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Starbucks Dazaifu by Kengo Kuma Possibly the most beautiful Starbucks café in Japan

Starbucks Dazaifu by Kengo Kuma       Possibly the most beautiful Starbucks café in Japan

The proliferation of the Starbucks franchise into the Japanese market has been nothing short of amazing. Having opened its first overseas outlet in Tokyo in 1996, Starbucks now operates an eye-popping 1,079 cafés in Japan. As of 2015, Starbucks now has at least one outlet in every single prefecture and in busier cities where a café can be found every few minutes, Starbucks-hopping for free wifi is an actual thing.

Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu

Hakata

4-6-7, Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 810-0801 

  • 1 minute on foot from Nakasu Kawabata Station, exit 1 (Airport Subway Line)

  • 5 minutes by train from Hakata Station to Nakasu Kawabata Station

  • 5 minutes from Gofuku-machi exit on the Fukuoka Expressway

Distance from hotel

about 40 minutes by car from Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu

Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Hakata

1-2-23, Hakataekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 812-0011 

  • 3 minute on foot from JR Hakata Station, exit Hakata

  • 1 minute on foot from Hakata Station, West exit 6 (Fukuoka City Subway)

  • 15 minutes by car from Fukuoka Airport

Distance from hotel

about 30 minutes by car from Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Fukuoka Tower Japan's tallest seaside tower

Fukuoka Tower       Japan's tallest seaside tower

I am a massive fan of skyscrapers and modern buildings so when I moved to Fukuoka, I had to make a trip to Fukuoka Tower. I got round to it after I came back from a lone journey through Japan's major cities. I was most impressed with the Yokohama Landmark Tower and the Umeda Sky Building. Fukuoka Tower had a lot to live up to but it didn't fail.

Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu

Hakata

4-6-7, Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 810-0801 

  • 1 minute on foot from Nakasu Kawabata Station, exit 1 (Airport Subway Line)

  • 5 minutes by train from Hakata Station to Nakasu Kawabata Station

  • 5 minutes from Gofuku-machi exit on the Fukuoka Expressway

Distance from hotel

about 15 minutes by car from Hakata Excel Hotel Tokyu

Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Hakata

1-2-23, Hakataekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 812-0011 

  • 3 minute on foot from JR Hakata Station, exit Hakata

  • 1 minute on foot from Hakata Station, West exit 6 (Fukuoka City Subway)

  • 15 minutes by car from Fukuoka Airport

Distance from hotel

about 20 minutes by car from Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Starbucks Dazaifu by Kengo Kuma Possibly the most beautiful Starbucks café in Japan

Starbucks Dazaifu by Kengo Kuma       Possibly the most beautiful Starbucks café in Japan

The proliferation of the Starbucks franchise into the Japanese market has been nothing short of amazing. Having opened its first overseas outlet in Tokyo in 1996, Starbucks now operates an eye-popping 1,079 cafés in Japan. As of 2015, Starbucks now has at least one outlet in every single prefecture and in busier cities where a café can be found every few minutes, Starbucks-hopping for free wifi is an actual thing.

Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Hakata

1-2-23, Hakataekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 812-0011 

  • 3 minute on foot from JR Hakata Station, exit Hakata

  • 1 minute on foot from Hakata Station, West exit 6 (Fukuoka City Subway)

  • 15 minutes by car from Fukuoka Airport

Distance from hotel

about 40 minutes by car from Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Fukuoka Tower Japan's tallest seaside tower

Fukuoka Tower       Japan's tallest seaside tower

I am a massive fan of skyscrapers and modern buildings so when I moved to Fukuoka, I had to make a trip to Fukuoka Tower. I got round to it after I came back from a lone journey through Japan's major cities. I was most impressed with the Yokohama Landmark Tower and the Umeda Sky Building. Fukuoka Tower had a lot to live up to but it didn't fail.

Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Hakata

1-2-23, Hakataekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka 812-0011 

  • 3 minute on foot from JR Hakata Station, exit Hakata

  • 1 minute on foot from Hakata Station, West exit 6 (Fukuoka City Subway)

  • 15 minutes by car from Fukuoka Airport

Distance from hotel

about 20 minutes by car from Hakata Tokyu REI Hotel

Suizenji Cherry Blossom Festival Be enchanted in a traditional Japanese garden

Suizenji Cherry Blossom Festival Be enchanted in a traditional Japanese garden

A moment in time. The cherry blossom comes but once a year, and in a few days, it vanishes, scattered by the wind. Poets and lovers have gathered under its display for centuries, and in Kumamoto’s Suizenji Park, the cherry blossom festival celebrates the coming of the New Year with ancient readings and tea ceremonies, where you can sit on a tatami mat and admire the manicured gardens which represent the 53 road stations of the Tokaido.

Kumamoto Tokyu REI Hotel

Kumamoto

7-25, Shinshigai, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto 860-0803 

  • 5 minutes by car or 10 minutes by train (get off at Karashima-cho) from JR Kumamoto Station

  • 40 minutes by car from Kumamoto Airport

  • 50 minutes by airport bus from Kumamoto Airport to Kotsu Center

Distance from hotel

about 15 minutes by train from Kumamoto Tokyu REI Hotel

Yabusame at Kumamoto Castle Horseback archery at the autumn castle festival

Yabusame at Kumamoto Castle    Horseback archery at the autumn castle festival

Every autumn, Kumamoto Castle holds a week-long seasonal festival. Yabusame, or Japanese archery on horseback, is one of the featured events that takes place just outside the castle walls in a sprawling park near the Kumamoto Art Museum. At this year's event, five archers competed to hit three targets as their horses galloped down a distance of about 250-300 meters. While only blunt-tipped arrows were used, it was still thrilling to watch the skill of the archers as their horses raced by and they attempted to hit each bullseye. Yabusame demonstrations are held all over Japan (notably in Kyoto and Kamakura) but the one in Kumamoto was surprisingly uncrowded, giving us the perfect front row seat.

Kumamoto Tokyu REI Hotel

Kumamoto

7-25, Shinshigai, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto-shi, Kumamoto 860-0803 

  • 5 minutes by car or 10 minutes by train (get off at Karashima-cho) from JR Kumamoto Station

  • 40 minutes by car from Kumamoto Airport

  • 50 minutes by airport bus from Kumamoto Airport to Kotsu Center

Distance from hotel

about 10 minutes by walk from Kumamoto Tokyu REI Hotel

Sakurajima in All Seasons Kagoshima's volcano throughout the year

Sakurajima in All Seasons Kagoshima's volcano throughout the year

Sakurajima, a massive volcano, looms over the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima. It can be seen from multiple vantage points throughout the city and reached via a ten-minute ferry ride from Kagoshima port. Sakurajima's lofty peaks change their appearance throughout the year. In summer, they can be covered in clouds while in winter, a rare frigid day can see them cloaked in snow. I was lucky enough to catch the volcano on a windy and rainy day ... which resulted in a display of several rainbows over the mountains and sea!

Kagoshima Tokyu REI Hotel

Kagoshima

5-1, Chuo-cho, Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima 890-0053 

  • 5 minutes on foot from JR Kagoshima-chuo Station

  • 50 minutes by car from Kagoshima Airport

  • 60 minutes by airport bus from Kagohima Airport to Kagoshima-chuo Station

Distance from hotel

about 45 minutes by car and ferry from Kagoshima Tokyu REI Hotel

Sengan-en Kagoshima's lovely traditional stroll garden

Sengan-en Kagoshima's lovely traditional stroll garden

Sengan-en is Kagoshima's renowned Edo-era stroll garden, situated in the northern part of the city. Once the home of the ruling Shimazu family, the garden relies heavily on the surrounding landscape to create the effect of 'borrowed scenery". The most impressive feature of Sengan-en is its stunning views of Sakurajima, the smoking volcano just across the bay. In autumn, this is one of the city's top locations to view the autumn leaves. The garden is a stop on the Kagoshima City View Bus Line.

Kagoshima Tokyu REI Hotel

Kagoshima