It's all thanks to the Spanish ambassador, really. Angeles and I were at the Spanish Consulate in Fukuoka, Kyushu's biggest city, to pick up her new passport. By midday, we'd done the business, slurped our way through the obligatory bowl of Hakata ramen, and were looking for a way to fill a few hours till it was time to catch the train back home.

"There's a lovely shrine just 20 minutes' train ride away," said the nice Japanese lady at the consulate, which was actually just an alcove in the offices of the General Medical Co. Ltd. Twenty minutes? That sounded a bit further than we could be bothered going.

"We took the ambassador there when he visited Fukuoka, and he loved it," she added.