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Yokohama, A Day Trip Away From Tokyo

Tokyo is a conveniently accessible city. And that is why it's a good idea to go sightseeing in nearby prefectures. Yokohama is one of the city that most visitors love to squeeze in for a short and brief trip away from Tokyo.

Being the second largest largest city in Japan, Yokohama is reachable under JR train in less than an hour from central Tokyo. For more than 200 years of isolation, this historical port city opened it's doors to the world in 1859. The city has since become famous for its fusion of both eastern and western cultures and for its stunning ocean views.  

I have travelled to Yokohama twice - the first trip was just a day trip from Tokyo and as for the second trip, I decided to stay for a night in order to make the most out of Yokohama's night view. So for this post, I gathered my experiences and compile everything into this brief and basic travel guide, including the way to get to Yokohama from Tokyo, places of interest and where to stay.

From Tokyo Station:
1) JR Tokaido Line - the fastest connection between Tokyo Station and Yokohama Station (25 minutes; 480 yen)
2) JR Yokosuka Line - slightly slower that the Tokaido line (30 minutes; 480 yen)
3) JR Keihin-Tohoku Line - slower, local train connection (40 minutes; 480 yen)
[You can use any of these three JR lines if you are departing from Shinawaga Station. It will be more faster and cheaper]

From Shibuya Station:
1) Tokyu Toyoko Line - cheapest way to travel between these two cities. Make sure to board a limited express or express train, as they are more faster than the local trains though the fare is the same (25 minutes; 280 yen)

From Shinjuku Station:
1) JR Shonan Shinjuku Line - direct connection between Yokohama and Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro in central of Tokyo (30 minutes; 570 yen)

TRAVEL TIPS: Besides using Google Map, I do use Hyperdia to search for more accurate timetable and route in Japan. 

Yokohama JR Station

There are two means of transportation you can rely on when exploring Yokohama; by bus and train. 
By Bus
Akai Kutsu Bus is a sightseeing bus around Minato Mirai 21 District, Chinatown, Red Brick Warehouse and Motomachi. One way costs 100 yen and 1-Day Pass costs 500 yen.

By Train
  • Minato Mirai Subway Line is an ideal method of accessing the main tourist attractions between central Yokohama and the Shinkansen station. 
  • If you have a JR Pass, you can travel on JR Negishi Line to Chinatown and Minato Mirai area. 
Yokohama Akai Kutsu Bus
Akai Kutsu Bus, the city tour bus of Yokohama

Yokohama might seems small, but actually it is packed full of interesting places to visit and things to do. So now,  here comes the ultimate question for the first-time visitors who would like to a day trip there, which are the top tourist attractions must go and see? For this post, I listed down the attractions I managed to cover when I was in Yokohama: 

1) Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
There are two cup noodles museums in Japan; the first is the Momofuko Ando Instant Ramen Museum in Osaka and second would be this in Yokohama. Since I never been the one in Osaka, so this will definitely in my top list to visit when going Yokohama. 
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum

Not only that you can learn the history and development of how these instant ramen noodles produced in a styrofoam cup but Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum is also a museum creates fun and encourages creativity using a combination of fanciful exhibits and hands of workshops. My Cupnoodles Factory is the most popular one where you can create and design your custom cup of instant ramen noodles by mixing and matching a variety of soup flavours as well as toppings. Before begin this workshop, don't forget to purchase an empty cup from the vending machine for the price of 300 yen each.  
Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum 1

Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum 2
How To Get To Yokohama Cup Noodles Museum
By train:
10 minutes walk from Minato Mirai Station on the Minato Mirai Line; or Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line or Yokohama Subway Line.

By Bus:
The Akai Kutsu Loop Bus connects Sakuragicho Station with the nearby Landmark Plaza, the Pacifico Convention Center, World Porters (across from the Cup Noodles Museum), the Red Brick Warehouse and other sights in central Yokohama.

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm (Last entry is 5pm). Closed on every Tuesday
Admission Fee: 500 yen (Workshops and activities cost extra)

2) Yokohama Chinatown 
Claimed to be the largest Chinatown in Japan, this is where you can spot a large number of Chinese restaurants and stores in the narrow and colourful streets of Chinatown. Just like any other Chinatowns, you'll know you have arrive Chinatown when you see a tall and huge eye-catching Chinese-styled red gate stands at the entrance of it. 

Yokohama Chinatown 1

Besides the four Chinese-styled red gates at the entrances, there is a multi-coloured temple in the center of Chinatown. Built by the Chinese residents in 1873, Kanteibyo is a temple dedicated to the Chinese god praying for good business and prosperity. I guess, Chinese and prosperity forever can't be separated, right? 
Yokohama Chinatown 2

The main attraction of Yokohama Chinatown is the cuisine offered at its various restaurants and food stands with plenty of options and flavours to keep your hungry tummy satisfied. Among the popular favourites would be the steamed buns (manju), ramen noodles and wide array of other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japanised to a certain degree. And do you that Yokohama's Chinatown considered to be the home of Japan's earliest ramen shops due to the Chinese immigrants entered the country via Yokohama in the 19th century? 

Yokohama Chinatown 3
How To Get To Yokohama Chinatown 
By train:
Motomachi-Chukagai Station on the Minato Mirai Line.

By Bus:
The Akai Kutsu Loop Bus connects Sakuragicho Station with the nearby Landmark Plaza, the Pacifico Convention Center, World Porters (across from the Cup Noodles Museum), the Red Brick Warehouse and other sights in central Yokohama.

Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm (Last entry is 5pm). Closed on every Tuesday
Admission Fee: 500 yen (Workshops and activities cost extra)

3) Red Brick Warehouse (Aka-Renga Soko)
Formally the Customs Inspection House for Yokohama Bay's shipping activities in the early 1920's, these handsome red brick buildings have been converted into one of Yokohama's famous landmark for family or dating spots. 
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 1

Inside this chilled vibe of the Red Brick Warehouse houses a number of artsy and unique shops featuring creative items, handmade jewelry, gorgeous dishware and ornaments, overseas imported products and even a large selection of restaurants. 
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 2

The complex also served a wonderful event space. Two of the most famous recurring events held are Oktoberfest in autumn and Art Rink, an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter months. Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse 3
How To Get To Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
By train:
The closest stations are Bashamichi and Nihon-Odori on the Minato Mirai Line. If you have a JR Pass, you can stop Sakuragicho Station on the JR Negishi Line and walk for less than 15 minutes. 

By Bus:

The Akai Kutsu Loop Bus connects Sakuragicho Station with the nearby Landmark Plaza, the Pacifico Convention Center, World Porters (across from the Cup Noodles Museum), the Red Brick Warehouse and other sights in central Yokohama.

Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm

4) Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum
We visited another second ramen museum in the city and this Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum, it's the first food-themed amusement park in the world opened in 1994. This "so-called" museum is not only showcases the history behind of ramen noodles in Japan, but it is also one-stop place to enjoy the flavours of the national dish from renowned shops across Japan without have to travelling further
Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum 1

Walking through the basement floor, you will feel like you are being transported back to old time of Japan where the floor features a small street-scape replication of Tokyo in 1958, the year instant noodle were invented.
Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum

Making your way through a narrow alleyways and you will feeling nostalgic, reminiscing the old good days with all these old-fashioned candy shop and cinema, the old-school television and refrigerator once used by your grandparents and more. 
Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum 3

One you done with exploring the whole floor, now it's time for sampling the ramen. The are nine distinctive ramen restaurants can be found here and each featuring a ramen dish from a different region of Japan. Wish to try multiple ramen dishes but worry your stomach can't fit in all, don't worry cause every store offers "mini ramen" which serves in small portion of the feature fish. Tickets for the meals can be purchased at the vending machines in front of each store. 
Shin Yokohama Ramen Museum 2
Ryu Shanghai Honten - One of a kind spicy hot miso ramen.

How To Get To Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum 
By train:
Less than 10 minutes walk from Shin-Yokohama Station on JR Yokohama Line or Yokohama Municipal Subway. 

Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm
Admission Fee: 380 yen (Ramen cost extra)

5) Minato Mirai 21 District 
Don't leave Yokohama without stopping Minato Mirai 21, a seaside urban area in central Yokohama whose names indicates "harbour of the future". It is blessed with an excellent location along the water and has wide array of attractions such as shopping malls, hotels, amusement park, a relaxation center with hot springs baths, museums and park space. 
Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 1

The most recognisable freature of the island is the Cosmo World Ferries Wheel, which displays the time and was for a period the largest clock in the world.
Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 2

Located along the waterfront, the buildings like the Landmark Tower, Queen's Tower and Cosmo World Ferris Wheel form the distinctive skyline of Yokohama. This is the main reason why I tend to stay until night time in Yokohama in order to enjoy and witness this magnificent and marvellous night view. 
Yokohama Minato Mirai 21 3
How To Get To Minato Mirai 
By train:
Minato Mirai Station on the Minato Mirai Line located in the basement of Queen's Square. 
It is also easily accessed from Sakuraguchi Station on the JR Negishi Line and Yokohama Subway Line.

By Bus:
The Akai Kutsu Loop Bus connects Sakuragicho Station with the nearby Landmark Plaza, the Pacifico Convention Center, World Porters (across from the Cup Noodles Museum), the Red Brick Warehouse and other sights in central Yokohama. 

For my second visit to Yokohama, I had planned earlier that I would love to stay a night here before heading back to Tokyo. And the ideal location for me would be probably somewhere nearby Minato Mirai and Yokohama port. This is where we came across Hotel Edit Yokohama
Yokohama Hotel Edit 1

The hotel seems to be pretty new to me by looking at its reception and lounge area. And out of all the hotel areas, my favourite part would be the lounge with its modern, warm and cozy atmosphere. Feeling so Scandinavian with its white walls matching with bright and clean backdrop. 
Yokohama Hotel Edit 2

Room wise, it's quite normal to get a compact room size just like any other hotel rooms in Japan. The room comes with almost everything we need; a mini fridge, a coffee and tea making facilities, TV and a great range of toiletries with every bits and pieces. There is nothing we could complain about cause they even arrange a room for us with overlooking the Ooka River. 
Yokohama Hotel Edit 3
Hotel Edit Yokohama
Room Rate: RM309 for a double (non-smoking) room per night
Nearest Station: 5 minutes walk from Bashamichi Station and Sakuraguchi Station

Sayonara Yokohama! Till then, see you again next time...

My Other Posts Of Tokyo:
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8D7N Self-Drive Itinerary Around Kyushu, Japan

Konnichiwa Nihon! This marks my 10th trip to Japan. And for this round, I went back to Fukuoka for the second time. Why return again? Oh well, thanks to AirAsia X for launching a new direct route all the way from Kuala Lumpur straight to Fukuoka without any transit and we managed to grab as low as RM379 for a round-trip (exclusive baggage fee).

