In our previous trip to Japan, we did a few spontaneous side trips that were not planned. And we often ended up enjoying the day and seeing a bit of the local life. Since our arrival on March 8th, the weather has been fantastic with temperatures (‘C) in high teens and low twenties. Most days were sunny and clear.
Here is our spontaneous side trip out of Fukuoka to a coastal town of Karatsu, about 50 km west. The train ride with one transfer to a rapid express took over an hour. But on the way back, we got the milk-run train that stopped at every station along the way and it added another 30 minutes. We saw students taking the train home…this included kids in elementary school taking public transportation by themselves. This is not unusual. We notice that often in our trip here.
Karatsu is known for its castle and local pottery. There are a number of other attractions but we had limited time there, so the highlight was the castle. Another highlight was the train ride itself, seeing old traditional houses, greenhouses, farms, and solar panels in the countryside and the islands along the coast.