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Fukuoka (Kyushu)

Fukuoka is Kyushu's largest city (and Japan's sixth largest) and still growing. It's made up of two former towns, the Fukuoka castle town on the west bank of the Naka-gawa and Hakata on the east. The two towns merged in 1889 as Fukuoka, though the name Hakata is still widely in use (for instance, it's Fukuoka Airport but Hakata Station). Hakata traces its trading history back some 2000 years, which continues today with visitors from Seoul and Shanghai. Among Japanese, the city is famed for its 'Hakata bijin' (beautiful women), SoftBank Hawks baseball team and hearty Hakata ramen (egg noodles). Fukuoka's warmth and friendliness make it a great gateway to Kyushu, and warm weather and contemporary attractions - art, architecture, shopping and cuisine - make it a good base for regional excursions.

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"Experience Japan Travel", that is the name of the company that created our Japan trip, and what wonderful "experience" it was. Scott Kent, was exordinary in hi ability to help plan a wonderful and effortless family vacation in the 9 days we had to travel. He worked closley with me to get a clear understanding of what we were looking to see and do and made me feel like I was his only client. Planning a great trip is only part of the equation. He and the company are based in Japan, his currant knowledge of what is happening in the country was invaluable. Desired adjustments and changes to the itinerary (do to weather for example) were made effortlessly. This also included finding a doctor for my daughter. Within 30 minutes of the request, we were in a specialists office with Scott standing by to interpret as needed. Its the kind of thing one can't anticpate in advance but Scott was able to make it happen without stress. Thank you for that Scott. Our Teen age kids really enjoyed this trip, here are thier comments; "Scott tailored the trip and our activities to our families interests. He was able to give great insight to what its like to be a kid growing up in Japan. (the educational system was an incredible eye opener!) He also made everyone feel like they were being shown around in Japan "by a friend". An amazing experience we will never forget." It was a trip that exceded all of our expectations, and for that we are are very grateful to Scott and Experience Japan Travel. Loved Tokyo, and all of the diverse areas. Our guide in Tokyo was so knowledgable and fun to be with. In addition to seeing the sights, we had many conversations about Japanese culture and life style, past and present. Got a great sence of what life was like there. Had the best sushi we have ever eaten at wonderfull and intimate sushi restarant. On the way to Kyoto we were able to stop in Hakone to visit the "Open Air Sculpture Museum" defiantly a highlight of the trip. In Kyoto, we saw all the "must see " sights, The Bamboo forest, The Ryoanji Temple and stone garden, and the Golden Pavillion. All beautiful and very worth while. We went ceramic shopping and Scott was able to find us the most interesting shops as well as help with purchases. I would say our private visit to a Buddist Temple was the unexpected highlight of the trip. Magical, and life altering. We were all so touched by this special visit that Scott was able to arrange The only change would be to have more time. There is so much to see, so much to experience (theres that word again). We just left wanting more. Perhaps the next time, we would go in a differnt season.... READ MORE

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