Just like that, it's getting wintry again in Fukuoka. We ended our long winning streak of warm autumn weather this week and now is the season to break out the heat-tech thermals, turn on the kotatsu, fill up the hot water bottles and get ready for winter hibernation. The funny thing is, before living through our first few winters in Japan, I used to prefer cold weather. But entering our fifth winter in Fukuoka, I'm nonplussed to say the least. Maybe it has something to do with our old apartment building that has no hot water through the taps and no central heating?
But enough whinging. Winter also has it's attractive side - looking at Christmas lights in the cold, wearing pretty coats and hats, sipping on hot umeshu and who could forget the cherry on top? - an abundance of amazing onsen!
Today I went on a solo mission to my favourite flea market at Hakozaki Shrine. No matter how many times I visit this market, I always spend ages browsing. There's a laid back atmosphere to the market, nobody is rushing and it's not too crowded so it's the perfect place to wander leisurely on a Sunday morning.
There are always a few good stalls selling used kimonos and accessories. Kimono prices range from super cheap (¥1,000) to quite expensive for the better quality garments, so there's something for everyone.
In the lead-up to Christmas lots of stalls had vintage ornaments and cards.
I always find myself drawn to old albums of stamps and photographs.
The market is set up along the 1km approach to Hakozaki Shrine, so it's always tempting to cross over the road to say hello to the great thatch-rooved shrine. Right now the Shichi-Go-San children's festival is happening in Japan, so there were cute kids in beautiful festive kimono getting their photos taken at the shrine.
Thanks for a great Sunday outing, Hakozaki!