February 2016


In Japan, Setsubun takes place on February 3rd annually. It literally means the time of seasonal transitions, and this transitional day falls on the day before the beginning of each of the four seasons. In particular, Risshun (the beginning of spring) is considered significant because it is the beginning of the entire year as well. Thus, Japanese people historically celebrated the day by getting rid of Oni (demons) and inviting Fuku (good luck). In practice, people throw beans (likened to Oni) outside the house while chanting “Oniwa Soto, Fukuwa Uchi “ (Demons, go away, good luck, come inside). Some follow a tradition of eating as many beans as their age.


I wanted to introduce some Setsubun events in our area. If you missed these events this year, try again next year.


Setsubun Festival at Kushida Shrine and Tochoji (Tocho Temple)

A large Setsubun festival is held every year on February 3rd at both Kushida Shrine and Tochoji.


At Kushida Shrine, you can view a huge display of Otafuku mask (humorous mask of a woman) and participate in bean-throwing events that take place at the Noh Stage approximately every 30 minutes.


At Tochoji, actors wearing the masks of Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Luck) and Otafuku participate in a very lively bean-throwing festival. Amazake (sweet fermented rice drink) is also served. The bean-throwing events take place every 30 minutes and Amazake is served until it is gone.


When: February 3rd, every year


Where: Kushida Shrine (1-14 Kami Kawabata, Hakata-ku)

Access: 5 minute walk from Gion Station on Subway Line

Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Admission: Free


Where: Tochoji (2-4 Gokushomachi, Hakata-ku)

Access: at Gion Station on Subway Line

Hours: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (Pre-festival Day 2/2 1:00 pm to 6:00pm)

Admission: Free

Oyster Shacks in Itoshima

Do you like oysters? They are my favorite. I like them raw, grilled, fried, cooked in broth or sautéed with rice.


Today, I wanted to introduce you to oyster shacks in Fukuoka, where you can eat oysters caught on the same day.


Itoshima, for example, has some 28 oyster shacks operated by oyster farmers themselves. In addition to oysters, you can order other seafood such as shrimp, cherry clams, and foods like sausage and rice. You are encouraged to take your own favorite fixings and seasonings such as cheese and dressings. Choose how you would like your oysters cooked: grilled on gas or charcoal.


My recommendation is using charcoal since it gives such a delicious aroma and an amazing flavor to the food. However, your clothes can collect ashes from charcoal. If you do not want to be covered with ashes, you can select shacks that rent you a Haori (short kimono coat).


Oyster shacks are in operation typically from October to the end of March. Prices fluctuate, but oysters cost about 800 yen per kilo. A typical platter may cost 1,000 yen (1.3 kg).


I urge you to arrive early if you visit an oyster shack on weekends, as the waiting line tends to be very long. (You may have to wait for an hour or more.)


<Oyster Shacks Information Site>


  • You can search other travel information on Itoshima on this site.

In Itoshima, you can also visit charming shops selling local crafts, goods, and cafes. Why not make a whole day out of visiting Itoshima?

Monet Exhibition

Claude Monet is one of the most well known French Impressionist painters. He was particularly fond of bold patterns and colors found in Japanese Ukiyoe paintings. He even had a Japanese garden built on his own property.


There is a Monet exhibition taking place in Fukuoka. According to legend, Monet painted his famous Water Lilies for the benefit of Japanese painters. In June 2006, some of the Water Lilies collections traveled to Ohara Museum in Okayama from Giverny. This year in Fukuoka, you will be able to view some 90 pieces of his paintings including the famous Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge. This is truly a special opportunity to see Monet’s work locally. I highly recommend it.


Monet Exhibition in Fukuoka

From “Impression, soleil levant” to “Water Lilies”

Works of Art on Loan from Musee Marmottan Monet

Where: Fukuoka City Museum

Tickets: Advanced tickets for adults – 1,300 yen, at the door – 1,500 yen

Open: 12/22/2015 to 2/21/2016

Closed on: 12/28/15 through 1/1/16, 1/4/16, 1/12/16, 1/18/16, 1/25/16, and 2/1/16

Official website: https://monet-fukuoka.jp/

Contact: 092-531-1111

Comic books, CD/DVD, Figurines

Many are interested in Japan’s pop culture. I imagine this interest led to some people to study Japanese. There are some shops that will meet your needs in the area. You might want to consider sending some items via post instead of carrying them all back to your home.


Bookoff is a used comic books store that provides a wide range of graphic novels spanning the very old to the most recent. Prices begin as low as 100 yen per book. In addition to comic books, Bookoff sells non-anime novels, magazines, CD and DVDs, Blu-rays, etc.

Super Bazaar North Tenjin

North Tenjin 6th/7th fl, 4-30-20 Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

Business hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

Ohashi Station West Exit Store (very close to NILS)

1-17-1 Ohashi, Minami-ku, Fukuoka City

Business hours: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm

Akiba Sofmap

Sofmap provides a genuine Akiba experience in Fukuoka. In addition to CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and figurines, you can find the most comprehensive stock of trading cards and PC games software in Fukuoka.

Bic Camera Tenjin #1 Building B Block 1st/2nd fl

1-25-1 Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City

Business hours: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm