Sunday, October 29, 2017

Japan Travel with Children - Kyushu Mojiko 門司港 + Honshu Shimonoseki 下関

Our trip to Japan in June 2017 covered mainly Kyushu. On the second last day of our trip, we visited Mojiko (門司港) located at northern part of Kyushu, and crossed over to Shimonoseki (下関) at Honshu, the biggest island of Japan. Why did we visit this place? It was because I wanted to satisfy my craving for fresh seafood! Do you know what special seafood can you enjoy here? It is... fugu, which means... pufferfish!

We took JR train from Hakata to Mojiko. Mojiko Station was undergoing renovation when we were there. The interior of the station gave us a nostalgic feel.

The zero-mile sign shows that Mojiko is the starting point of Kyushu railway.



Even the washroom is a photo spot!



One way to travel around Mojiko is to take rickshaw ride.



We purchased a pass called 関門海峡クローバーきっぷ at the ferry terminal, which is a few minutes walk from Mojiko Station. The pass which costs 800 yen for adult and 400 yen for child, consists of one ferry ride between Mojiko and Shimonoseki (下関), one Sanden bus ride between (唐戸) and Mimosusogawa (みもすそ川), and one sightseeing train ride Mojiko Retro Train Shiokaze-go (潮風号).



source: http://www.retro-line.net
So basically, we travelled one round in anti-clockwise direction.

We took 10 minutes to cross from Kyushu to Honshu by ferry. It was our children's first ferry ride! I wanted to go up to the open-air upper deck, but the children were not keen.




We were welcomed by pufferfish!



Karato Fish Market (唐戸市場) has weekend market (Friday to Sunday, and public holidays) which offers seafood sushi and seafood don at a reasonable price. The signature food here is none other than pufferfish! It was quite crowded when we were there on Sunday.



Sushi on the right side is sold at 100 yen (SGD1.25) per piece, what a steal! One piece of tuna belly sushi (maguro otoro) is about 600 yen, which is considered reasonable.



Sea urchin, prawn, roe, and many more!



Seafood bowl at 500 yen (SGD6+), where can you find seafood bowl at this price in Singapore? Just in case you wonder what is on the right side of seafood bowl, those are pufferfish's... er... milt!



This reminded me of the amount of sea urchin that I consumed all by myself at Okinawa (read our  post on What to Eat at Okinawa) ... So I decided to give this sea urchin don a miss this time.



For our children, we bought cooked food for them. There were plenty cooked food like deep fried seafood and grilled seafood.




This was our first round of seafood. We brought this to the seaside, thinking of enjoying the seafood by the sea. However, we decided to go back to the shelter as it was too hot! There were tables inside the market, though the tables were usually occupied, the visitors would leave quickly after they had finished their food.



Finally, we dared ourselves to try the signature food here - pufferfish sashimi!



Yes, we did not suffer from poisoning after consuming pufferfish! The pufferfish sashimi was fresh, the texture was rather chewy. To be honest, I still prefer tuna or salmon sashimi. If you are keen to try pufferfish, but are not a fan of raw food, there are deep fried pufferfish and miso soup with pufferfish.

After that, we took a bus next to Karato Park to Mimosusogawa. The bus journey was just a few minutes.

The next part of the journey was interesting. We had to walk through an undersea tunnel called Kanmon Tunnel from Honshu back to Kyushu!



The tunnel was about 800 m long. The signs along the tunnel gave us some motivation to walk on!



Don't forget to get a stamping sheet at the entrance of the tunnel! The interesting part was, you have to stamp twice - once at Shimonoseki entrance, once at Moji entrance - to complete the stamp!



After we exited from the tunnel, we walked a few minutes to the station for Sightseeing train Mojiko Retro Train Shiokaze-go (潮風号). Please remember to check the schedule as it does not run very frequently.

While we were waiting for the train, the children had some fun at the playground nearby.



Next to the station, there was also a cafe. Yes, this is a cafe with air-condition!



Shiokaze-go was really retro in design!



As it passed through a tunnel, we were amazed by the luminous display on the ceiling of the train!



We reached that last station near Kyushu Railway History Museum in 10 minutes. As a railway fan, how could I miss Kyushu Railway History Museum?

I was attracted by the outdoor display of old trains. Unlike those we saw in Miaoli Railway Museum Taiwan, we could actually go into some of the trains!




I have not tried riding a sleeper train before, but I guess it would be quite a special experience.




Then we went into the air-conditioned museum.



While I was admiring at the history of Japanese trains, the children started to lose patience.




I am sure I am not the only parent who experiences this problem. It is really thoughtful of Kyushu Railway History Museum to have a small play area for the children! Hao Hao was determined to get the train and train tracks, which we bought from Daiso in Hakata later on.


We wanted to try out the simulator that allowed the visitor to have an experience to be a train captain. What a pity that the queue was too long and we had to give it a miss.

There was a mini railway park, a maximum of 3 people can ride in each mini train, and each ride costs 300 yen. Hey, this is Yufuin no Mori that we took!



It was just an hour to the departure of the the sightseeing train Aso Boy! (あそぼーい!), and we had not had our lunch yet! The must-eat food in Mojiko is grilled curry, so we were determined to try that. I did some homework, and shortlisted a few restaurants - Bear Fruits, Curry Honpo Mojiko Retro and Mitsui Club. However, there were long queues at those restaurants. We finally settled down at Ousamanotamago (王様のたまご), and were glad that the food was served quite fast.



The next exciting activity was to take the sightseeing train Aso Boy! (あそぼーい!), read about our experience on Aso Boy! in this post!




Useful Information

Mojiko + Shimonoseki Half Day Tour Itinerary
  • JR train from Hakata to Mojiko
  • Ferry ride from Mojiko to Shimonoseki (下関)
  • Seafood breakfast at Karato Fish Market (唐戸市場)
  • Bus ride from Karato (唐戸) to Mimosusogawa (みもすそ川)
  • Walk across the Kanmon Tunnel
  • Sightseeing train ride Mojiko Retro Train Shiokaze-go (潮風号)
  • Kyushu Railway History Museum
  • Lunch at Mojiko (grilled curry)
  • Sightseeing train ride Aso Boy! (あそぼーい!) to Hakata

Mojiko Retro-line
Website: http://www.retro-line.net/

Kanmon Ferry
Website: http://www.kanmon-kisen.co.jp/route/kanmon.html

Sanden Bus
Website: http://busdayo.jp/sanden/

Karato Market
Website: http://www.karatoichiba.com/
Weekend Market Opening Hours: Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday and Public Holiday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kyushu Railway History Museum
Website: http://www.k-rhm.jp/
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (last admission at 4.30 p.m.). Closed on the second Wednesday of the month; July - closed on the second Wednesday and Thursday.
Admission: 300 yen for adult, 200 yen for child, free for children below 4 years old. 20% discount for JR Kyushu Pass holder.


Our Japan (June 2017) Travelogue


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