As you know, I did a post about Fukuoka & Kyushu previously - 6D5N Self Drive in Kyushu (2018). So in case you want to know a brief introduction about Kyushu, you may read the full post there.

For my recent trip, I went a bit longer which took 8 days and 7 nights and here's my itinerary:

Day 1: Fukuoka Airport → Yufuin → Beppu
Day 2: Beppu → Takachiho
Day 3: Takachiho → Mount Aso → Kumamoto
Day 4: Kumamoto → Yanagawa → Saga → Nagasaki
Day 5: Nagasaki
Day 6: Nagasaki → Fukuoka → Dazaifu
Day 7: Mojiko & Kokura
Day 8: Sayonara Fukuoka

Although I might seem repeating some of the places but then, I managed to cover more places compare to my last year trip. We began our trip by renting a car for the first 4 days where we picked our car from Fukuoka Airport and returned at Nagasaki. We rented from Budget Car Rental (again) prior to our trip and they picked us from Fukuoka Airport International Terminal 3F (nearby police station) to their office situated not far away from the airport.

2019 Japan Kyushu Avis Budget

I received quite a number of queries regarding self-drive trip around Japan. Some were asking is it hard to drive in Japan? For your information, this is my 4th self-drive travel in Japan (twice in Hokkaido and twice in Kyushu) and from my past experiences, it's actually pretty easy and convenient too. However, if you are travelling alone or maybe just two of you, probably I would suggest to take public transport instead considering you need to bear the car rental fee, parking fee, tolls, gasoline and more. Only if you are travelling along 2 people or more, then these costs will be cheaper to divide among your group.

Important Notes For Foreign Visitors Who Intend To Drive In Japan (Especially for Malaysian)
  1. Similar to Malaysia, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car and cars drive on the left side of the road. 
  2. For Malaysians who intend to drive around Japan, applicants should apply for International Driving Permit (IDP) at any Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan (JPJ) offices. Do bring along your original identification card, valid driving license, two passport size colour photos and RM150 for the processing fee. Don't forget to fill in the application form at JPJ office too. Only those who apply IDP is allowed to drive in Japan.
  3. Majority of rental car companies do provide GPS navigation and it does comes with English. Do take note that Japan's GPS relies on "Mapcode" or "Telephone Number" to reach your desired destinations. Hence, get ready with all your accommodations details prior to the trip. As for those major attractions, some do provide a list of mapcode and telephone number for your reference. 
  4. Tolls in Japan are quite pricey but no worries cause foreign visitors like us can enjoy the benefit of unlimited driving on the expressways through the ETC card for a fixed price. For Kyushu, make sure you reserve "Kyushu Expressway Pass" from your rental car agency. If you want to know more about this pass, check it out here.
The car we rent - Toyota Wish and it can perfectly fit in all our 24" luggage bags (4 people + 4 bags)

Repeat the same thing I did last year -  right after we collect our car, immediately we went to a small town of Yufuin first for its vibrant and colourful Yufuin Floral Village which I couldn't get enough of it. It was pouring rain when I arrived there last year and I missed out plenty of things. However for this round, we were rewarded with a clear blue sky and finally, I got to witness the beauty of Kirin Lake.

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Floral Village 01

Yufuin Floral Village
How To Get Here: Less than 20 minutes walk from Yufuin Station on JR Kyudai Main Line
Tel: 0977-85-5132 (If you are renting car, you need to enter telephone code to get here)
Opening Hours: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm daily
Admission is free of charge, except for owl museum and cat's cafe. 
We parked our car right in front of Yufuin Floral Village and the cheapest car park we spotted was ¥400 per entry whereas the one we parked was charging ¥200 per hour. 

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Kirin Lake 01

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Kirin Lake 02

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Kirin Lake 03

We then ventured along the Yunotsubo Street where it is dotted with various of cafes, themed and souvenirs shops. The things you shouldn't miss out when in Yufuin are;

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Must Try
  1. Kinsho Croquettes Honten - Apparently we spotted two same shops, one just next to Yufuin Floral Village main entrance. 
  2. Milch - A bakery shop served German-style mini cheesecakes made with 100% Yufuin milk. 
  3. B-Speak - Famous for its fresh and light cream roll. The single roll cake costs ¥540 but it sold out pretty fast whereas the full roll costs ¥1,520. It's best to immediately consume once purchase from the shop. 
The main reason behind we dropby at Yufuin is to have lunch break before continue to our next destination. Somehow, I noticed that there are not many restaurants serving a decent meal (majority of them are selling snacks and small bites only), except for the one which is not far away from where we parked our car. It served both udon and soba. Though it might not be the best, but at least to satisfy our hungry tummy.

2019 Japan Kyushu Yufuin Soba & Udon

The drive from Yufuin to Beppu took approximately 45 minutes to an hour ride. Since we were quite early for the check-in into our lodge in Beppu, hence we went and visited Umi Jigoku.

2019 Japan Kyushu Beppu Umi Jigoku

2019 Japan Kyushu Beppu Umi Jigoku 02

Umi Jigoku
How To Get Here: Bus #5, 7 and 9 from JR Beppu Station
Tel: 0977-66-0121. Free parking is provided at all the hells.
Opening Hours: 8 am to 5 pm daily
Admission Fee: 400 yen for visit Umi Jigoku only. If you are interested to visit all the seven Hells of Beppu, then it costs 2,000 yen. 

