Japan : Fukuoka’s seaside playground

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“Uminonakamichi” means “road in the middle of the sea”. Stretching out like a finger in the Genkai sea, this narrow strip of land starts at Wagiro, in the east and touches Shikanoshima, which guards the mouth of Hakata bay, in the west. The story goes that one night a severe storm raised a narrow sandbank between the end of the peninsular and the island – on which a road was promptly built.

20130731-211315.jpgToday, Uminonakamichi is a popular weekend playground for families.  The Uminonakamichi Seaside Park spans about 230 hectares and offers cycling, swimming, amusement rides, miniature golf, pony rides and a petting zoo.  Here are a couple of things we enjoyed during our trip and recommend:

Enjoy seasonal flowers

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Uminonakamichi is perfect in spring – fantastic weather, gorgeous displays of flowers.  Stroll among the colorful bouquets handpicked by Mother Nature, and you’ll soon find a happy skip in your steps.

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What I loved best was the thousands upon thousands of nemophila that painted their surroundings in a pretty blue hue.  And in The Hubs’ case, a skip and a giant leap seemed more his way of appreciating the flowers 🙂

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Go high

Take a different perspective of the flower garden.  While walking amongst colorful blooms is a wonderful experience, what many visitors don’t realize is that they are actually walking in a piece of art.  We recommend taking a ride on the ferris wheel and seeing for yourself.

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And when you’re looking down from waaaaaaay up there, you’ll quickly see how much effort the park has gone to create a massive flower art garden.  It turned out that we were walking not just among flowers but also cute pink whales!

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Take time for a picnic

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With the blue skies, cool spring breeze, and large, grassy meadows, it was impossible to resist a picnic.  Lay back on the grass, relax and forget your cares.  That’s what a spring picnic is about.  And Japan is one of the easiest countries to plan an impromptu picnic when you’re on holiday.  Bento sets are readily available at train stations so all you have to do is to pick up a box before you head to Uminonakamichi, and you’re good to go.  Not only are the bento sets delicious and pretty, they come with utensils and wet wipes.  You’ve gotta love the Japanese for their attention to detail!

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Spend some time with the sharks

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This chalky shell-shaped aquarium houses over twenty thousand marine lives and is worth a visit.  Besides dolphin and sea lion shows, you can also take a close look at the divers feeding more than 20 kinds of fishes including 150 sharks in one of the world’s largest fish tanks.

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Enjoy a cold beer and some barbecue

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We’re almost always hungry and game for street food.  On the way to Marine World are a couple of street side stalls serving cold Japanese beer and barbecue.  Plonk yourself down on one of the picnic tables scattered across the grassy lawn, and indulge in a juicy cob of sweet corn served hot off the grill and some tender, barbecue squid coated in teriyaki sauce.  Like us, you’ll soon find yourself with sweet sauce dripping off your chin and a giant silly grin on your face.

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How to get there:

  • By Train: Adjacent from Uminonakamichi station of JR Kashii line. 
  • By Ferry: Take municipal ferry from Bayside Place to Saitozaki Tosenjo (ferry terminal) and 8 minutes walk to the park. Or, take Uminaka line (jet ferry liner) from Momochi (Marizon) to Uminonakamichi Tosenjo (ferry terminal)and 5 minutes walk to the park. 
  • By Bus: Get off at Marine World stop of Nishitetsu bus and walk 3 minutes.

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Before I forget, let me end off this post by recommending that if you’re visiting Fukuoka and plan to get around by the subway and buses, get yourself the one-day tourist pass.  It gives you unlimited rides on buses and trains operating in Fukuoka City. This includes the Nishitetsu Bus, Showa Bus, JR Kyushu Train, Nishitetsu Train and Subway.

When getting on and off trains, head for the ticket gate and show your pass to the station staff who will open the gate for you.  And on buses, just show your pass to the bus driver when getting off.  Not only does the pass help save costs, it also reduces the hassle of having to buy tickets and managing loose change.

It’s for foreign tourists so you will need to present your passport when purchasing them.

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