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ASIA JAPAN DESTINATIONS Robo


hop


Step into the future as a new air link to Japan opens up quirky Kyushu, writes Jenni Doggett


T


here are six robot dogs, three sequinned jackets


and one Thriller soundtrack. This could only be Japan. I’m in Robosquare, a shop and exhibition space dedicated to all things robotic, in Fukuoka City. Fukuoka is the capital of and


gateway to Kyushu, Japan’s third- largest and southwesternmost island. It is roughly the size of Switzerland and has all the futuristic extravagances of Tokyo – the all-out sensory overload of mega-malls and a riot of kitsch co-existing blithely alongside minimalist classical design, ancient shrines and dramatic natural beauty.


But it also has as many Michelin


stars as London, an onsen, or hot spring, around every corner and a mellow cosmopolitan vibe less pronounced in its northern counterparts. After three spectacular


computer canine dance routines and a frenzy of flashing lights, I mooch outside to Momochihama Beach’s broad arc of empty sand, where it takes several soothing slurps of green-tea ice cream and a view over the East China Sea to calm my over-stimulated brain. Hopping onto an open-top bus, I head back to Canal City in search of some of Fukuoka’s


19 May 2016 travelweekly.co.uk 49


PICTURE: CITY OF FUKUOKA


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