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12 Aug, 2013

Ichiran Ramen (一蘭), Japan

Posted by: Wen Ching In: Japanese Food|Travel

Around two months ago I had a short visit to Fukuoka, Japan. It was one of the best trips in my life to Japan, and my experience will be blogged here.

Nokonoshima Island, Fukuoka
A few days ago before arriving into Fukuoka, I read a bit about the city and decided to visit Nokonoshima Island (能古島), which was on the top of my places-to-visit list. After around 40 minutes bus ride from Tenjin Station (天神駅), I arrived at Meinohama Ferry Terminal (姪浜旅客待合所). From the ferry terminal, I took the ferry to Nokonoshima Island. The ferry trip cost ¥220 and took only 10 minutes to arrive at the island. The weather was incredibly beautiful and sunny that day, perfect for photo shooting!

Hydrangea, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka

Upon arrival I saw beautiful Hydrangea (紫陽花) decorating the island, I was so excited, as it was one of my favourite flowers.

Hydrangea, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The Island Park, however, was located on the other end of the island. I took the shuttle, which took me to the Island Park that I wanted to visit. The small island was rather hilly, and there were schools, local housing area and farms along the way. I arrived at the Island Park after around 20 minutes of bus ride. The admission fees into the Island Park was ¥1000.

Flower Path, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
Nokonoshima is famous for its seasonal flowers. The start of June was the season for Hydrangea and Marigold. The Hydrangea Garden, pictured above, was near the entrance and the walk along the garden was beautiful.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
I followed the flower path and took photos all along the way, there were children’s playground, cozy cafés, noodle house, sports ground and farm house in the park. There were also rental cottages for accommodation.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
When I reached the Great Lawn, I was amazed by the breath-taking view.

Marigold, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The panoramic view of the bed of Marigold was beautiful under the bright sun, I was really happy that I visited this place. For those who love nature and flowers, this place is a must-visit in Fukuoka!

Marigold, Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
At the far left of the photo was the Sakimori Family Style Restaurant and the BBQ House. One can rest and relax at the restaurant while enjoying great view of the landscape.

Nokonoshima Island Park, Fukuoka
The scenery above somehow reminded me of Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. Agree anyone?

Ohori Park, Fukuoka
After spending around 2 hours in Nokonoshima, I took the bus back to Meinohama station and took the train to Ohori Park (大濠公園). The beautiful city park had a large pond at its center and was a popular place for jogging, walking pets and leisure strolls by the water.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
There was also a Japanese Garden located in the park. The admission fee was ¥190 for an adult.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
The Ohori Park Japanese Garden was beautiful and very well taken care of. There was a large pond located in the garden surrounded by miniature mountains and thick foliage.

Ohori Park Japanese Garden, Fukuoka
The Japanese garden was a perfect example of a tranquil, vivid garden of modern times.

Yatai, Fukuoka
As it was approaching evening I made my way back to the hotel. On the way I passed by a Yatai (屋台) – mobile food stalls typically selling ramen or other food. I was so tempted to have my dinner there but determined to make my way to Ichiran Ramen, which was one of the most popular ramen chain in Fukuoka.

Ichiran Ramen, Fukuoka
Since the hotel that I stayed was connected to Canal City Hakata, I decided to visit the Ichiran branch located inside the mall.

Vending Machine, Ichiran Ramen
There were a few vending machines in front of the restaurants. It was where I insert the money and placed my order.

Restaurant Interior, Ichiran Ramen
The seating in the restaurant was definitely one of a kind. It was walled on both sides to keep distractions out, a bamboo curtain separates the booth from the kitchen. After reading a leaflet provided by the restaurant, I found out that the intimate dining atmosphere was to minimize distractions so that patrons can fully enjoy the ramen. When seated, I was given a piece of paper to choose how I wanted my ramen to be done – the thickness of the soup, the noodle’s texture, and the amount of Ichiran’s traditional red sauce.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Ichiran Ramen
Fukuoka was the home of Tonkotsu Ramen. And I had very high expectations before I sat down and eat. My meal was presented in front of me shortly after I submitted my order.

Tonkotsu Ramen, Ichiran Ramen
I opened up the Jubako (traditional Japanese lunch box used on special occasions such as New Year) and tasted the soup. I tried the soup without mixing the secret sauce with the soup, the natural pork broth was absolutely delicious, so thick and creamy and sweet. But the best part was the red sauce which occupies the center of the ramen, after mixing the secret sauce with the soup, the spices of the sauce added so much flavour to the soup and it was so good that I drained the bowl empty. The handmade noodles complemented the pork broth very well, the noodle’s texture was firm which was how I liked it to be done.

I had a wonderful day out in Fukuoka, the city was beautiful, the people were friendly and the food was fantastic! For more information about Ichiran, please check out their official website here. I couldn’t wait to revisit the city again!

Restaurant Information
Canal City Hakata
B1F 1-2-22 Sumiyoshi
Hakata-ku Fukuoka-shi
Fukuoka-ken 812-0018
Tel: 092-263-2201

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