Fukuoka, Japan – 1st visit

Saturday 24th March 2018

We had originally intended to book an excursion for this port once we boarded in Hong Kong, however the only one we were interested in was already sold out, so we ‘wait listed’.

Friday morning when I checked our shipboard account there were the charges for the following:

Bullet Train, Kokura Castle & Japanese Garden described as:

At the train station, board a bullet train bound for the 400 year old castle town or Kokura. After a 20 minute bullet train ride explore Kokura Castle, originally built in 1602 and today hosting a small museum. Enjoy a stroll through the garden prior to lunch, then a leisurely 2 hour drive back to Fukuoka.

The sun was just appearing over the hills to the east of the city as we sailed toward our berth at the Port off Hakata, which served the beautiful and prosperous City of Fukuoka. We were escorted through the harbor by flocks of sea birds, mostly sea gulls, as they used the power of the wind created by the ships huge superstructure to wheel and dive to return, and repeat the sortie over and over again. It was as though they were using the ship as children use the rides at a theme park, they provided the best entertainment to accompany our breakfast in the Lido.

I have missed the gulls as they are not as plentiful throughout the pacific as they are along the waterfront at home. Sure they mess up the streets and sidewalks, but they also keep our shoreline clean. I miss the gulls …. and the crows …. and all the various birds who visit my feeders every day. So glad that our neighbors two doors to the east have their feeders out.

Skys were clear, with a slight breeze and temperatures forecasted in the 60’s. It turned out to be a perfect day, weather wise. And we did get to see our first cherry blossoms, hopefully the first of many over the next few weeks.

Leaving the ship around 8:30 with a 30 minute ride to the station, there was a delay as we waited for ten o’clock departure. While we were waiting on our departure platform, I watched a ‘regular’ bullet train depart the station and I couldn’t quite how fast it was going when the last car flew by. Probably 60 mph.

When our ‘express’ bullet train arrived, we had one minute to board. As soon as we settled into our seats, we were off and the forward movement was almost imperceptible and in no time we were ‘flying’ along at 170 miles per hour!!! On the way to the station our guide related an announcement in the national news by the national rail authority, apologizing for a recent departure delay of 30 seconds!!

Our tour pretty much followed the description as advertised. Our guide, a 40’s something Japanese mother of two, could have not been more attentive as she herded 20 plus excursionists throughout their visit to the magnificent Kokura castle and gardens. She was the best. I herded a flock of sheep in my youth, so I have sorta have been, there done that.

As our group headed to the distant hotel and our lunch, Barbara pointed out that the tour was ‘rated’ with three ‘hiking’ people icons, meaning there would be a lot of walking and stair climbing …. there was …. over 4 miles for the day, and 7 near vertical floors ascended.

Our Japanese Lunch

Our first cherry tree

Farewell beautiful city, until next time

As I write this we steaming a leisurely 9.8 knots toward our next port; Nagasaki, some 120 miles away for an early Sunday b morning arrival.

Jack W Cummings Far East Adventure 2018

3 thoughts on “Fukuoka, Japan – 1st visit

  1. Another WOW! What an amazing place. I love the architecture of these buildings. The Japanese gardens must be amazing in person. So relaxing (except for your long walk). I loved hearing from you today. There was such a spark in your voice. This vacation suits you well. Big hugs from snowy Washington! (Snow now melted). Lisa

  2. Jack — I can tell you’re definitely back in your element now! As Lisa said in the comment above: there’s a youthful, lyrical spark in your voice! Wonderful to behold, shipmate! Amazing Japan….the sea….a big beautiful ship — the best!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s