We learned that it's a good idea to go just as they begin serving so you can get a good table and not have to wait in a long buffet line.
8:00 We left for the Kumamoto Train Station and got to our reserved seats on the Shinkansen (bullet train) for Hakata, also known as Fukuoka.
This was one of the super duper shinkansen trains that had just been inaugurated in March, 2012.
Once in Hakata we caught a subway train, transferred to another one and arrived at the Komyozenji Temple to see their rock gardens. There is one in the front and one in the back.
This is a zen temple so mom found it a comforting place to be.
The inside of the temple is very plain and a place for calm reflection.
The back of the temple was beautiful and peaceful.
After leaving the temple we were surprised to see some homes had orange trees in the backyard already bearing fruit.
We walked a short distance to the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.
I got the following from the Fukuoka/Hakata Tourism site.
The shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane who is known as the god of learning, it is busy all through the year with a lot of visitors praying for success in exams and academic achievement.
We washed our hands before entering the shrine area.
With our trip more than halfway done, we were getting a bit punchy.
Since this shrine is supposed to have all the good luck omamori, we couldn't resist buying some education good luck charms for our loved ones who will be going to college and grad school. They weren't cheap at all.... but then the cost of education these days are sure going up, so what the heck!
Mom said it was a peach tree and I'm just taking her word for it.
But like I said.... I lost four pounds on this trip.
Umegae mochi is a sweet rice cake with sweet bean paste inside. It really was great!
We got back to the hotel around 6:00 PM and got ready to go to bed. Mom and I were now really sick. We needed to rest.
But it would be an early wake up again the following morning.