Over the September holidays, we went to Fukuoka, bringing the 3 kids, and at the last minute decided to bring my ILs along too.
Many people have asked, what’s there to do in Fukuoka? Well we’d never been there, and, when is Japan ever a bad idea? Especially with kids? Please, that’s a rhetorical question. The answer is of course, JAPAN IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA!
The truth is, I was on the Singapore Airlines website (I am there often, I am only half joking when I say “I only want to go where SQ flies!”), and I saw that the tickets were SGD$1k a person on economy. Later I saw it drop to $700+, but when I bought for the ILs it was slightly over $1k (and about $100+ for tax). I also saw that seats were available for redemption for the September holidays. For ALL 5 of us! And best of all, airport tax was $46 per person. Don’t ask me why they didn’t charge any carrier surcharge (please don’t tell them either!). Also SQ is the only airline that flies SIN-FUK (yes, laugh if you must) direct, although it is a red eye flight there and an early return flight.
So I booked our flights in early April 2016 for September, and it was really worth while to redeem flights in this case. For more tips on how to make the most of your air miles, so check out this blog, he does a really detailed job of breaking down the mathematics of redeeming miles!
The only downside to redeeming? We were limited to 5 nights because the flights on other days were not available for redemption. After 5 days we were reluctant to leave and still wanted to explore more. The kids kept asking when we’d be back in Japan again!
In general we found Fukuoka to be a wonderful family holiday destination. It is a much smaller city, and according to Google maps, the airport is like 18 minute from the city centre. But taking a bus from the international to the domestic terminals will take 10 minutes. Go figure!
Smaller also means there are fewer tourists and I feel gives a city a more authentic vibe. That in turn means that less people were able to speak English, but the Japanese are always so polite and usually friendly, and I was able to get by with my limited Japanese. I actually had a tough time researching on things to do in Fukuoka/Kyushu, especially things catered to kids, but a very useful blog is this one.
At most eating places within Fukuoka city, we found it relatively easy to get tables when we were early.
We landed in Fukuoka at 840am in the morning and the plan was to rent a car from the Fukuoka airport and drive to the other parts of Kyushu straight away. Since this was my ILs first time to Japan, we thought it would be a wonderful experience to stay in a ryokan, and we decided to stay in Hotel Shirogaku in Beppu, based on the location of the town, and the budget, availability etc. since it was rather last minute. We did not imagine how much we’d enjoy this trip here!
After comparing car rental prices, we decided to go with Nissan because they have a drop off point in Fukuoka city, specifically Tenjin where we would be staying. Toyota also has a car rental drop off point in the city, and it happened to be right next to our hotel in Fukuoka city. But Nissan was not too far away either. A few other car rental companies required airport return, and since we were going to spend a few days in the city (where we wouldn’t require a car), we wanted to return it as convenient as possible. So note: Richmond Tenjin Hotel – next to Toyota car rental. Nishitetsu Grand Hotel (my other option, but slightly more expensive) – next to Nissan car rental.
At the Fukuoka airport, the international wing is pretty small, probably because there are not many international flights servicing Fukuoka. There are maybe 4-5 belts for luggage only. Most of the other tourists were coming from Korea. And 90% of our flights (both ways) were all Japanese.
Once you exit customs, go straight to the information desk to get the directions to the domestic terminal where the car rentals are all located. They pointed us to a free shuttle bus, and the ride was pretty long because the two terminals are at opposite ends of the runway.
We managed to squeeze all the people and luggage into the Nissan Serena that we’d rented and off we went 🙂
Stay tuned for more of our adventures!
- Fantastic Fukuoka (this post)
- Tosu – Beppu
- African Wildlife Safari
- Fukuoka City