Where to eat in Fukuoka, Kurakawa Onsen, and Tokyo
Will be on a honeymoon trip to Kyushu and Tokyo. We're going to Fukuoka for Tonkotsu ramen, Saga for saga beef (or would it be just as good in Fukuoka?), and Kurakawa Onsen for their ryokan. We're thinking either Sushi Mizutani or Sukiyabashi Jiro for sushi, but they're so difficult to book. (Sukiyabashi Jiro's phone line has been busy for the past 4 days.) Any other suggestions?
Have been searching on chowhound and found some good suggestions. But would love up-to-date recommendations. What else is kyushu known for other than onsens, saga beef, and ramen?
read any of the threads on sushi and you'll find many suggestions for alternatives--all up to date.
You can try Sushi Osamu in Fukuoka. Different take from their Tokyo counterparts; more focus on Kyushu ingredients (such as fugu, whale etc). I had an amazing 2pm late lunch there (though I order the dinner menu) so being the only patron and received full attention from the chef. Price is almost half what you would pay in Tokyo.
For other options in Fukuoka that I highly recommended: Yasugee for Oden (an old couple with their son serving very traditional oden) ; Satou for kaiseki (need to take a 30minute train ride from Fukuoka) Imahan for sukiyaki beef and かゆう美酒美食 for Izakaya.
BTW, Kurokawa Onsen is amazing. Which ryokan will you stay in?
Another speciality we particularly enjoyed in Kyushu a few months ago was horse. We went to Suganoya in Kumamoto with local friends (that I know from an online travel board) and had a multi-course feast. Was excellent, and would recommend it.
In Fukuoka we went to the Ramen Stadium in Hakata's Canal City, which was a fun place to try ramen. But there are many many places selling ramen around the city.
We loved Sanga ryokan for the place, rooms and baths but the meal, although delicious, was a disappointing experience. Everything was served (both nights) at break-neck speed. We'd seldom finished a dish before the next was brought out, sometimes there were two stacked up waiting. On the second night, we asked for the pace to be slower, but it made no difference. Food was good, though not a great balance of items, a lot of samey ones in a row. We've had much better kaiseki ryori elsewhere. That said, I'd still consider Sanga again, as I adored our hanare room, a private residence with an indoor stone bath and an outdoor wooden one on our private deck. Was gorgeous.
Actually, Southern Kyushu is the land of imo-shochu (made from sweet potatoes). My favourites are from the very south of Miyazaki prefecture, in the Kirishima region. Northern Kyushu seems given over to mugi-shochu (made from barley) which really never excites me. Interestingly, I recently got a bottle of soba-shochu (made from buckwheat) and it is lighter like barley shochu, but with a deep complex flavour like imo-shochu.