July 2014


During the rainy season (Tsuyu), you can enjoy a variety of Ajisai flowers all across the city. Hydransea means “the container of water”—perfect for the rainy season. There are many different colors of Ajisai—purple, blue, pink and white.

Fukuoka has some famous Ajisai spots. Here are a few.
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July 7th is the day of Tanabata. The origin of the event can be found in an ancient Chinese story, but over time, Tanabata came to symbolize a love story between Orihime (Weaving Princess) and Kengyu (Cowboy) who could meet just once a year on July 7th. Japanese people write down their wishes on thin pieces of paper called Tanzaku and decorate bamboo trees with those Tanzaku. Ogori City, in which the NILS building is located, has a shrine called Tanabata Jinja. The locals call it Tanabata-san, but the formal name is Himekoso Shrine. Here in Tanabata Jinja, the Orihime Gami (Orihime Goddess) is stored, and every year on July 7th, a large number of Tanabata decorations are gathered here.
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Tonkotsu Ramen (Pork Bones Broth Ramen Noodles)

Most people would agree that Tonkotsu Ramen is about the most beloved of all gourmet dishes in Fukuoka. Some Ramen shops are now famous throughout Japan. The thick white soup may appear fatty to the eye, but it tastes surprisingly light. Unlike ramens in the Tokyo area, the noodles are thin and straight. The combination of those noodles and thick soup are sure to entice you! In Fukuoka, you can order the “doneness” of the noodles or request a Kaedama (Extra set of noodles). If you want a Kaedama, be sure to order before you finish the first bowl. Otherwise, your soup will get too cold to enjoy your second set of noodles.
Each bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen costs 400 to 600 yen. Perfect for lunch or dinner. Here in Fukuoka, people enjoy a bowl of Ramen after an evening of drinking, too.

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Izakaya, Yakitori (Tavern, Chicken on Skewers)

When you come to Fukuoka, you just have to try Izakaya and Yakitori. Although some say the food is not super gourmet, you will undoubtedly enjoy the whole experience particularly the drinks. (In Japan, you have to be 20 to drink alcoholic beverages.)
As “tori” in Yakitori means chicken, you can taste various parts of chicken on skewers. Here in Fukuoka, however, we eat just about anything on skewers including pork, beef and vegetables. They are all cooked, so there is no food safety concern, but we often grill organs such as liver. It may be an acquired taste, but why don’t you give it a try?
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Hakata Gion Yamakasa (Hakata Gion Floats)

One of Hataka’s 3 main festivals, Hakata Gion Yamakasa started on July 1st. Every year, you can enjoy colorful, decorative floats called Kazariyama.
Although smaller, you can see a Kazariyama at Fukuoka Airport (International Wing), too. This photo below is a Kazariyama set up in Fukuoka City. A masterpiece, isn’t it? The dolls are the work of Hakata Ningyoshi (Doll Makers). The sheer power is sure to impress you.

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