Apologies for the very late update, everybody. This 21st century housewife was out for a week on holiday, nursed a toddler that had gotten sick after coming home from said holiday, and well, maybe the rest can be attributed to ghost month 😛 I kid, I kid, but I am happy and excited to share our recent experience in Fukuoka, Japan!
I came across this article in The Huffingtonpost, and couldn’t help but laugh a couple of times (Read all about it: 7 Harsh realities of going on vacation with a toddler). So much truth!
Our last out-of-the-country vacation was in November 2014. Akira was 1-year and 7 months. We didn’t have to worry about the cold this time, sure, but we learned that the difference with traveling with a 1-year old versus a 3-year old is worlds’ apart.
At her age, we no longer use a stroller or carrier, or use diapers and a bulky diaper bag for her things. She usually takes one long nap around after lunch. She’s very energetic, but she’s also fond of being carried, and would often ask to sit on her dad’s or uncle Nico’s shoulders. She also has a great appetite – it freaks us out a bit when she can wipe out a cup of rice – but slightly picky. It takes a lot for her to try unfamiliar dishes or vegetables.
Fukuoka, Japan is a good match for her and toddlers like her. Here’s why:
While a lot of families have their eyes set on Tokyo Disneyland or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Osaka, it took a popular budget airline seat sale for us to discover what Fukuoka had to offer.
Fukuoka is located on Japan’s southernmost island, Kyushu, and is touted as a gateway to Asia given its proximity to China and South Korea. Fukuoka is actually closer to South Korea than it is to Tokyo.
It is also a cultural hotspot with plenty of art museums, castles and shrines, and just like what we discovered, a few surprises just for the little ones.
First stop: Ohori Park
Our little girl loves to play, and this park is perfect for that, and more.
Ohori Park is big and spacious. Popular with locals and tourists alike, people come here to get some exercise, walk their dogs, or play with their kids. There are the token foreigners that like to sunbathe, and others that prefer to just hang out and enjoy the scenery.
There is a huge lake in the middle of the park with a stone bridge. Pedal boats and rowboats are available for rent. This park also attracts a lot of wildlife, and we’ve seen locals feed the fish and pigeons with bread scraps. The lake is home to a lot of turtles, and feeds can be brought at the Boathouse rental shop.
There are a LOT of turtles by the bank. They go on a frenzy with the feeds, and then the ducks and pigeons will come near too. My kid absolutely loves this, she can feed these animals all day.
The Boathouse rental shop is right next to a Pinkberry café. It’s the usual yogurt shop plus breads, pastries and good coffee. Restaurants and shops in Fukuoka typically open at 11 am, so we ended up here for breakfast. Coffee is good and it’s a nice spot for enjoying the view (and the A/C, since it was really hot).
The park proper is part of a bigger area that includes the Fukuoka Castle Ruins (the lake is actually part of the castle’s old moat system), the Fukuoka Art Museum and the Ohori Park Japanese Garden.
Actually, a full day can be dedicated just for Ohori Park, but in our case, we were hot and sticky from exploring the castle ruins in the morning, so we opted to go indoors for the rest of the afternoon instead. More on Fukuoka Castle Ruins in the next post!