed by a riverside cafe which passengers could request to drop by to order drinks and snacks; plum trees with vibrant colours decorated the banks of the river during the early spring season; spotted ducks waddling leisurely alongside the boats. The disembarkation port is at Okihata; from here, you can make your way to Ohana Villa and Shoto-en, or visit the shophouses located along Inari machi (稲荷町) and Okinohata machi (沖端町).

Top left: Spotted blooming plum blossoms; Bottom right: Punter had to squat when moving beneath the low ceiling bridges.
Bottom left: Strolled down Inari machi and Okinohata machi, on opposite side of the river bank; Right: Disembarkation port.
Festival. Yanagawa celebrates Sagemon Meguri (Yanagawa's Hina Matsuri or Dolls' Festival) from mid February to end March. On the day of our visit, young girls and women, dressed in bright kimono and worn head dresses, rode on the river punts and passed by our punt in the opposite direction (later found out that this event is "Hina dolls water parade" which takes place on the 3rd Sunday of March every year). Colourful sagemon, which are ornaments such as balls, animals and dolls made out of clothes, are unique to Yanagawa and can be found strung together and hung across the canals during this period of time.

Adorable girls dressed in kimono and head dresses occupied rode on the river punts.

Colourful sagemon decorated the canals of Yanagawa.
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Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sightseeing Ticket 太宰府.柳川観光きっぷ

- Priced at 2,930 yen (adults), this ticket can be purchased from both Nishitetsu Tenjin and Yakuin Station. At Nishitetsu Tenjin Station, the ticket counter is located on the second floor, just outside the North Ticket Gate.
- Website (Japanese): http://www.ensen24.jp/kippu/1/; (English): http://www.nnr.co.jp/train/kippura/global/english/ticket/i_dazayana.html

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station 西鉄柳川駅, Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sightseeing Ticket 太宰府.柳川観光きっぷ

Yanagawa Station, on Tenjin Omuta line.
This train station is the gateway to Yanagawa, the city of waterways.


Nishitetsu Tenjin > Yanagawa 
- takes approx. 48 mins by limited express train;
- takes approx 106 mins by local train.


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Dazaifu and Yanagawa Sightseeing Ticket 太宰府.柳川観光きっぷ



-  If you plan to visit both Dazaifu and Yanagawa, I will recommend this sightseeing ticket offered by Nishitetsu. Priced at 2,930 yen (adults), this ticket can be purchased from both Nishitetsu Tenjin and Yakuin Station. At Nishitetsu Tenjin Station, the ticket counter is located on the second floor, just outside the North Ticket Gate.
- This package includes:
  • Nishitetsu train round trip ticket
    • Typical route taken: Tenjin/Yakuin > Yanagawa/Dazaifu > Dazaifu/Yanagawa > Tenjin/Yakuin
    • With this ticket, you can only alight/board at Tenjin/Yakuin, Yanagawa and Dazaifu Station which are all operated by Nishitetsu. 
    • What makes this ticket more attractive is that it can be used over a period of two days. Therefore, one can opt for the following itinerary to explore both places more extensively:
      • Day 1: Tenjin > Yanagawa; Stay over in Yanagawa for the night
      • Day 2: Yanagawa > Dazaifu > Tenjin
    • Visited Yanagawa in the day and left after 3 pm. Though I completed the river punting earlier in the day, I visited two other cafes/restaurants after that which explained why a huge portion of the day was spent in Yanagawa. When I reached Dazaifu, I didn't have much time to explore the area sufficiently as it was nearing the closing hour of the shrine and shops. Could have managed my time better. 
Ferried to the river punting boarding point by bus. 
  • River punting ticket in Yanagawa
    • Upon reaching Yanagawa Station, make your way to punting information desk which is located along a row of shop houses on the right side of the train station (after exiting from the train station).  
    • A bus will disembark in front of the information desk to ferry river punting passengers to the boarding point, Shogetsu Punting Station (松月乗船場).
    • River cruise takes about an hour or so. 
  • Special discount coupons such as
    • 50 yen discount on admission fee to Ohana Villa in Yanagawa
    • 50 yen discount on Yangawa Nishitetsu taxi
    • 100 yen discount on steamed eel rice - restricted to Rokkyu (民芸茶屋六騎) and Unagi no Fuki (うなぎの富貴) restaurant. 
    • 100 yen discount on admission fee to Dazaifu Amusement Park
    • 100 yen discount on bicycle rental at Dazaifu Station

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Day 2 Itinerary: Fukuoka 福岡 (Yanagawa 柳川, Dazaifu 太宰府)  

Day 2: 16.03.2014

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
Breakfast: Ueshima Coffee 上島珈琲 @ Hakata JR Station

Hakata 博多> Tenjin 天神
by subway, via Kuko line. Fee = 250 yen.

Walked to Nishitetsu Tenjin Station.

Bought Nishitetsu Dazaifu & Yanagawa Sightseeing Pack 太宰府.柳川観光きっぷ.
Fee = 2,800 yen. [2,930 yen from 1 Apr 2014 onwards]

Nishitetsu Tenjin > Nishitetsu Yanagawa 西鉄柳川駅
by limited express train via Omuta line.

Nishitetsu Yanagawa > Shogetsu Dock 松月乗船場 
by free shuttle bus.

River Punting from Shogetsu Dock > Okihata

Tea break: 红茶の店 River Flow

Lunch: Unagi no seiro mushi at Motoyoshiya 吉本屋

Nishitetsu Yanagawa > Futsukuchi > Dazaifu 太宰府駅
transfer from Omuta line to Dazaifu line.

Visited Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine 太宰府天満宮.

Tea break: Dazaifu Starbucks スターバックス太宰府天満宮店 

Dazaifu > Futsukuchi > Nishitetsu Tenjin
transfer from Dazaifu line to Omuta line.

Dinner: Tetsunabe 鉄なべ @ Tenjin Parco

Tenjin > Hakata
by subway, via Kuko Line. Fee = 250 yen.

- End of Day 2 -