Fukuoka and Kumamoto – A home away from home 0

Fukuoka is a beautiful city. It’s also super chilled out. In my opinion, it’s the city in Japan that I relate most to Melbourne. The plus side to Fukuoka is that the weather is much nicer than Melbourne.  I have often said that if I was to live anywhere in Japan, it would be here.

Louise and I decided that since we really only had 1 full day in Fukuoka, and that I had already seen most of the town, that we would take a day trip to a nearby city called Kumamoto. Kumamoto is famous for it’s castle and was the home of Saigō Takamori and where he made his last stand. He was the one from the previous photos from Ueno.

One of the awesome things about Japan are the trains. It is super easy to get around the country, and excellent value if you get a Japan Rail pass. You can just jump on a shinkansen and be 100km away in 30 mins and you will arrive on time. We took the shinkansen to Kumamoto and then it was only a short tram ride to the castle.

The castle was pretty amazing. The main tower had been rebuilt due to being burnt down in the late 1800’s due to fire from the war. The side tower though was original and was in fantastic condition. It was really difficult to move around between levels in there because the stairs were so steep. I also really liked it, while it seems corny, that they had people dressed in period costumes like samurai and guards. They were really friendly and would come and ask if you wanted photos with them (which were free unlike most other tourist places) and just made the experience a whole lot better.

They had a side palace that was the home to the local Lord too. It had just recently been reconstructed from the 1877 fires. They had really done a good job on it actually. According to our awesome guide we had, who strangely kept comparing me to her English son-in-law, the walls were not repainted in the original style as they could not accurately remake them as they had no photographs. Everything else was reconstructed as it had been before the fire.

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