West Japan Sakura Season: Combining Hanami, History & Haute Cuisine

Steeped in rich history, delicious cuisine, and incredible views of the flowering cherry blossoms, West Japan is also a region that features around two dozen historic castles, many of which are surrounded by picturesque sakura-filled gardens that are perfect for a day of leisurely relaxation. Furthermore, these famous attractions, when paired with the beautiful weather of March and April, can make for an amazing springtime sojourn from the city din of Tokyo and Osaka. If you would like to include hanami, history, and haute cuisine on your itinerary, then be sure to visit these five West Japan restaurants—each offering seating with lush views of sakura as well as nearby proximities to popular castles and sakura groves.

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Fukuoka Ramen Guide: 5 Epicurean Haunts for Hakata Ramen

When people talk about Fukuoka ramen, connoisseurs immediately understand that they are actually referring to Hakata, a Fukuoka city ward. A typical bowl of Hakata ramen starts with the soup broth, comprised of gelatinous stock made with bones from every part of the pig, creating a rich, bold flavor and distinctive, meaty aroma. The thin, straight noodles are served at a firm al dente due to their shorter cooking time, and as people in old Hakata could attest, one helping is never enough!

As ramen is so ubiquitous in Fukuoka, with a shop on nearly every corner, how do you distinguish between the average and the extraordinary? Here are 5 shops that rise above the fray, each rightfully considered the best ramen in Fukuoka.

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