Day 8: Day Off in Fukuoka

After a week of almost non-stop traveling I was ready for a slow day. Since my Iki trip had been canceled, the Shochu Project had been on a Wednesday, and Munemasa Shuzo was scheduled for Friday in nearby Saga, I decided to stay in Fukuoka another day. I’d been here last summer and seen most of the touristy things with Seikai Ishizuka, so I was able to just relax. I wandered to a burger shop in Tenjin for an American food fix and then to Canal City for some shopping and a cup of really good coffee. Afterward I met Yurie-san, the Kyushu University grad student, to look for some souvenirs and other things I’d need for my trip. She was glad for a chance to use her English. I was glad to have a guide to the myriad shops of Hakata Station and nearby shopping malls.


We then met Hiromi-san and 3 of his classmates at Kyushu University; Kyohei-san, Erika-san, and Rumi-san. Hiromi-san and I had met last summer at an izakaya dinner with Seikai, who he went to high school with. He’s a graduate student in English and Kyushu University and when I realized I’d have a free night in Fukuoka, I contacted him. His friends were also English department grad students and Yurie-san also attends Kyushu University so everyone got along fine.


We went to Otsu, a shochu izakaya in the Tenjin area of Fukuoka. With over 200 different shochus and a full menu of Fukuoka style izakaya food, we tried chicken sashimi, crab croquettes, fried chicken cartilage, and lots of other dishes all while sampling a wide variety of sweet potato shochus before ordering Mushagaishi, the rice shochu from Jufuku Shuzo where the owner gave me a lecture on the proper way to drink. Yurie-san and Erika-san had other commitments but the rest of us headed out to yatai.


(torisashi – flash seared rare chicken)


(nankotsu – fried chicken cartilage)

Yatai, if you haven’t heard of it, are street vendors where you sit outdoors at tiny pop-up izakayas and sample whatever they specialize in. If you want something else you, move yatais after a course or two. We settled into a gyoza yatai since that’s what I wanted.The Fukuoka gyoza are just too good.

yatai gyoza

Turns out this particular yatai has been featured on TV and one of their signature dishes is buta kimchee, which I’ve always enjoyed at Izakaya Ten in NYC, but I’ve never had in Japan. This was worth the wait. Really delicious with the right mix of sweetness and heat.

yatai chef

(yatai chef busy making our buta kimchee)

buta kimchee

My hotel was near the yatai so I dragged everyone to Bar Rev where I’d gone my first night in Fukuoka for one more drink.


Yamaguchi-san had special shochu waiting for me. Really delicious stuff that came in small oddly shaped bottles. With that I headed back to my hotel for some sleep before an early train to Arita in Saga to visit Munemasa Shuzo.



2 Responses to “Day 8: Day Off in Fukuoka”
  1. Comradde PhysioProffe says:

    Those gyoza look amazing! When I am jonesing for American food in Japan, I get a pizza with fried egg on top.

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  1. […] on my own, I enlisted the help of Rumi-san, a Kyushu University grad student who I’d met on Day 8. We had lunch in the mall next to Hakata Station. If this doesn’t look like mall food, […]

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