Sunday, May 27, 2018

Fukuoka 2018 Part 5 | Dazaifu + Dinner at Ichiran

We continued onto Dazaifu after visiting Yanagawa as it was on the way back to Tenjin via the Nishitetsu Train. Being the lazy person that I am, I didn't have many expectations for Dazaifu other than knowing it was a temple. (Don't judge me lol) But it ended up being my favorite visit in the whole trip. Read on to see why!

Upon exiting the platform, there is already a small indoor market with TONS of treats for you to try!

We got some mochi with strawberries! Absolutely divine. Japanese strawberries are sweet with a slight tartness that is perfect for the sweet mochi red bean paste. Always always a great idea!

But little did I know it was only the start of a crazy food trip at Dazaifu.

This long road leading to the temple is a *haven* for snacks for you try as well as bring home. Also! It's important to note that there is an automated money changer before you reach this road so you can get some cash there if you need it.

First thing I got was an Amao Strawberry Soft Serve! I thought it was only right to have Fukuoka Strawberry Ice Cream in Fukuoka! It is - no surprise - amazing.

Next, we tried this Mentaiko Fish Cake thingy. (I don't know what it's called but I'm sure you guys have seen street food like this before all around Asia) Nothing too special about this one, but you can definitely taste the salty smoky Mentaiko.

They also Plum Wine for you to try! I love the dark sweet and sour taste of plum wine. Perfect for any season!

Yep, I had ice cream again. I was honestly looking for Tofu Ice Cream because I remember visiting Fukuoka once before and having Tofu Soft Serve and it was *amazing* but unfortunately never found any in this trip. Huhu. So I ordered Sakura Mochi flavor from a place called Tomi Sujahta Silk Ice which has the most flavors in the many Ice Cream shops on this road. I highly recommend you just go straight there for all your ice cream needs. They have flavors like Sweet Potato, Black Sesame, and Hokkaido Squash! MUST TRY THEM ALL!!!

Unfortunately, they close at around 5PM so I only got to try this Sakura Mochi one.

Not sure if this is year round, but I assume they wrapped the torii in pink fabric to signify spring!

From that view, if you look to your left, you can see the famous Starbucks designed by Kengo Kuma! So beautiful seeing it in person! I've actually had the opportunity to attend two of Kengo Kuma's lectures and I love his close working relationship with wood in his design. Absolutely beautiful!

Once you pass the pink Torii, you can either go right or left. First go to the right because the main temple is to the left!

On the right path is a small display area. Since it was spring, they had these beautiful understated pink lights.

To the left of the display is a small prayer area.

A beautiful juxtaposition of minimalist modern art and rustic temple architecture.

Now moving onto the left of the initial area!

Of course, it wouldn't be a Japanese temple without a beautiful build up leading to the temple.

Going straight from here, you can reach the main temple. But if you look to your left...

There's an area for hanging wishes! For free, if I'm not mistaken.

Most of these wishes are apparently students praying for good grades!

Now moving onto the temple!

Don't forget to wash up first!

To the left of the main prayer area is a place to buy charms and other artifacts.

To the right of the main prayer area is a beautiful spot to take photos! It's where I took the photo at the start of this post!

Afterwards, we went to Ichiran for an early dinner!!! Ichiran is located just outside the station as well. After exiting, simply go right and you should be able to spot the iconic red green colors of the Ichiran building. To commemorate the coming of spring, they switched their bowls to pentagons instead of the usual round ones. In my opinion, pentagon bowls are much easier to handle. The soup is also easier to drink on the points of the pentagon. Haha!

It can be a little scary ordering from the vending machine. Thankfully though, there weren't any people behind us. And the staff are quite helpful. Plus! There are English instructions. While you use the vending machine, staff will give you pieces of paper that you give together with your order slip from the vending machine. On the paper, you answer the smaller details such as richness of your soup, hardness of your noodle, level of spice, and any extra orders you might want with your ramen!

I've honestly been waiting for this moment for a long time. So surreal finally getting to do it!!!

Ichiran is famous for its individual booth set-up. This is so you can enjoy your meal without any distractions. There's also convenient bag hooks and coat hangers so you can enjoy your food without any problem at all.

I ordered their ramen with extra slices of chashu and an egg!

I pretty much checked the options for the ramen that were recommended by Ichiran on the paper and definitely did not regret anything! As expected, Ichiran ramen is incredibly good! Nothing too crazy though. At the end of the day, ramen is ramen. I would say it doesn't veer too far away from say, Ippudo here in Manila. It's definitely better, of course. But not by a lot. Haha!

Stay tuned for the remainder of my Fukuoka travel series! Up next, Nagasaki! :)

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