As for our dinner, can't believe I went back to the exactly same shop I went last year. But instead of ordering Icchome Ramen, which is a clear broth-based soup ramen served with kimchi, this time I picked the curry ramen.

Beppu Tower - Initially built to help boast tourism in the area, today this 100-metre tall lattice tower is primarily used as TV transmission tower. It has an observation deck at a height of 55m.
2019 Japan Kyushu Beppu Curry Ramen2019 Japan Kyushu Beppu Tower

Beppu is widely known for its hot springs and for your information, there are over 100 hot springs there. We're lucky cause the guest house we booked, it has its own hot springs within their building and it allows the guests to access for free. Don't worry if the one you book doesn't have this special service cause onsen (hot spring) can be found almost everywhere around Beppu area and the cheapest one we went last year cost us 100 yen. That's like RM4. Super dirt cheap!

2019 Japan Kyushu Beppu Guest House Matsukiso
Guest House Matsukiso, Beppu
Type of Room: Japanese-Style Family Room with Ensuite
Room Rate: RM340 per night for a room and perfectly fit in 4 guests

The things we love about this guest house:
  • Free access to their onsen (hot spring)
  • Spacious common and dining area along with well-equipped kitchen
  • The room assigned to us was facing a spectacular view of Beppu Bay and mountain
  • Great and excellent location as it is walking distance to the malls, shops and restaurants. 
The downside of this guest house:
  • No free car park and there is a surcharge of 500 yen per entry.
  • No lift and if you are carrying heavy luggage, you need to carry up yourself. 
  • No towel provided. You need to pay at the counter if you don't bring yours. 
Almost every morning we woke up pretty early. Sometimes as early as 3am cause you know, the early bird catches the worm. Since the guest house doesn't provide free breakfast, we grabbed our food from the convenience stores such as Lawson and 7-eleven. After done with breakfast, we drove and stopby at Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi.

Sits in western Oita Prefecture, Kokonoe Yume Grand Suspension Bridge is the longest and tallest pedestrian bridge in Japan. The drive from Beppu to here takes about an hour and guess what, we're the earliest one to arrive. We're actually try to avoid the incoming large bus with big number of tourists. The entrance ticket allows you to cross the bridge twice (go and back), as long as you keep the ticket well. I personally think the best time to visit this bridge is in November for the fiery red and orange autumn colours. 

2019 Japan Kyushu Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi 2Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi
Tel: 0973-73-3800
Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily (The bridge may close in adverse weather conditions)
Admission Fee: ¥500 for 13 years old and above; ¥200 for child up to 12 years.

There are three waterfalls to view collectively known as the Shindo Falls. They comprise Kodaki (the child falls), Medaki (the female falls) and Odaki (the male falls) and among three of them, Odaki is the most dramatic falling over 88m and renowned as one of Japan's top 100 falls.

2019 Japan Kyushu Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi 3

We then continue driving through the mountainous countryside for sighting the Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan with a huge ancient caldera. When we arrived there, we can see the white smoke emerging from the top of active volcano itself. And at the foot of the volcano, there is a information visitor centre as well as several restaurants that offer a marvellous views of the volcano. If you are driving with a car, there will be a surcharge of ¥410 for parking.

2019 Japan Kyushu Mount Aso 1

2019 Japan Kyushu Mount Aso 2

Takachiho is our final stop for the second day in Kyushu. And the main highlight here is the gorgeous and marvellous Takachiho Gorge. I missed this out from my maiden trip and this is why I want to return to Fukuoka again. There are three available parking lots:
➤ Oshioi Parking Lot - ¥500. This one very close to tourist association souvenir shop.
➤ Araragi Parking Lot - ¥300
➤ Ohashi Parking Lot - Free of charge but it takes about 30 minutes of walking to Takachiho Gorge

2019 Japan Kyushu Takachiho Gorge 1
Takachiho Gorge
Tel No: 0982-73-1212

We even rent a boat for ¥2,000 (maximum capacity up to 3 passengers only) in order to get closer to the Manai Waterfalls, designated as one of the 100 top waterfalls in Japan.
2019 Japan Kyushu Takachiho Gorge 2

After done with all the exercise by paddling the boat, it's time for lunch at Chiho-no-ie (千穂の家) Restaurant located not far away from the boat paddling. This is one interesting restaurant where you need to catch the noodles (known as Nagashi somen) from a stream of running water flowing down a long bamboo flume by using chopsticks only. I can conclude that this is one of the things you must try when in Takachiho, besides visiting the gorge.

We settled our night in one of the hotels in Takachiho, and this small little town tend to be more quiet than Beppu. If you plan to overnight here, I suggest to stopby the convenience store before check-in into the hotel cause we only came across two only so far.

2019 Japan Kyushu Hotel Takachiho
Hotel Takachiho 
Type of Room: Japanese-Style Family Room with Ensuite
Room Rate: RM800 per night for a room and perfectly fit in 4 guests
The best part of this hotel beside the free parking, there is a hot spring within the building. Onsen again!

We left the hotel at 5am in order to catch unkai (indicates sea of clouds in Japanese) at Kunimigaoka Viewing Platform but unfortunately, the weather wasn't on our side. Since we did the check-out earlier, no point of going back to the hotel and we chosen to continue driving to Kumamoto.

