Hopping Around Kitakyushu (Family Vacation Part Three)

After a restful evening in Marine Terrace Beach Resort, Jeremy and I were excited to start the third day of our trip. We were excited to go check a unique zoo that we had found out about thanks to our friend, Yumi. Seeing the sun rising over the mountains as we got ready was really cool.

Hopping Around Kitakyushu Southern Ohana1

We headed down to the dining room for breakfast. The breakfast the hotel serves was a typical Japanese breakfast buffet with lots of fish made different ways. As adventurous as I am, I am not a fish in the morning person yet. Jeremy, on the other hand, was excited to try the fish. I didn’t realize until we were leaving that they also had a cereal selection too.

The zoo we were going to was a kangaroo zoo that was part of a larger botanical garden park. I don’t know the English name for it but the Japanese name is 北九州市若松区ひびき動物ワールド. Kangaroos are Jeremy’s favorite animal. As soon as I saw Yumi’s post about her visiting the park I knew I had to take Jeremy. The park has several different kinds of kangaroos. Since we were going during the week and it was in the middle of winter, we were the only patrons there. One of the keepers lead us around the park. Unfortunately, he didn’t speak English so we couldn’t ask any questions or learn what each type of kangaroo we were looking at but we did enjoy having him point out different things in each area.

The first area we went to had tiny cat size kangaroos. Their fence wasn’t closed all the way around so they often slipped out and ran around the kangaroo area of the park. They were really cute and fun to watch hopping around.

The next few pens it was hard to see the kangaroos since many were inside their houses trying to keep warm. Before visiting here I didn’t know there were so many different types of kangaroos. I clearly need to learn more about them.

In the center of the kangaroo park is a large pen with dozens of kangaroos. The keeper let us go inside and interact with the kangaroos. Jeremy was really excited to do this. There were adult kangaroos and tiny little joeys. It was amazing to be able to pet them and see them up close.

After spending an hour playing with the kangaroos we decided to go warm up in the learning room. It had a couple cases showcasing stuffed kangaroos.

Since it was freezing we decided to skip the rest of the park and find something for lunch. I had recently realized that Google Maps had an option to explore local restaurants based on different categories. We decided to search through cheap eats and we found a place advertising as a French restaurant called Poche Jardin. It sounded interesting and had good reviews so we followed the GPS to that location. When we pulled up it looked an old house with lots of artwork just stuck randomly around the property. This made us more intrigued to see what was inside.

Stepping inside I instantly felt like I was back in Wilmington, NC. There was a small shop in the front and the restaurant is in a room towards the back. The house was decorated with antiques.

The owner sat us down at a table and gave a menu handwritten in Japanese. Because it was handwritten our Google translate wouldn’t work. In fact, it said one of the meals was made with dinosaur. The owner, who spoke a little bit of English, recommended an option that was pork and steak for ¥1500 ($13). We agreed to that not really knowing what we ordered but it sounded good. First, he brought out a nice salad served on china. When we finished that he brought out a delicious potato soup. As soon as we had finished that he brought out a second salad, the entree, and rice; all of which was beautifully plated. Finally, for dessert, he brought out gorgeous plates that had a custard jello, chocolate crepe slice, toasted bananas, a carrot slice, and a square of cake. The plate was decorated with flavored jellies and chocolate. It was almost too pretty to eat. We left the restaurant completely stuffed.

We headed back to the hotel to relax before heading down to dinner. The dinner that night was very similar to the dinner the previous night. All of it was incredibly delicious.

After dinner, we decided to go back down to the onsens. Just like the resort in Oshima, the hotel switches the onsens back and forth between the males and females. It was nice to be able to experience this one because, in addition to the indoor and outdoor onsens, there was also a cold onsen to soak in. I tried the cold one but I was back out in half a second because soaking in a cold onsen in December is just insane. Once again, we had the onsens to ourselves.

I really liked this hotel and the views were amazing. I can’t wait to stay here again on more time before we leave. It’s only 4 hours away from base taking the back roads. Plus there is so much to see and do in Kitakyushu that we haven’t checked out yet.

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