It’s been more than three years since I’d been to Japan, and was pretty excited about visiting Kyushu for a week with my parents for a much needed holiday. I have been watching the NHK World channel on cable tv (148 on Starhub; 656 on Foxtel) in the evenings for the last year or so, and had been craving an onsen (hot spring) holiday. I am partial to warm weather, and useless in the cold. I’m writing this post from a very wintery Australian rainforest, in front of a fireplace, reminiscing this lovely past holiday, and missing summer weather.
Our first stop was Fukuoka, quite a busy city, but not without nature features throughout this built up environment. Indoors or out, Japanese know how to dress up its spaces with plants to make it inviting and cosy.
We stayed two nights at Excel Hotel Tokyu, which runs green initiatives including a “green coin” programme where the hotel group makes donations to a children’s forest fund, they also offer bicycle rentals for hire in the lobby.
It’s quite a comfortable stay, but as it is located within an entertainment district, it’s not unusual to hear a bit of laughter and chattering in the wee hours of the morning.
When taking a walk, we stumbled across the magnificent ACROS Fukuoka green building. It’s quite a spectacular sight!
Walkways always include space for planters, and are usually filled with flowers. This particular stretch had sunflowers and lavender plants.
Also, we saw this enormous bike park near the subway station. It’s very safe of course. I found it really cool, and I wish bicycle parking was safer in Singapore. Even within shopping malls, it’s not uncommon to spot greenery in the dining area. This mall is called Imuzu, and we ended up eating at a western restaurant called KIRIN Sow Sow, where the food was very delicious.
Before we made our way to Kumamoto, we went to pick up an eki (train) bento for lunch. I didn’t see any vegetarian options, and thought I’d get one with fish, but accidentally picked up a box that contained pork and chicken, which I then shared with my parents. Supermarkets offer a good selection of takeaway food, including veg options, so that’s an alternative method to settling mealtimes for train rides.
Here are my parents, making their selection.
To be continued… It gets more green in Kumamoto…