But before entering into Kumamoto town, we did a quick stopby at the natural lake of Ezu. Seriously, I never knew about this place until my boyfriend suggested it. The picture can't justify how beautiful this lake was and since it was early morning, we can see clearly the morning mist floating above the calming lake.
2019 Japan Kyushu Kumamoto Lake Ezu

Here's one quick recap of what we do and see around Kumamoto city area:
2019 Japan Kumamoto Attractions
1. Suizen-ji Joju-en - a photogenic Japanese style lakeside garden. Admission fee is ¥400 and opens from 7.30 am to 6pm (March to October); 8.30 am to 5 pm (November to February).
2. Mount Kinbo for a wide-sweeping view of Kumamoto city.
3. Hanaoka Mountain Park for another panorama view of Kumamoto and there's is an interesting Buddha Reliquary on top of the mountain.
4. Kumamoto Castle - Currently closed due to aftermath of earthquake. Only is allowed to view from the outside.
5. Sakuranobaba Johsaien for snacks and souvenirs hunting.
6. Kumamon Square - main headquarters of Kumamoto Prefecture's signature mascot, Kumamon! You can find sort of merchandise selling there.

For #2 and #3, you can easily reach if you are renting a car. We hardly see any public bus heading up there. As for #4, 5 and 6, if you are staying around Shin-shigai area, it's just a short walking distance to these top attractions of Kumamoto. For Suizen Garden, you can take tram to get there. In case you are staying outside of Shin-Shigai area, you might consider to get the "Kumamoto City Tram 1 Day Pass" which costs ¥500 for adult and ¥250 for child.
2019 Japan Kyushu Kumamoto Tram

Kumamon is everywhere!
2019 Japan Kyushu Kumamoto Kumamon

As for Kumamoto's local specialties, there are two restaurants which are highly recommended:

Kokutei Ramen for its milky and creamy pork bone broth-based ramen soup with a strong burnt garlic oil. And their signature dish is Tamagoiri Ramen where it served with two fresh egg yolks to make the broth more creamier. But because I had it last year, I opted for the one with hard boiled egg instead. A bowl of this sinful but yummylicious ramen costs 950 yen for a normal size and 1,500 yen for the extra large size.
2019 Japan Kyushu Kumamoto Kokutei Ramen
There are two Kokutei restaurants:
1) The main one is 10 minutes walk from the east side of Kumamoto Station or 4 minutes walk from Nihongiguchi Tram Station
2) The other branch is about 3 minutes walk from Hanabatacho Tram Station.

Katsuretsu Tei for serving the best, juicy and tender Kurobuta, a black pig from Kagoshima in Kyushu Island.
2019 Japan Kyushu Kumamoto Katsuretsu Tei
Katsuretsu Tei Shin-Shigai Honten
Address: 8-18 Shinshigai, Chou Ward, Kumamoto. You can catch tram to Karashimacho Tram Station and walk for 4 minutes.
Operating Hours: 11.30am to 9pm daily

2019 Japan Kyushu Toyoko Inn Kumamoto Shin-shigai Room
Toyoko Inn Kumamoto Shin-shigai 
Type of Room: Non-smoking Standard Room 
Room Rate: RM570 per night for two rooms 

Two reasons why you should stay in this hotel - for its excellent location and there is a free breakfast provided. It's short walking distance to Kumamoto Castle and Kumomon Square and two of the restaurants I mentioned earlier are just around the corner. Not forgetting Don Quijote, a discount chain store is located just next to the hotel. The downside? Parking fee is ¥1,000.

2019 Japan Kyushu Toyoko Inn Kumamoto Shin-shigai Breakfast

We're actualy ran out of idea of what to do on the fourth day as we covered almost everything on the day before. Immediately we came out with the idea to dropby at Yanagawa and Saga since we're enrouting to Nagasaki.

One can actually reach Yanagawa from Tenjin (Fukuoka) by taking the Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta Line and the ride takes approximately 46 minutes to an hour. Yanagawa is often recognised as "The City of Water" or even, "Venice of Kyushu" because of its 470 kilometers of canals, which are navigated on the small boats. Therefore if you happen to be in Yanagawa, don't forget to take a ride and experience Yanagawa Canal Punting. An-hour cruises around the city's willow tree-lined canals cost ¥1,500 for adult and the boat is shared by other customers as well. Maybe because by the time we went was off-peak season and there's no other customers, we got the whole boat for ourselves. What a lucky day!
2019 Japan Kyushu Yanagawa Canal Punting 1

2019 Japan Kyushu Yanagawa Canal Punting 2
Suigo Yanagawa Kanko
Tel: 0944-73-4343
Operating Hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Free parking is provided for the guests with car.

Don't leave Yanagawa without saviour their fresh and unusual local delicacy - "unagi no seiro-mushi" dish. Unagi, a freshwater eel is one of local's specialties where fragrantly grilled eel steamed over rice, topped with a sweet sauce and served in a lacquerware dish. It is said that this dish has been invented by the local restaurant Ganso Motoyoshiya for more than 300 years ago.
2019 Japan Kyushu Yanagawa Ganso Motoyoshiya Unagi
Ganso Motoyoshiya
Tel: 0944-72-6155
Operating Hours: 10.30am to 9pm daily
It's about less than 15 minutes walk from Suigo Yanagawa Kanko but if you are driving with car, don't worry as they provide free parking for the patrons. Bear in mind, each guest must at least order one set of meal and cannot be shared. The minimum set costs around ¥4,400 (not included tax yet).

