Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Should you rent a car in Fukuoka? (+ Yanagawa in Spring!)

Time for the first part of the recap! I'm sure all of you have heard TONS of things about Fukuoka and to a lesser extent Yanagawa and Dazaifu by now so I want to focus on something different:

Should you rent a car in Fukuoka (or anywhere else in Kyushu)?

The answer if obvious if you're going somewhere like Itoshima, where you probably won't be able to get around with a car, but what about Yanagawa and Dazaifu? There is a direct train from Nishitetsu and they even sell packages that include lunch and the boat ride (or mochi if you're going to Dazaifu). Plus, there's the Tabito, a really pretty train just for Dazaifu.

On the other hand, a car is useful if you're traveling in a fairly large group of people (between five to ten) and you want to make sure everyone can sit and/or make as much noise as they want without disturbing others. And if you're travelling with elderly folk, a car may be the easier option because you don't have to rush for the train, deal with steps/finding an elevator, and have somewhere to put all the things that you will invariably buy (ok, the last point isn't exclusive to elderly travellers).

And the car may not be the more expensive option either (if we're talking about the packaged tickets). Depending on the season, the rental for a car may actually be the cheaper option, especially if you're planning to visit a large number of places.

Places that my family and I have rented before (and therefore accept international licenses):

1. Budget Rent a Car

We rented a small car for our trip to Itoshima and we were really pleased with it. It was also cheap (though I can't quite remember the price now). Booking and picking up the car was also a breeze and the shop actually handed us the car early (we arrived like half an hour before booking time. Of course we also had to return the car half an hour earlier but that wasn't a problem).

They also have discounts if you book via the internet.

2. Toyota Rent a Car

This was where we got the car for my graduation trip, mostly because Budget didn't have a car big enough to fit all eight of us (to be fair, it was probably peak season and we did leave things to the last minute). We actually managed to pick up the car in Fukuoka and return it at Sasebo, so if you're looking to do a car + train experience without having to double back, this is a good option (by the way, it's possible Budget does this too, but I've never tried it so I don't dare to say it does or that it doesn't).

They had a discount for when you paid with credit card (I think it was like 5%) so depending on the rates it may be better to charge it to your card. I managed to use my Line debit card so I got the 5% rebate + 2% points.

Oh, and Toyota also has a package where you can use as many toll roads for one fee. If you're traveling from one prefecture to another and plan to use the highway (and your highway is covered by Toyota) then you should get this too.

And now for part two: PICTURES

Dazaifu

We just missed the plum blossoms but I did manage to get this:


It was also near the hinamatsuri so I saw this at the restaurant!


Yanagawa

I seem to go to Yanagawa on cloudy/raining days but there were flowers this time and it was so much prettier than my previous trip!

I also forgot my camera so the pictures aren't the best but you can still see some colour:



And more decorations for hinamatsuri. It's a big deal in Yanagawa so you should definitely go if you're in Kyushu around March/early April (if I remember correctly it stays up for quite some time).



I thought this version of the hina-ningyo (basically ornamental dolls that are royalty/nobility and arranged in a certain way) was really cute!


Random photo at shop:


I didn't take that many photos this time round but I would definitely recommend Yanagawa for spring.