Friday, May 01, 2009

JAPAN SAKURA TRIP April 2009: Last 2 days

Day 8 13th/April Monday: Suizen-ji temple, Fukuoka, Hakatta ramen, Canal city, Hakatta Ningyo, sukiyaki dinner

Suizen-ji is reputed to be one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan. Inside here, there are many replicas of other famous landmarks in Japan, like Mt. Fuji and others.

We arrived at Suizen-ji early morning, and there were not many tourists yet.

This big Japanese garden welcomed us as we strolled into the park.

Drinking this water cleanses your body and you will stay young forever ;)

There are many scenic spots, like this...

and I love this gorgeous pine tree.

Notice Mt. Fuji at the background?

From here, we headed towards Fukuoka, and it took us almost 2 hours. Lunch was the first thing in mind, and the Ramen stadium in Canal city was our target.
Canal city is huge. It has many high end shops, including 13 cinemas, and 2 hotels

Did we cycle there? I forgot.

This robot walked towards us and said in English," Welcome to Canal City" How nice.....

Entrance to Ramen stadium through this big plate. There are many Ramen cum gyoza shops inside. You are supposed to share with your partners and try as many shops as you can. #9 set the record of eating 3 shops continuously in one go!
#6 and I managed only 2 :(

Hakatta Ramen claimed to use mainly pork in their soup preparation. However, we felt that it was too porky for us, though the noodle itself tasted very springy and delicious.

The second shop we tried used chicken stock, and we liked it better. Kyushu people would murder us if they read this.

After lunch we had some free time shopping.
Well you know who was the shopping queen with the mobile bank?

Some strayed, hunting for big toys....

Some roamed till the top floor and were almost lost. Click play button to watch.

Interestingly, everyone met back at this " Cold stone" creamery and had a gala time with those delicious ice cream. These girls worked with high morale, singing as they go along, reminding me of 'Cold stone' in California.
Click play to check:

As the majority preferred to shop at more typical, smaller Japanese shops, we went underground and started to search for Hakatta Ningyo ( Clay dolls ) and other souvenirs.

We were lucky to locate 3 shops, including 2 supermarkets, which stocked these pretty clay dolls. A couple of these eventually landed in Malaysia :)

There was a last minute change in our dinner plan. Originally, we were supposed to try Korean style BBQ beef, called yakiniku. However, #8 was so fascinated with the 'Sukiyaki' meal we had earlier that he requested for a change. So we landed up in this nice restaurant, for the last dinner in Japan for this trip.
Following the Japanese tradition, men sit first, then the ladies may enter ;p hehe.


This was just the beginning

As usual, sashimi followed. Good!

Then a small plate of tempura chipped in.

Eventually, the main meal, marble Nagasaki beef sukiyaki, was the killer.

This is how it looked during cooking...

If you like to learn the secret of Sukiyaki preparation, click here:
The sukiyai was good, but we felt the beef was too thin. Such thickness we had before was for shabu shabu. Those beef for Sukiyaki were thicker, while those for yakiniku was the thickest.

The last dish was kishimen, a Nagoya famous noodle, in sukiyaki beef sauce.
It's white, like our Koay-Teow.
However, it was thicker, and made of wheat.
Taste was good, but everyone was too full.
Let's call it a day.

Day 9 14th/April Tuesday: Japan, we will be back!
This is our last day in Japan:(.
It had been a wonderful trip, excellent timing for sakura, beautiful weather, good company, delicious food, and tons of laughter........

However, every event must come to an end.

While we bid Japan farewell today, we will be back. Thus we said" Matta Ai-i mashyo" Which means, 'see you again'
Perhaps in Nagoya, or Sendai ;)

In the airport, Choon Howe caught this loving picture of a father and daughter :)

The rest of the group still looked fresh, despite 9 days away from home. Really?
Suddenly, I missed my Char Koay Toew and Hokkian mee.
I also missed Cindy, my dog;).
There is no place like home, right?
.................Cheers :)

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