An hour drive from Yanagawa leads us to Saga Prefecture and here, we made a visit to Takeo City Library. It is currently the most discussed public library in Japan, especially for its remarkable and stunning architecture. The interior is absolutely awe-inspiring with the entire walls covered in woods and naturally-lit. And look, there's even a Starbucks coffee store within the library. Although there's a "No camera" sign, but then there are two spot inside the library for you to take a shot or two. Be a respectful visitor!

2019 Japan Kyushu Takeo City Library 1

2019 Japan Kyushu Takeo City Library 2
Takeo City Library, Saga Prefecture
Tel: 0954-20-0222
Operating Hours: 9am to 9pm daily
Free parking is provided for the guests with car.

We settled two good nights in Nagasaki, a city which I was kinda regret for not staying longer previously. Another reason why we decided to stay longer here is because initially, we did sign up for Gunkanjima (The Battleship Island) tour from Klook but unfortunately prior to our trip, we received email stating the tour has been cancelled due to the aftermath of typhoon. Looks like I need to return Nagasaki for the third time. And at Nagasaki, we got to bid goodbye to the car which served us well throughout the 4 days drive all the way from Fukuoka Airport. We decided to take the public transport to explore around Nagasaki instead as it is pretty convenient.

2019 Japan Kyushu MP Hotels Nagasaki Mizubenomori
MP Hotels Nagasaki Mizubenomori - 2 nights 
Type of Room: Standard twin room ensuite with bathroom  
Room Rate: RM520 per night for two rooms 
The boyfriend said he loves this hotel cause there is a washing machine provided inside the room. He even got the free detergent from the reception.

Since our tour to the Battleship Island (Gunkanjima) has been cancelled, we have no choice but to move on with our plan by just exploring and discovering those attractions within the Nagasaki city. The most convenient and economical way to get around Nagasaki is by taking streetcar (tram) cause it covers major tourism spots. A single trip on street car/tram costs a flat rate of ¥130 and if you are planning to get a ride for at least 4 times, then you should get the "One-Day Pass" which costs ¥500 for adult and ¥250 for children. These passes are sold at the Tourist Information Center (Nagasaki Station) and at hotels around the city. Thankfully, our hotel is selling this one-day pass.

2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Street Car Day Pass
For more info about Nagasaki streetcar routes, you can download the map here.

The streetcar has 4 different lines separated by 4 different colours to indicate the streetcar destination sign. Line 1 is blue colour, Line 3 is red colour, Line 4 is yellow colour and Line 5 is green colour. To make it more easier especially for the foreign visitors like us, there are numbers for each stop. One thing you should take note is that board from the rear door and get off from the front door. For a single-ride without the day-pass, you can pay it directly to the driver before exiting.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Street Car Trams

Places of Interest In Nagasaki:

Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown - Probably the oldest and longest Chinatown in Japan.
To get here: Tsuki-Machi Streetcar Stop (No. 31) along Line 1 & 5. We didn't take the tram as it's merely 10 minutes of walking for where we stayed.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown

Oura Cathedral - The oldest wooden church of Gothic architecture existing in Japan.
Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm
Admission Fee: 1,000 for adult
To get here: 5 minutes walk from Oura Tenshudo-shita Streetcar Stop (No. 50) on Line 5
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral

Glover Garden - Located not far away from Oura Cathedral, Glover Garden is an outdoor museum that exhibits mansions of several of the city's former foreign residents and related buildings. The main attraction would be the Former Glover House which is the oldest Western-style wooden building in Japan. Unfortunately, it is currently undergoing renovation and cannot be entered until December 2020. However, you still can visit the rest of buildings where you can explore the well-preserved rooms.
Opening Hours: 8am to 6pm
Admission Fee: 620 for adult
To get here: 5 minutes walk from Oura Tenshudo-shita Streetcar Stop (No. 50) on Line 5. The entrance is just beside Oura Cathedral.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Glover Garden

Peace Memorial Park & Monument - A park that commemorates the atomic bombing of Nagasaki City by displaying number of dramatic sculptures and statues to remind the visitors of the nuclear catastrophe and the need for a peaceful world and free from war.
To get here: Less than 10 minutes walk from Matsuyama-Machi Streetcar Stop (No. 19) on Line 1 & 3.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Peace Memorial Park & Monument

Atomic Bomb Museum - A collection of photos and artifacts documenting the atomic bombing of Nagasaki dating back in 1945.
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 6.30pm
Admission Fee: 200 for adult
To get here: Less than 10 minutes walk from Matsuyama-Machi Streetcar Stop (No. 19) or Hamaguchi-Machi Streetcar Stop (No. 20) on Line 1 & 3.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Meganebashi (Spectacle Bridge) - The name derived from the resemblance it has to a pair of spectacles when reflected in the river water, this bridge is currently a well-known tourist attraction. It is also designated as an important cultural property.
To get here: 5 minutes walk from Nigiwaibashi Streetcar Stop (No. 37) on Line 4&5.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Meganebashi (Spectacle Bridge)

One-Legged Torii of Sanno Shrine - This is where you can witness the remaining half of the pillars survived from the atomic bomb blast in 1945. We felt that this is one impressive architecture cause normally, the torii must at least have two pillars to make them standing tall and stable.
To get here:  10 minutes walk from Daigaku Byoin-Mae Streetcar Stop (No. 21) on Line 1&3.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki One-Legged Torii of Sanno Shrine

