Fukuoka is the capital of Fukuoka prefecture, and it's one of the biggest cities in Japan. What I liked the best about Fukuoka is even though it's the 6th most populous city in Japan, it has a lot of open spaces, greenery, and little shrines even in the heart of it.
We were led through Fukuoka at a blazing pace by my relatives. Coming from Orange County, which has virtually no public transportation, we were amazed when we took a plane, private car, taxi, ferry boat, bus, train, and subway all within a 24 hour period. Not only was I jet-lagged, I was overwhelmed.
Fukuoka had two of my favorite shrines. I fell in love because they weren't tourist attractions, like I would experience later in Tokyo and Kyoto, crowded with people of all walks of life.
|My favorite shrine in Japan! We were the only ones there|
Another, my favorite shrine of the whole trip, Kushida-jinja, was found tucked away behind some industrial buildings in the heart of the city. It showcases an enormous matsuri float that people will carry and race with in July for the 750-year-old Hakata Gion Yamakasa (博多祇園山笠) matsuri. We were able to get lucky fortunes from the shrine and just take in the grounds without a single other tourist group.
|look how tall this matsuri float is!|
Some of the regional foods you can find in Fukuoka: Hakata ramen, mentaiko, yuzu kosho, and motsunabe.
Hakata ramen is my favorite type of ramen, rich milky-thick pork bone broth called tonkotsu with thin chewy noodles, which here in the states you can find at ramen places like Shin-Sen-Gumi and Jinya Ramen. Mr. Mochi loves Shin-Sen-Gumi, and was very disappointed that I didn't get to try Hakata ramen in Fukuoka because my relatives insisted on feasting us at fancy restaurants.
|leopard print macarons!|
Mentaiko is marinated fish roe (commonly pollock or cod) that is often a filling for onigiri (rice balls) but also used as a side or topping. I happen to love karashi mentaiko,or spicy mentaiko, and one of my favorite hapa uses for it is to mix it with Japanese mayo as a dip!
|look how pretty the display is!|
What will I be featuring for Fukuoka and Kyushu in general? Two recipes, one using mentaiko and another using yuzu kosho, another regional food! I also talk a bit about the local alcohol, shochu, and have fun with a Kyushu-style Bloody Mary, and end with a restaurant review! Stay tuned, or use the list below!
Fries with Mentaiko Mayo Dipping Sauce
Mizuna, Apple, and Jicama Salad with Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette
Yuzu Kosho Bloody Mary