Introduction: Flying to Japan to Ride the Shinkansen
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Premium Economy Class – Dallas to Tokyo
Review: NAA Dayroom – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines – (787-800) Economy Class – Tokyo to Bangkok
Review: Aloft Hotel – Bangkok
Review: Singapore Airlines (A330) Business Class – Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines (777-300) Business Class – Singapore to Tokyo
Review: Nozomi Shinkansen – Tokyo to Fukuoka
Review: Hilton Sea Hawk – Fukuoka
Day Trip to Uminonakamichi Island
Review: Gyozaya Ninoni – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways Lounge – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways (767-300) Business Class – Fukuoka to Naha
Review: All Nippon Airways (737-800) Economy Class Naha to Nagoya
Review: All Nippon Airways (Bombardier Dash 8) Economy Class – Nagoya to Tokyo
Review: 9 Hours Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport
Review: IASS Executive Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: TEI Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas
We rested a bit on the day of travel to Fukuoka because it was a long journey, especially for me. I traveled from Bangkok to Singapore to Tokyo and on to Fukuoka on the shinkansen within a 24-hour span. I love traveling but the itinerary might have been a bit much, even for my standards. Either way, the next day started early as we decided to visit Uminonakamichi Island. Uminonakamichi Island or Seaside Park was located a short ferry ride across the bay from the Hilton Sea Hawk.
As I mentioned, we took the ferry to Uminonakamichi. There were other methods such as taxi or bus, but they would have taken considerably longer to get to the park. My son loves boats, so the ferry was no-brainer. The ferry landing was about a 30 minute walk from the hotel along and area known as “The Beach”. Which ironically, is a beach.
We exited the hotel through the lower level, near the bus parking area, then crossed the road to the beach. With it being so early in the morning, the beach was empty, except for a handful of Japanese women performing an area clean up. I have seen this type of thing throughout my travels in Japan. The sense of community is apparent.
There were public restrooms, with vending machines, along the walkway. I liked how the restrooms blended into the surroundings. Pro-tip: purchase a hot Café Au Lait from a vending machine during your Japan travels. You can thank me later.
As we continued down the beach, we came upon an area with shops and restaurants. If this were a different time, I could see myself sitting here all day without a care in the world.
The ferry landing was next to the shops. As we approached, we heard (in Japanese) the final call for Uminonakamichi. We started running for the ticket counter. The staff saw us running and held the boat. The roundtrip ferry cost 2,000 Japanese yen, about $20 USD.
The ferry was on the older side, as you can tell by the interior. Ironically, I did not feel unsafe during the 20 minute ride across the bay. There was, however, a lot of traffic (bigger boats) on the water which worried me.
As we disembarked the ferry at Uminonakamichi, one of the staff members assisting us began smiling from ear to ear. He then approached and started a coversation using his limited English. We chatted for a few minutes about Los Angeles (where he visited) and Mississippi (where I was born). This interaction put me at ease for the rest of the visit to the island. Having lived in Japan for four years, I grew accustomed to this type of interaction. Many Japanese people do not make you feel bad for not being fluent in Japanese. They, instead, use the opportunity to practice their English. Arigato Gozaimasu! DO NOT forget to practice your Japanese with them.
The visitor’s center/ticket office was the first building we visited on the island. Since the person working was outside preparing the ferry for the return trip, we decided to explore without a plan. Luckily, there was a huge map outside of the building, which gave us a lay of the land.
First things first, Uminonakamichi Seaside park is HUGE. The ferry landing was near Marine World, the big aquarium in the park. The aquarium was not yet open, as it was only 9am. The cost to enter the aquarium was almost $25 USD.
Our main objective became to visit Wonder World, which was on the other side of the park. The park has to be nearly two miles across because it felt like we were walking forever. Pro tip: If you have a young child or someone who cannot handle prolonged standing, please take a stroller, wheelchair, scooter, etc. to assist them. We were able to break up the journey by stopping for ice cream at a shop along the walkway.
After some time, we entered the gates to Wonder World (sounds like something from a movie, right? LOL). Wonder World is exactly as its name implies, amazing. There were well over 20 different attractions. The attractions include multiple climbing apparatuses, “beach houses”, pools, a park lookout, animal rides, bumper cars, train, arcade, and a restaurant, to name a few. I am tired from typing that…whew.
We approached the entrance and quickly found the ticket vending machine. Two adult and one infant ticket cost approximately $10 USD, which I thought was really cheap.
I provided the tickets to the staffer working the window and was pointed towards the bicycle rental. Where. Was. This. Earlier.
Once I provided the tickets to the attendant, he welcomed us to a room full of bicycles. All of the bikes were similar in style, but I made sure to get one with a loud bell so I could let other guests know a runaway train was coming. HAHAHA.
The first area we played was the “tire swing”. I do not know the proper name, but we had fun on it either way. Pro tip: this is something geared more towards the kids so do not get stuck in the tires, mmmkay?
The next stop was the “beach houses”. It was another place for children to exert some energy by running from house to house.
After playing at those two spots, it was time for my son to relax in the kids’ pool. Parents were encouraged to get in with the younger ones. There were changing rooms next to the pool, if needed. My son enjoyed this more than anything else at the park.
We began a long journey to the other side of Wonder World. There were some trails and streams along the way, but the highlight was the lookout point. I do not know the proper name, but it over looked the entire parks lookout point it is. If you look close enough, you can see the streams and mountain slides below. Pro tip: DO NOT let you child ride an unfamiliar bike down this hill alone.
We made our way towards the big play area below. There were the aforementioned mountain slides, animal rides, bumper cars, train, arcade, and a restaurant. As we approached the area, we were quickly turned around by staffers working the grounds. Bicycles were not allowed in this area, apparently. We moved the bike to the designated parking area, which was close to the car parking lot. My son was partial to the mountain slide so we spent most of our time there.
After a full day of playing, we were tired and decided to grab something to eat at the Wonder World Restaurant. It was just steps away from the animal rides. If we were not tired of playing at this point, there were some games located near the main entrance of the restaurant.
The day trip to Uminonakamichi Seaside Park was more than I could have imagined. The ferry, concessions, bike rentals, and Wonder World entrance fees were relatively cheap. I thought the prices would have been a bit higher.
There was so much to do at Uminonakamichi that it woube better to break it up into two days, if you have time. We did not have the time so we pushed through for the full day. I hate we missed the aquarium, but will definitely visit the next time we are in Fukuoka.
Have you ever visited Uminonakamichi Seaside Park?