Japan: Fukuoka
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Fukuoka is one hour flight from Busan in South Korea

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Fukuoka Japan

The city has the geographical advantage of being close to the Korean Peninsula and the Chinese Continent and from the ancient times, has been serving as a gateway to import Asian culture. In the fourth century B.C., the first rice cultivation in Japan began in this area. The golden seal found in Shikanoshima Island is proof that there was exchange of continental cultures in the first century. During the seventh century till the eleventh century, Korokan--an ancient guest-house--was the hub of cultural exchange. Later, in the sixteenth century, wealthy merchants from Hakata went overseas seeking for profitable business. In 1889, the twenty-second year of the Meiji Era, the City Administration Organization gave birth to Fukuoka City. In 1989, the Asia-Pacific Expo was held to celebrate the First Centennial of the Fukuoka City Administration.

Fukuoka Museum of Art
Photograph by Ladymaggic

Screen Painting at the Kashida Shrine Museum
Image by Ladymaggic

The Tour Bus took us to Kashida Shrine, but its also easy to visit from the subway or by bus. The walk through the enclosed Market from Gion Station to the Canal District is amazing. Flags hang from above, and there are many small stalls with some awesome products.
From Gion subway station, walk 2 minutes, or take the Nishitetsu bus to Canal City Hakata-mae bus stop)
Kushida shrine, the general tutelary shrine in Hakata, was built for the common people during the Heian Period. The huge ginkgo tree in the shrine grounds is Kushida shrine's symbol. The shrine is the starting point of the Oiyama race held on the last day of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival, one of the summers biggest events. The Hakata Historical Museum is within the shrine, and well worth a visit.
The Folk Museum is across the road from the shrine with enactions of various past history and culture giving you a very different view to the very modern Japan of today.

I went on a half day Bus Tour (cost 2Y..$20) which drove us along the coast past the harbour and ferry and also the huge Stadium and Fabulous Tower. We stopped at the Kushida Shrine and the Folk Museum, then drove to the Fukuoka Museum and back via Canal City.
 The subway is excellent and easy to use, and there is a very good bus service around town. To get to the Museum, which is well worth seeing, take a Nishitetsu bus to Hakubutsukan Minami-guchi bus stop.
Using the latest audio and visual technology, the museum introduces the history and life of Fukuoka and Hakata, Japan's window to the world. The museum features a reading room, an experimental learning room, and lecture rooms in addition to the regular and special exhibition rooms. The Gold Seal, a designated national treasure, can be found in the regular exhibition room.
There are also visiting exhibitions which you have to pay extra to view.

Tour Guide outside Kashida Shrine
Photograph by Ladymaggic


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