Takefue - a luxury ryokan in Kyushu, Japan

The happiest part of a vacation often happens way before one ever steps foot in the destination, and this is especially true with planning travel to Japan. The accommodation options are so diverse and high standard that you can’t go wrong with almost any one of them, but of course, we still want to stay at the best possible one for the price we can afford. Choosing where to stay in your Japan trip becomes a challenging and delightful activity.

The hotel cherry-picking game is even harder when it comes to onsen towns in Japan. During our trip to Kyushu in early 2020, we visited Kurokawa (黒川温泉) and Yufuin (由布院), two of Japan’s most attractive hot spring towns. Both offer an abundance of unique ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) with high quality meals and gorgeous scenery, and the quality of the hot spring itself is excellent, needless to say.

Among those, Takefue (竹ふえ) stands out as the ultimate choice of our stay in the area.


The otherworldly setting

Takefue is a typical Ikenyado (一軒宿). In the Japanese ryokan world, the word Ikenyado is used to describe the type of hotels which have their own private, exclusive place.[...Click title to read entire post]

2020 Pre-Covid Trip in Kyushu, Japan

Duration:
02/05/2020 - 02/15/2020

Destinations:
Fukuoka (福岡) - Hita (日田) - Beppu (別府) - Kitsuki (杵築) - Bungotakada (豊後高田) - Usa (宇佐) - Yufuin (由布院) - Kurokawa (黒川温泉) - Aso (阿蘇) - Takachiho (高千穂) - Hyuga (日向) - Miyazaki (宮崎) - Nichinan (日南) - Kirishima (霧島) - Kagoshima (鹿児島) - Ibusuki (指宿) - Kumamoto (熊本)


Planning

For this trip, I booked two return award tickets from Boston to Fukuoka for my wife and myself - one booked with Marriot Bonvoy points (transfered to Japanese Airlines mileage with some bonus), the other with Alaska Mileage directly. I’m not going into the details here, but booking with JAL miles directly has a few advantages, the top two being:

  • You can book multi stop tickets with the same amount of miles as just flying to Tokyo (e.g. JFK - NRT - FUK costs the same amount of miles as JFK - NRT)
  • You will have more available dates & seats for award tickets than booking with partner airlines
waterfront
JL7 Sky Suite

The business (aka Sky[...Click title to read entire post]

The Noguchi museum in Queens, NY

When I went to Sapporo in 2015 for the first time, I visited Moerenuma Park and fell in love with it immediately. Since then, the park’s architect, Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), has become one of my favorite.

I began to search Noguchi’s other works and was happy to find that he had a dedicated museum (or the Isamu Noguchi foundation, some call it) in Queens, New York. So we decided to pay it a visit on a warm July day, and below are some photos of Noguchi’s sculpture works I took. You can find the entire list of collections here.

1
2
2
2
2
noguchi
noguchi
1
1
2
1
2
2
1