The Small Towns | Fukuoka & Kokura, Japan


During our year of adventure, Ben and I spent a lot of time on planes, buses, and trains. Usually we would use planes to travel between countries, then use buses and trains for travel within countries. But when an opportunity to travel by boat presents itself, well, let’s just say someone gets very excited!

That someone is Ben, in case you’re wondering. 🙂

We took an overnight ferry from Busan, South Korea to Fukuoka, Japan. This was a neat experience, and much cheaper than flying. We slept on Japanese-style mats on the floor with a bunch of other people in the room. We actually had a very pleasant sleep, and when we awoke we were already in Japan, docked and ready to disembark – so much nicer than flying!

Fukuoka is probably not on the radar for many foreign tourists in Japan, but we’re glad we visited. We made a new friend, Ran, a local university student who hosted us in her small, but super cute apartment. Fukuoka is the home of ramen noodles, and it was a great introduction to Japan – a city with both ancient castles and ultra-modern shopping centres.



Ran was surprised to hear that our next stop would be Kokura. “That’s just a small town in the country” she proclaimed. Actually, we were really only going to Kokura because we were getting an overnight bus from there to Osaka. This was during Japan’s “Golden Week” when bus/train tickets and accommodations sell out fast, so our options were limited. As it turns out, however, the Japanese have a somewhat different understanding of “a small town in the country.” Kokura is the central area of the city of Kitakyushu with a population of nearly one million people!! Yup…that’s a “small town” in this part of the world.

We only spent one night here at a hostel in the entertainment/club district, which some thought was unsafe. However, we never had or saw any trouble. People tend to mind their own business, plus it was pretty clear we were out-of-towners and no one was offering their services. 🙂 All in all, a great stay!



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