Ninjinomatsubara (sort of!)
I gotta stop going to place that people blog about. For one thing, they don't give directions very well so when I end up going to these places I get completely lost and irritated. For example, I read in a blog that Ninjinomatsubara had these beautiful forests and if I take a short walk we'll end up at a beach. So that was our first stop this morning. But first, here's our hotel we're staying at. It's literally a hop skip and a jump away from Hakata Station. It's so convenient, I just love it! When leaving the Central Gate (actually it's the east gate) head towards the left. Before even leaving the station parking lot take the left right before Starbucks. Walk about 200 yards and the Hotel Sunroute Hakata will be on the right. There's also 2 Family Marts right next door and across the street from us.
Ninjinmatsubara is about an hour and half from Hakata Station. Just take the subway from Hakata Station towards Karatsu. If you have a rail pass, you only need to purchase the subway ticket from Hakata to Meinohama, which was 300¥. Once it leaves Meinohama Station it turns into a JR train. You don't need to get off (like we did, but we hopped right back on), it will just keep on going. When you get to your destination just show your rail pass to the train dude and you'll be on your way!
When you get to Ninjinomatsubara, you'll see it's a cute little station. There's not even train staff to make sure you paid your fare. There's a little honor box saying to "place your ticket here." I shoulda took a picture of it, but I forgot.
actually, it's the one getting cut off in this pic
When exiting the station, don't follow the path to the left, it will lead to a hospital...
Instead go to the right and follow the road into town
When you get into town, you can either take a right or a left and it's pretty deserted. There's a restaurant and a preschool at the end of the road and nothing else. We didn't want to choose which way to go cause it would probably take up too much time to find the beach. We turned around and went back to the station and headed to Karatsu. See? Not enough directions from the websites that I read.
When we got to Karatsu I had to see the information girl for directions and a map (you should do the same, it's too complicated for me to explain here), but I asked her to show me a few things...Karatsu Burger, Matsukin Shoyu, Karatsu Castle, and the Kawashima Tofu shop. All within walking distance (sort of, if you don't have sore legs like me!)
First stop, Karatsu Burger. Randy was hungry, we didn't have much of a breakfast this morning and it was already 10:30 and he's been up since 4. It's near their shopping arcade
We just ordered the regular "hanbahgah" for 280¥.
I know it doesn't look like much but it was very tasty!
Now we're off to see the castle...this is Yanagi Moat
Isn't this so cute? It was at one of the construction sites
We made it! We never go in but. haha.
After the castle we went to the bus station so we can get some shoyu. This was craziness. Since the girl at the station gave me directions on the bus from JR Station, I had to ask the lady how to get there from the bus station. It took them awhile but they said to take bus #1 at 12:19. Fine. We gotta wait a little bit but that's ok, I can actually sit down and rest. It was about 11:40 at the time. So Randy went looking for more food and said he'll be back. At about 12:00 the lady came running to me and said she made a mistake and that I should take the bus that was at the station now, and the bus driver was waiting for us. But Randy was no where to be found! Ughh! I thanked the bus driver and told him never mind, he could leave. The only problem is that the lady now said the next bus is at 12:40. Damn. Randy walked up 10 minutes later. The bus lady felt bad and she was very nice so I gave her some macadamia nut candy for her troubles.
So we finally get on the bus and the bus driver tells us to get off...This is what I see when I get off the bus:
OHMYGAWWWD. Don't tell me that we went through all that and they're closed! Randy rattled the door and a little boy peeked through the shades and he looked annoyed. We then turned to the left and phew! The store was open!
There's a little tasting section in there and I was able taste a bunch of shoyu and ponzu sauces. They were all very good so it was hard to choose. We went by what was the smallest :) Shoyu gets heavy ya know!
They also make their own amazake ice cream. It's made out of a fermented rice. It wasn't very creamy but it was very tasty.
Damn, after leaving the shoyu store, Randy noticed that it wasn't very far from the station so he decided to start walking back. My feet were sore!! I haven't really recovered from my wisteria trek and now he wants to walk another mile and a half back to the station? :( By the time I got to the tofu store I wasn't in the mood to try and figure out what tofu to taste and buy. I totally passed out on the train for about 40 minutes. Good thing it's a long ride back.
We ate dinner at the train station tonight, their 9th and 10th floors are filled with yummy looking restaurants. We chose a cow tongue restaurant similart to Negishi. It was yummy, and crowded! Before dinner we headed up to the rooftop, there was an observation deck so we could see the city. It was really cute, they had stuff for the little ones to play on.
Even a little train!
The view from up there is crap. Sorry, but the city really isn't pretty and we weren't high enough to see anything.
This restaurant Rikyu is on 9F. You should go early, there was a pretty long line when we left. I think we left around 7.
If you look to the right of him you'll see a bucket full of tongue!!
I shoulda got the one without the curry and more meat. 4 pieces weren't enough.
Belly's full and i'm ready to hit the sack. Ja Mata!