Day 2: Half Day Tour of Fukuoka
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It was a sunny morning when we were fetched at our hotel by a bus. We were a mix of media people and bloggers from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. From our hotel, it took us an hour before we reached our first destination – Dazaifu.
Dazaifu is known as Japan’s Ancient Capital, according to Nihon Shoki, Japan’s oldest chronicle.
In this historic place, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is the most popular tourist spot. From the designated parking lot, a lot of interesting souvenir shops and food stalls are lined up to entertain the locals and tourists visiting the place. The shrine area has several pagodas and structures to adorn with. The shrine grounds are brightened up by the blossoms of 6,000 plum trees as well as other bounties of nature throughout the four seasons.
To reach the Dazaifu Tenmagu Shrine, we crossed a beautiful red bridge covered by century-old trees. Dazaifu Shrine is also a popular destination for local students to pray for passing their exams and good grades and that explains why there were tons of students visiting the shrine upon our arrival.
We were supposed to visit another tourist spot but we had to cut our tour short since we were running out of time for our cruise boarding. We only had an hour and a half left to have lunch so we rushed to Ichiran Ramen. ICHIRAN is known for its best tasting Classic Tonkotsu Ramen. The secret to its phenomenal success is their tasty broth, which is rich in natural oil and collagen, original red sauce, home-made fresh noodles, and osukaran vinegar.
Good thing we had a prior reservation because the queue of customers was getting longer as we got closer to the restaurant. Upon reaching the second floor, we were asked to use a machine that serves as their ordering system where we can press our options as to how we like our ramen. There were also options for additional garnishing, spices, egg, noodles etc. After pressing the buttons, it will provide a printout that tells the details of your order which you will then present to the waiter.
The dining room is even more interesting. It reminded me of an old-school computer shop rental back in the days. It has private ramen booths, with subdivided tables all facing on a small window, where the server will verify the order.
There’s also a cold water draft located at the corner of each private space and a stainless glass for self-service water. A call button is also conveniently located near the bamboo screen just in case a customer has additional orders.
After few minutes, they all served the food based on our specifications. As soon as the order is verified and completed, they will close the window which means… bon appétit!
So how was the ramen? Each ramen was served in their authentic Aritayaki Original Jubako Ramen Bowl which made it more appetizing. The pork-based broth is heavy, savory and not too salty. Their home-made noodles have superb texture and were smooth to swallow. And lastly, the egg and pork were perfectly cooked, which complemented well with the quality of the noodle and broth.
There’s so much to explore in Fukuoka although we were not able to enjoy it as much. We were very excited to finally board Costa Victoria Cruise to experience the activities onboard and also to try out the food and its amenities.
It was after lunch when we all headed to Hakata Port to finally board the cruise ship. The process was really fast. We just had our luggage scanned, a tag was placed and we were directed to proceed to immigration before we board the cruise ship.
Upon boarding, we all proceeded to our own premium cabins. Inside my Cabin, I found My Costa Card and Daily Program. Costa Card serves as a keycard to my cabin and it is also being used as your Debit Card whenever you purchase anything onboard. In order for the Costa Card to work as your onboard debit card, passengers are required to link their credit card with their Costa Card.
After few minutes, everyone was instructed to vacate the cabin for an emergency drill. In a very short demonstration, everyone was given simple directions on how to wear the safety jacket, where to go during an emergency and other safety instructions.
To truly embody Costa’s theme of “Italy at Sea”, all the guests were invited at the Atrium to experience the welcome party patterned after the world’s famous festival, the Carnival of Venice. Surrounded by guests and Costa Staff wearing Venetian Masks and costumes, everyone enjoyed the lively festival music while participating in the round dancing session as the ship started to sail.
The welcome party at the Atrium was followed by dinner at Sinfonia Restaurant. Sinfonia is one of the two main restaurants that serve ala carte dinner. Sinfonia has a six-course selection in their menu which include appetizers, soups, a choice of two pasta dishes, the main course, salad and cheese and, of course, dessert. I will post a separate review about the food onboard, sharing with you my favorites from the various food outlets inside the cruise ship.
After dinner, we headed back to our own cabins to rest and prepare for the next day’s activities.
Watch Cora’s Youtube Video about our day Tour in Fukuoka, Japan
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