Mount Inasayama Observatory - The night views from Mount Inasa are ranked among the three best night views in Japan, besides the view from Mount Hakodate (Hokkaido) and Mount Rokko (Kobe).  You can reach the submit by taking the ropeway.
Opening Hours: 9am to 10pm (For Nagasaki Ropeway)
Admission Fee: One way ride on the ropeway costs ¥720 whereas the round-trip ride costs  ¥1,230 per person. You can download the discount coupon from online.
To get here: Less than 10 minutes walk from Nagasaki Station to the ropeway's lowest station. Alternatively, walk for 5 minutes from Takaramachi Streetcar Stop (No. 25) on Line 1&3.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Mt. Inasayama Observatory

Before leaving Nagasaki, my friends and I went and bought Castella - Nagasaki's most popular local specialties. These well-known Portugese sponge cakes can be found almost everywhere and the most highly recommended shops to buy from would be Fukusaya, Bunmeido and Shooken. One whole roll costs between ¥1,200 to ¥2,000 and some have different flavours such as honey, green tea and chocolate.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Castella

It's time to head back to Fukuoka and from Nagasaki, we took the long-distance bus which departing from the Nagasaki Eki-Mae. We bought the earliest departure time so that we can spare more time for Fukuoka. But because it was super early and the tram hasn't operate yet, the only option we had is by taking taxi to get to Nagasaki Eki-Mae from our hotel. In addition, we had to book two taxis because one taxi unable to fit in all four of our 24" luggage. A single-ride for less than 10 minutes costs roughly around ¥920 to ¥970 per cab.

One-way long distance bus ride from Nagasaki to Fukuoka costs ¥2,570 and the journey takes almost 3 hours.
2019 Japan Kyushu Nagasaki Long-Distance Bus to Fukuoka

Due to my clumsiness, I booked to stay in two different accommodations in Fukuoka. For the first night, it's somekind like studio apartment and it doesn't have extra space for us to store our luggage before the check-in time. No choice but we got to store all our luggages and bags into the luggage storage nearby the subway station. After that, we went our own separate way since two of my friends arrived Fukuoka earlier.

The first place my boyfriend and I went in Fukuoka is Ichiran No Mori. A trip to Fukuoka is incomplete without savouring this well-known ramen dedicated solely to perfecting classic tonkotsu. And for your information, Fukuoka is the birthplace of Ichiran, and also the birthplace of tonkotsu (pork bone soup broth). This Ichiran No Mori is not just a factory where it produces 90,000 meals here everyday, it is also a have small and yet informative ramen museum. They even have 3 different rooms for its restaurant in order for you to savour a bowl of happiness.
2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Ichiran No Mori

2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Ichiran No Mori 1
Ichiran No Mori
Opening Hours: 10am to 9pm daily
How To Get Here: There is a free shuttle bus (every hour from 10.30 am to 2.30pm) from Kyudai-Gakkentoshi Station on JR Chikuhi Line. Reservation need to be made by 4pm the day before your planned date. For reservation, click here.

Right after that, I went to Dazaifu alone cause the boyfriend said he's not interested with it. In Dazaifu, there are two main attractions you must include in your itinerary; Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine & unique Starbucks outlet. If you are planning to go Dazaifu, probably you can consider getting "Fukuoka Tourist City Pass" for ¥1,340 for adult and ¥670 for children. This pass will give you one-day unlimited rides on Nishitetsu buses and trains, Showa bus and the subway.
2019 Japan Kyushu Dazaifu Shrine

2019 Japan Kyushu Dazaifu Shrine 1

2019 Japan Kyushu Dazaifu Starbucks 1
How To Get To Dazaifu:
Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station (directly beside the Tenjin subway station) to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station (15-25 minutes, served by all train categories), where a transfer can be made to the Dazaifu Line that leads to Dazaifu Station.

Before ending the night, we moved on by visiting Fukuoka Tower. It is the tallest seaside tower in Japan. The highest observation deck at 123m has a 360 degree view of the entire Fukuoka city and the most recommended time to visit is before the sunset time.
2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Tower 1

One of my favourite spot from the tower is overlooking Momochi Seaside Park.
2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Tower 2
Fukuoka Tower 
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 10pm
Admission Fee: ¥800 for adult and ¥400 for children
To get here:
1) From Hakata Station - Take a Nitshitetsu bus #306 at Platform 6 of Hakata Bus Terminal on 1st Floor of the building. A single-ride costs ¥240
2) From Tenjin Station - Take a Nishitetsu bus W1 or #302 at Bus Stop 1A from Tenjin Bus Center.

2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Stay Tenjin
Stay Tenjin  
Type of Room: Standard twin room ensuite with bathroom  
Room Rate: RM724 per night for standard double room with two double beds 
Location: 10 minutes walk from Exit 6 of Tenjin-Minami Subway Station

I've been to few of Fukuoka's popular attractions like Canal City, Kushida Shrine and even yatai last year and therefore, I decided to skip for this trip. I joined my friends to travel further, all the way up to the northernmost cities of Kyushu, the Kitakyushu Perfecture.

