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FEATURE

Discover Fukuoka by rental car Drive through majestic scenery along the Minō mountain range from western to eastern edge!

About an hour by car to the south of Fukuoka, where the Chikugo river flows leisurely through the vast Tsukushi plains and the Minō mountain range stretches out in the distance, lies the region of Ukiha and Kurume. To explore this large area with its wide-ranging scenery, you will find yourself in need of a car. Here we introduce a plan that lets you enjoy the scattered scenery together with culture and delicious cuisine while feeling the relaxing effects of the tranquil nature passing outside your car window.

10:00 Greet “Kōra Taisha” with a sweeping view of Kurume

Take a break while climbing the long stairs approaching the shrine to enjoy a fantastic view

Towering on the hillside of the sacred Mount Kōra lies “Kōra Taisha”, the most important shrine of Chikugo Province. From the viewing platform located in the shrine grounds you have an unbroken view of Kurume city and the nature in each season.

The shrine’s main building is designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan

INFORMATION
Kōra Taisha
Address: 1 Miimachi, Kurume, Fukuoka
TEL: 0942-43-4893
Parking available

11:00 Ascend even higher to the hanging glider departure spot “Glider mountain”

If you head another 15 minutes from Kōra Taisha down the prefectural road 750, you reach a complex junction of three roads. Ascend the road in the middle in the direction of “Hoshino town” to eventually find the base of Glider mountain on your left. Park your car, enter the mountain trail and start climbing the wooden staircase. After about 5 minutes, the path will suddenly open up presenting you a view spreading out before your eyes as if you were flying right over the Tsukushi plains. The night view from this spot is also very popular. Take care while driving as the street is very narrow.

This is said to be the place where the new Japanese hanging glider record was set!

INFORMATION
Glider Mountain
Address: Kusanoyoshiki, Kurume, Fukuoka
No parking available (some space available along the prefectural road)
TEL:0942-30-9137 (Tourism and International department of Kurume city)

12:00 Lunch at “Budo no Tane (Grape seeds)”, where carefully selected everyday necessities are gathered

Encircled by surrounding orchards, these tranquil grounds are home to “Budo no Tane (Grape seeds)”, where you can find cafés, galleries, a Japanese confectionary shop, a coffee shop, a general store, a store for western clothing, a kimono shop, and more. All goods are carefully handpicked by the owner and staff and let you see the face of their creator.

Take your time to enjoy the scenery beyond the window while browsing through the bowls on display at the gallery “Shitandan”. Also acting as venue for exhibitions, this is a place to connect artists and consumers.

The innermost part of the old private home was remodeled to now host the “Budo no tane” gallery, presenting western clothes, accessories, MoonStar sneakers MADE IN KURUME, and much more

“Tane no tonari (Next to Seeds)” is a café offering a healthy lunch prepared from locally sourced vegetables. Each season gives you a different menu to enjoy. The Kotatsu seats on the outside deck are very popular in winter.

The café “Saka no shita no mise (Shop at the foot of the hill)” offers not only lunch and sweets but also a rich lineup of safe and secure foodstuff. You can also find a wide array of original seasoning.

The coffee shop “Zelkova Coffee” offers its own roast. You will find quiet counter seats from solid timber on the first floor, and table seats with a great view on the second. Beans are also available for sale.

INFORMATION
Gallery Budo no Tane (Western clothes) 
Gallery Shitandan (Bowls, woodworks, glass)
The store next door (Lifestyle goods)
Address: 428 Ukihamachi Nagarekawa, Ukiha, Fukuoka
Business hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ※ winter season: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Holidays: New Year’s holidays, Obon
TEL: 0943-77-8667

Cafe Tane no tonari (Café)
Business hours:  10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ※ winter season: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holidays: New Year’s holidays, Obon
TEL:0943-77-6360

Japanese confectionery Budouya
Business hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ※ In the winter season, the shop closes at sunset
Holidays: Wednesdays, New Year’s holidays, Obon
TEL: 0943-77-5930

Zelkova Coffee (Coffee)
Business hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
TEL: 0943-77-7123
Holidays: Wednesdays

Cafe “Saka no shita no mise”
Business hours:  10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ※ winter season: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Holidays: New Year’s holidays, Obon
TEL: 0943-77-5485

14:00 Stroll through the streets of Chikugoyoshii, lined by houses with white plaster walls

Yoshii was a flourishing inn town along the Bungo Kaidō (Bungo route) connecting Kurume and Hita in the Edo period, and it still retains its townscape featuring houses with white plaster walls. 

The channels built to carry water from the Chikugo river into the fields also remind of older times. Get a map at the tourist information center “Kura” and head out for a walk.

The town was assaulted many times by large fires and so the walls are said to have been plastered with white mortar as a measure to prevent against fire.

The Hinamatsuri (doll festival) displays in Yoshii consist of “Hako dolls”, which are displayed inside their boxes, and “Okiage dolls” positioned around them.

INFORMATION
Shirakabe Street in Chikugoyoshii
Address: throughout Yoshiimachi, Ukiha
Enquiries: Tourism hall “Kura” (free parking available)
TEL: 0943-76-3980

15:00 To the book store in the center of the white-walled townscape, “MINOU BOOKS & CAFE”

In the center of the white-walled townscape, you can find a joint establishment of café and book store. Following a theme of “a book store about living”, the store’s owner, who was born and raised in Yoshii, displays selected books and general goods. Stopping by at a book store in the midst of traveling can give you a better feeling of the region’s atmosphere.

The building originally housed a fish dealer and while its walls are not white, it nevertheless blends in perfectly with the town of Yoshii.

“I am a bit anxious about the bias in the selection”, says store owner Mr. Ishii. But you can feel the philosophy at work behind this bias and find yourself reaching out anyway.

Enjoy the MINOU BOOK original blend from Kurume’s coffee shop “COFFEE COUNTY”.

INFORMATION
MINOU BOOKS & CAFE
Address: 1137 Yoshiimachi, Ukiha, Fukuoka
TEL: 0943-76-9501
Business hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last order 6:30 p.m.)
Holidays: Tuesdays, every third Wednesday

17:00 To conclude your drive, treat yourself to ramen in Kurume, the birthplace of Tonkotsu ramen!

Hakata is not the birthplace of Tonkotsu ramen?! It seems like this is no longer only common knowledge in Fukuoka but even among ramen connoisseur’s from abroad. Whether they know this or not, foreign travelers often stop by at the popular Kurume ramen shop “Taiho ramen”. Since its founding, it has continued to add to the “yobimodoshi soup” and put in bits of diced and fried lard from pork back fat, a Kurume ramen specialty, to create “old-style ramen”, which is a masterpiece of the Kotteri ramen variety.

Old-style ramen with self-made noodles, “yobimodoshi” soup, pieces of fried lard, and Char siu (roasted pork fillet) from boneless pork rib

The main store is located in Kurume’s town center. Originating from a food cart, this is said to be the place where the business eventually set up store.

It is worth going out of your way just to eat here.

INFORMATION
Taiho ramen main store
Address: 11-8 Tōrihokamachi, Kurume, Fukuoka
TEL: 0942-33-6695
Business hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Holidays: Thursdays, New Year’s Day

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