More souvenirs・お土産・ōmiyage from one of my favourite shops Baien・梅園 in Dazaifu. The little yellow mountain is a yorotsuyo which is made out of eggs, gelatin and sweetener then dried. I cannot think of a single other thing with the same texture, I really love it and get one every time I am there. The white one with the tori gate and flowers is a super smooth red bean paste sandwiched between light wafers. Very fun snacks, and the shop owners are some of the nicest around.

A White Chocolate Renaissance

I feel like I’ve eaten more white chocolate in the last month than I have in the last 5 years. It’s so much better than I remember it! I got this very inspired daifuku while I was hiking in Dazaifu and brought it home with me. It’s hōjicha (toasted green tea) flavoured bean paste with a soft, sweet ball of white chocolate in the center. Worth doing another round of hiking in Dazaifu to have again, no question, it was absolutely phenomenal.

Hiking in Dazaifu: Sangun-san & Hōmanzan・三郡山 & 宝満山Edition

It’s been ages since I’ve been to Dazaifu! Hōmanzan is one of the most popular hikes in Fukuoka but there’s always lots to see.

What I wanted to do was start a few train stations north and walk my way down south to the temples. However, what I actually really wanted to do was eat umegae mochi・梅ヶ枝餅 for breakfast. This is about as quiet as it gets here. Plum blossom season is finishing up but I got treated to a lovely display of them.

After looking around the temples I made my way up to the trailhead. The way up is a lot of stairs. A lof of stairs. The elevation changes pretty quickly and you can use the views as an excuse to catch your breath.

The views at the top of Hōmanzan are some of my favourite in all of Fukuoka.

Onwards and upwards, there’s a few more peaks I hit on the way to Sangunsan.

I had blocked Sangunsan out of my memory but halfway there it came back to me. This is, without question, one of the ugliest summits of all time. It’s a defense base, there’s electric fences, barbed wire, and pylons. Whatever, the loop I do to complete it is very, very beautiful. Another thing I blocked out, getting really lost last time I went down to the waterfalls. This time I faired quite a bit better and stayed focused. The yellow symbol written on the rock means ‘mountain’; helpful!

Whenever I leave Japan I will truly miss stumbling into scenery like this. At this point, I’m a little under 6 hours into the hike and have only one focus: getting back to the main street before the snack shops close.

Good news, lots of snacks to be had! The pink thing is a strawberry mont blanc, from a super popular shop that magically had no line up so I rushed in. It was really good! There is a meringue underneath, topped with soft serve ice cream and finally strawberry paste. In the cup in ume ( sour plum) flavoured amazake (fermented rice beverage)・梅甘酒 that was truly amazing. It’s a really popular thing to eat and drink tea under the flowering trees but I was on a mission. I picked up a couple things to take home for later and went back to the very adorable train station.

You can see my route as always on Yamap!

A Spool to Tie Fates

This little sweet from Kichi Zoh・吉蔵 is in the style of a Shigoto Musubi Omamori・仕事結びお守り which is shaped like a spool of thread. Omamori, or amulets can be bought at almost any shrine. Here are some examples of amulets you can buy in Dazaifu, where I often go hiking.

The Shigoto Musubi Omamori is a little spool of thread and the color of the thread and the manner that its knotted has different meanings. Overall, they help you through your work, daily tasks and livelihood. I have only seen them in Fukuoka, and I think they are quite popular from Kamado shrine in Dazaifu but I could be mistaken.

Either way is was a lovely little sweet! It definitely helped with my work tasks today.

Hiking in Daizaifu: Sangunsan・三郡山 (935m) and Waterfall Edition

One of the most popular hikes in Fukuoka is Hōmanzan, which I’ve done a few times but never added Sangunsan・三郡山 to the route. Between the two summits there are a lot of little waterfalls and streams I wanted to check out.

The summit of Sangunsan is a lot like Sefuri. Wrapped with barbed wire and quite industrial. Oh well, it was nice to check it off the list and there was a nice spot so sit and have lunch.

Just beyond there, I climbed down to see the waterfalls. It was so cute! The tsubaki flowers had recently fallen and the ground was covered with them. Against the green mossy rocks and sounds of water trickling everywhere it was pretty magical.

A familiar view, at the top of Hōmanzan. The only surprise here was how quiet it was! It was a nice surprise as it’s often quite crowded at the top.

The way down to the shrine is always really lovely.

I’ve done this hike a few times but had somehow forgot it was a touch of a challenge, so I’m a bit more tired and sore than I thought I would be today. But good practice for my hike coming up this week!

Of course here is the course I took on Yamap.

Hiking in Ōnojō: Shiōjiyama

Welcome to my adorable Christmas eve hike! It was really rainy and cold in the city but meant I had the whole mountain to myself all day. I was in 四王寺山 and went to Ogusukuyama・大城山, Obarayama・大原山 and Iwayayama・岩屋山. The views are not really what you’re going for; the trails are really nice and there is some beautiful scenery though. I really liked this area, which is not surprising since it is right beside Dazaifu!

There are temples, tiny trails and also day campsites so there are lots of places to spread out (by myself). There is even a waterfall, though it is one that makes you question the definition of what constitutes a waterfall.

It was nice to see the end of Japanese maple leaves (momoji) even if they had fallen. I loved how misty, foggy and moody it was up there. A little weird vibe for Christmas but it felt nice, I would love to come back and see the other trails this area has to offer.

And since I was so close to Dazaifu I popped over to Taizen and got a white bean strawberry monaka! Because it is Christmas after all.

And of course, here is the path I took on Yamap!

First Fukuoka Hike: Hōmanzan

If you search for hikes in Fukuoka this will be pretty high at the top of the list. For good reason, it has incredible views, beautiful temples and it’s easy to get to from the city. Its like Takao-san:Tokyo and Hōmanzan:Fukuoka. Its’s 829m and takes about 5 hours give or take walking around Kamoda Shrine and getting snacks of the shotengai by the station.

One of the famous foods in Dazaifu is umegaemochi・梅ヶ枝もち and is is red bean paste wrapped in mochi and pressed and cooked in a little hot plate until….

It turns out like this! And you can eat it in a cafe that overlooks this!