From Hakata Station, we board on the train to Mojiko Station.
2019 Japan Kitakyushu Mojiko Station 1

Moji Port (Mojiko) has been prominent as an international trading port since the late 19th date. Thanks to several well-preserved Western style buildings, Moji Port retains its relevance as a tourist destination with a flavour from the past. Just take a look at Mojiko Train Station itself, it's such a hidden gem actually.
2019 Japan Kitakyushu Mojiko Station 2

We then continued by taking ferry to across to Karato Market from Moji-Shimonoseki Ferry Terminal. A single ferry ride costs ¥400 and we bought round-trip ticket to avoid any hassle.
2019 Japan Kyushu Karato Market

Karato Market turns out to be my most favourite market I ever visited in Japan. It's so colourful, lively and energetic with a collection of delicious and intricate looking sushi on both of your left and right. Too many until it's hard for us to make up our mind of which sushi stall to pick from.
2019 Japan Kyushu Karato Market 3

After satisfied our tummy with fresh and oishii sushi, we proceed to Kokura for its well-known castle, the Kokura Castle. Although it might not be as beautiful and charming compare to Kumamoto Castle but still the castle's traditional architecture provides an interesting visual contrast to the neighboring modern shopping and entertainment center. A must visit attraction if you are heading to Kitakyushu Prefecture.
2019 Japan Kitakyushu Kokura Castle

2019 Japan Kitakyushu Kokura Castle 1
Kokura Castle
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm daily
Admission Fee: ¥350 for castle and ¥350 for garden. You can buy the ¥700 ticket for the entrance of both castle and garden and also nearby Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum.
To Get Here: 15-20 minutes walk southeast of Kokura Station.

Don Quijote is both of my boyfriend and I must visit place before leaving Japan. We can't leave Japan if we didn't stopby at our favourite discount store, where we can get almost everything; from electronic products to beauty and cosmetic items to food and snacks at the basement floor. For every purchase of ¥5,000 and more, you will get the tax refund immediately  provided that you bring along your passport with you.
2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Don Quijote Tenjin

2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Don Quijote Tenjin 1

2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka Plaza Hotel Premier
Plaza Hotel Premier Fukuoka 
Type of Room: A double room ensuite with bathroom  
Room Rate: RM454 per night for two rooms 

Sayonara Fukuoka! Sayonara Japan!
Here comes another end of my trip to Fukuoka. Because our flight was pretty early (ETD 7.55am), we opted for taxi to Fukuoka Airport. And again, we booked two taxi and each costs roughly around ¥1,900 to ¥2,000. If you want to save cost and you are very confident that you can check-in at the counter before the closing time, then you can go ahead by taking the public bus or subway cause the earliest departure time is 5.50am for subway and 6am for bus. But bear in mind that for those who are planning to take subway, once you get out from the station, you still need to catch the free shuttle bus to airport and this ride takes approximately 10 minutes. Therefore, plan wisely. My friends and I rather pay extra for the taxi ride rather than missing our flight. Which are more costly?

2019 Japan Kyushu Fukuoka International Airport
The best part of Fukuoka Airport - there's a Starbucks coffee shop and 7-eleven within the international boarding hall. You can even purchase Tokyo Banana, Royce' Chocolate, Calbee's Jaga Pokkuru (Hokkaido premium potato stick) and other confectioneries here. 

KL – Fukuoka – KL  via AirAsia X
Add: Baggage fee




Guest House Matsukiso Beppu – 1 night
Hotel Takachiho – 1 night
Toyoko Inn Kumamoto Shin-shigai – 1 night
MP Hotels Nagasaki Mizubenomori – 2 nights
Stay Tenjin – 1 night
Plaza Hotel Premier Fukuoka – 1 night



Car Rental
Budget Car Rental – 4 days
Kyushu Expressway Pass (KEP)
Extra Charge for KEP




Ground Transportation
Nagasaki 1 Day Street Pass
Bus Nagasaki to Fukuoka
Fukuoka 2-Days Subway Pass
Fukuoka Wide Pass
Futsukaichi – Daizaifu (Round-trip)
Mojiko – Karato Ferry (Round-trip)
Taxi from hotel to Nagasaki Bus Station
Taxi from hotel to Fukuoka Airport




Entrance Fee
Beppu – Umi Jigoku
Kokonoe Yume Otsurihashi
Kumamoto – Suizen Park
Nagasaki – Glover Garden
Nagasaki – Atomic Bomb Museum
Nagasaki Ropeway (Round-trip)
Fukuoka Tower




Extra Activities
Takachiho Gorge – Boat Renting
Yanagawa Canal Punting

Food and drinks

Sim Card








Exchange Rate: 100 yen = RM3.89 as at September 2019

  1. The basic fare without any additional baggage fee and snacks. For our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Fukuoka, both boyfriend and I shared 20kg among two of us. But from Fukuoka back to Kuala Lumpur, each of us bought 25kg luggage allowance.
  2. Kyushu Expressway Pass doesn't include Fukuoka's expressway.
  3. The taxi fare is shared among two people only. We need to book two taxis cause one taxi unable to fit all four of our 24" luggage.
  4. Discount is given if you print out the couple online here. 
  5. The actual admission fee is ¥800 but because we bought Fukuoka 2-Days Subway Pass, we got discount for the entrance of Fukuoka Tower.
  6. The maximum capacity for one boat is up to 3 passengers only. Since there are 4 of us, we rented two boats.
  7. Because the accommodation we booked unable to store our luggage before the check-in time, we got no choice but to store our luggage at the subway station. 

Reading through my previous post on 6D5N Self-Drive Itinerary in Kyushu which I shared last year, can't believe I able to accomplish what I plan to go and see if I'm going back to Fukuoka for the second time, except for Gunkanjima, the Battleship Island in Nagasaki. Nevertheless, I enjoy the entire trip though it's my second visit and I'm looking forward to explore and discover other cities of Japan I haven't been before - cities like Nagoya, Hiroshima, Okinawa and more. AirAsia, please commerce more direct route!
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