Posted by Heliocentrism on December 24, 2010
November 27 – 28, 2010
Mark and I spent the weekend in Fukuoka with many JET’s from all over Kyushu and further. The great migration was in honor of the final sumo match of the year. I knew nothing about sumo before this trip, and didn’t learn much. But here is what I did learn…
There was a lot of pomp and circumstance. The wrestlers stepped into the ring, threw some salt, stretched, squatted and pretended like they were going to start, then got back up. Then there was a guy in a nice rode who shouted stuff.
It could take up to 8 minutes for a sumo match to actually begin and can start with very little warning.
It was over in a few seconds. Thirty seconds would have been a long match. If you looked down at the wrong moment the match could start and end before you realize it.
Sumo wrestlers fall hard. Many of them fell right off the sand platform. A couple of them were flipped off the platform. And since they are all big guys, it must take a toll on their knees and ankles.
Many sumo wrestlers these days are not Japanese. Many of them are Mongolian, and a few are from the ex-soviet countries.
Free Coffee all Night Long
Because of the sumo event, all the hotels and hostels were fully book over a month in advanced. So Mark and I had to spend the night in an internet cafe. It was a very unique experience.
I wouldn’t say that it was uncomfortable, but I wish that the lights would have been turned off. I did sleep ok though.
In the morning we woke up and drank all the coffee and hot chocolate we wanted. Then checked out after a hot shower.
Nothing to see here folks.
We spent the rest of the day walking around and seeing the few tourist sights that Fukuoka has. It’s not really a tourist type of town. Fukuoka is more about shopping.
Most of the things we saw were very disappointing, like Robo Square. We also visited several temples. When we were both fully tired we relaxed in a coffee shop in the underground mall.
I don’t recommend going to Fukuoka solely for sightseeing. It’s more of a shopping town. But if you do go and you do what to see some sights I recommend doing a bus tour or riding on one of those green loop buses.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call yourbanktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
From Oita City –
- Take the Oita Expressway heading west.
- Then take the Kyushu Expressway heading north.
- Then take the Fukuoka Expressway Route 2.
- Take any of the exit at Fukuoka city.
- These are toll roads and the cost depends on the type of car you drive. It should cost 2900-3500 yen.
- It takes about 2.5 hours to drive.
Fukuoka Convention Center
(Fukuoka Kokusai Center)
- Coordinates 33°36’11.2″N 130°24’04.2″E
- The nearest subway station is Hakata station. It is 2.5Km away.
Fukuoka City 〒812-0032 2-1
- This is where sumo matches are held every November.
- Many concerts are also held here.
Media Cafe Popeye
- Coordinates 33°35’31.8″N 130°23’48.6″E
There is one near Nishitetsu-Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station on Showa dori (street).
- About 500Yen per hour or
- 2500Yen per 10 hours.
- Open 24 hours a day
- Once inside you will have access to free all-you-can-drink coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and soda.
- There are snacks and cup noodles to buy.
- There are also free showers and they provide towels, hair dryers, tooth paste, and toothbrushes.
- There are booths for 1 and booths for 2 to sleep in. It’s not terribly uncomfortable, but the lights are never turned off. Most people are generally quite.
- To use the internet you will need to get a card which requires you to fill out a simple form and present some sort of ID. The card is free.
- In Japan there are cases of people who live in Internet Cafes.
- Coordinates 33°35’03.8″N 130°22’59.4″E
- You can walk there from Ohorikoen Station.
- Go to Tenjin Subway station
- Take bus #80.
- Get off at Kokusai Kaigijo mae.
- Go to Hakata Station
- Take bus #11,19, or 50.
- Always Open
- There is a tour of the underground passageway on Saturdays at 14:00.
- This is a great place for free parking. Unfortunately it is not near anything, but you can take the a bus or subway after parking your car
- 33°35’33.4″N 130°21’09.1″E
The closest subway station is Tōjinmachi Station.
It’s very close to Fukuoka Tower, a very underwhelming tower indeed.
- 9:30 – 18:00
- closed the 2nd Wednesday of every month except January, July, August and December.
- Closed December 31 – January 2
Don’t expect too much. The most impressive robot is a Roomba knock-off.
Tenjin Underground Shopping Area
- Coordinates 33°35’20.3″N 130°23’59.2″E
By bus –
- TakeNishitetsu bus and get off at either of the following stops;
- Tenjin Minami,
- Tenjin bus center-mae,
- Soarlia satge-mae, or
- Tenjin kita.
By train –
- Take Nishitetsu train
- Get off at Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station.
By subway –
- Get off at Tenjin Station (Kuko line) or Tenjin-minami Station (Nanakuma-line).
1-3 Underground, 2, tenjin,
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City
- Most Shops 10:00-20:00
- Most Restaurants 10:00-21:00