|We didn't think there was going to be much to see in Fukuoka: we understood it to be a built up city of shopping malls, entertainment arcades etc so we didn't really come here for the sights. However, by pure chance we noticed what looked like a temple (we are pretty familiar with these by now!) just across the main street from our hotel and ventured inside to see a 36ft wooden Buddha!
We're sure we would have found more places of interest had we felt so inclined but we had other plans: our time in Fukuoka coincided with the start of the sumo grand tournament and we had bought tickets for the opening day. It starts around 8.30am with the amateurs but we didn't go until the early afternoon when the professionals came on (after having enjoyed a set lunch in in Indian restuarant remembering with nostalgia how good the food was there!).
On the way we spotted a few sumos in the street who obliged us with a photograph. Having bought the cheapest seats available we were quite far back from the action in the 2nd last row but David, not being one to miss out, insisted that we moved down to some empty seats nearer the ring. The seats we moved to had four cushions on the floor to lie out on and luckily they must have not been sold as we were able to sit there until the end. The sumo itself was quite interesting: the wrestlers spend several minutes before each match in a ritual of stretching, throwing salt in the ring and staring each other out which really hypes up the crowd, then the fight itself could be over within seconds. It was a great atmosphere and it got really exciting at the end with all the audience cheering on the top sumos, then at the end of the final fight it all got a bit crazy when everyone threw the purple cushions they had been sitting on towards the ring!
After the sumo we had a really interesting meal in a wee noodle restaurant where each person has an individual booth (like a ballot box) and you fill in an order form to request your noodle soup to your own specifications. This is handed in under a curtain to the staff and the food is served within minutes. It was easily the tastiest meal we have had here and we loved the novelty idea of choosing your own ingredients. We also think that eating in such privacy is definitely a good idea when it comes to tackling noodles with chopsticks!