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Japan 2023: Day 4

I woke up at 5am again as jet lag continued to kick my ass. But at least it provided me with more time to read Empires of EVE: Volume 2. We finally got out of bed at 8am and hit up Cafe Fadie's for some caffeine before grabbing some brunch at Nooice (that is not a typo). The smashed avocado toast was delicious and Elsie enjoyed her matcha pancakes (even if they were too big for her).

We planned to spend most of our day at Canal City, a massive shopping centre that contains all sorts of nerdy stores such as a Gundam Base and Bandai Namco Cross Store. It also has fountains in the central courtyard that play a show at the top of every hour. The top floor of Canal City is actually called "Ramen Stadium" and is a kind of food court that has like seven different types of ramen shops. I was extremely tempted to try some but we had already had plans for dinner today. Elsie made reservations at the Kirby Cafe on the basement floor for 3:45pm. Since we finished exploring the mall by 1pm we had some time to kill.

Canal City is very close to Hakata's "old town" so we figured we'd go for a walk and check out some of the shrines. Our first stop was Kushida-jinja which is where the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is centred. It is effectively a city wide parade where one ton floats are carried through the streets and end up at the shrine.

Tōchō-ji was our next stop and is the site of Japan's largest seated wooden Buddha. While the Buddha itself was a sight to behold we experienced something much more interesting. At the bottom left of the Buddha was a makeshift sign that had "entrance" written on it with an arrow. So naturally we followed it and were taken to a space underneath the Buddha. The walls of this cavern were covered in murals depicting oni brutally murdering and eating humans. When you get to the end of the murals you enter a pitch black passageway. It was so dark that the only way I could navigate was to put my hands out to the side and run them along the wall to know when it was curving. Easily one of the most surreal experiences I've had and highly recommend if you find yourself in Fukuoka.

By now it was time to head back to the Kirby Cafe where Elsie and I thoroughly enjoyed every excessively cute Kirby themed dish which we brutally devoured. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel for 5:30pm so we could watch the final 30 minutes of day nine of sumo. We then closed out the evening with some drinks and pork belly skewers at the hotel bar.