TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2018
Thursday, 02 November, 2017 19:32

Kyushu – We Travel The Island

A Day Down South ….   We started the day early by once again jumping on the Shinkansen for a 90 minute, 250 km journey down to Kagoshima, a beautiful, modern Japanese city.  We purchased a one day bus pass and jumped on the bus and headed for the Shiroyama Observatory which towers above the city.  A fantastic weather day provided us with great views across the city and best of all views of the active volcano, Mt. Sakurajima.

Mt Sakurajima volcano from the Shiroyama Obeservatory

Views over Kagoshima City and the Mt Sakurajima volcano from the Shiroyama Obeservatory

Back On The Bus …. Our next point of call was the famous Sengan-en Gardens established in the mis 1600’s.  These are beautifully maintained traditional Japanese gardens and with the autumn colours, trickling streams and the peacefulness made this a very relaxing place.   That was until we came across the filming of parts of a Japanese movie with many actors parading around in traditional Japanese dress.   It became an interesting interlude in our walk around the gardens.

Sengan-en Japanese Gardens in Kagoshima

Sengan-en Japanese Gardens in Kagoshima

Japanese actors in traditional costumes

Japanese actors in traditional costumes

Now Onto A Ferry …. Another short bus ride to the ferry terminal and we were on our way to the island of Sakurajima made famous by the fact that it has one of the most active volcanoes in the world.  Our one day bus pass entitled us to a tour of the island stopping off at many key vantage points to view the island and the volcano.  It was then back on the bus to return to the station and a leisurley 90 minute ride back to our apartment.

Across to Sakurajima Island

Across to Sakurajima Island to see close up the active volcano

An Early Start ….  Next morning we jumped once again on the Shinkansen and headed for Oita on the east coast of Kyushu.  From there onto a local train to travel to a small town called Yufuin.  This 50 km trip was fascinating as it passed through small villages, across mountain streams and rivers with beautiful autumn tonings everywhere.

Scenery from the train on the way to Yufuin

Scenery from the train on the way to Yufuin

Yes, Another Bus ….  We purchased a bus pass for a scenic tour of the town and visited a nursery, then a temple followed by a shrine.  The one hour trip was a scream as we were the only tourists on the small bus and we communicated with the driver in broken English with many laughs between us.

Our bus for the tour around Yufuin.  Plenty of laughs with the driver

Our bus for the tour around Yufuin. Plenty of laughs with the driver

Orchid display at the garden centre on our bus trip

Orchid display at the garden centre on our bus trip


Walking the Town ….   After our entertaining city tour we walked the main street of Yufuin which has many tourist shops selling souvenirs, local foods and a whole range of unidentifiable goods.  It was then back on the train to Oita for an overnight stop.

Yufuin main tourist street

Yufuin main tourist street. 1 km long and lot’s of tourist shops

The 'Garden Walk' in Yufuin

The ‘Garden Walk’ in Yufuin. Quaint little gift shops.

We Walk Oita ….   Oita is another modern Japanese city with wide streets and of course plenty of shopping.  Our hotel was at the end of a long shopping arcade so we took the opportunity to walk the length of this covered mall and take in the local atmosphere.

Our hotel in Oita for a night

Our hotel in Oita for a night – I think we left our light on.

We Visit Hell ….    Back on the train for an 8 minute train ride to Beppu.  Purchased another one day bus pass and was on our way to ‘Hell’.  That is the western name given to the Jigoku Meguri Hot Springs area in Beppu.   You purchase a ticket that covers the 7 main hot springs which are separated by either a short bus ride or walk between each.  You see geysers gushing out boiling water, boiling mud, steam and red ponds called blood ponds.  This is a fascinating area and presented in pristine gardens.   We even took a foot bath in the very hot thermal water.

The 'Hell' of Beppu

The ‘Hell’ of Beppu. This area is ‘Roturua, NZ’ on steroids.

Boiling mud pools at the 'Hell' of Beppu

Boiling mud pools at the ‘Hell’ of Beppu

Just to prove we were in 'Hell'

Just to prove we were in ‘Hell’

Now Into Heaven ….   From hell we literally went to heaven.  Another bus ride climbing further up the mountains to the Beppu Ropeway.  This ropeway takes you to 1300 meters above sea level to offer views over all of Beppu and Oita.  The autumn colours on the way to the top were magnificent.

Beppu Ropeway to 1300 meters above sea level

Beppu Ropeway to 1300 meters above sea level. Autumn tonings were magnificent.

One of the steepest ropeways we have been on.

Beautiful autumn tonings and one of the steepest ropeways we have been on.


We Return To Our Apartment ….    We then jumped on another train back to Fukuoka and our Airbnb after two fantastic days on the east coast of Kyushu.  Our final day was spent exploring parts of Fukuoka we hadn’t yet visited and the following morning onto the Shinkansen for our trip to Kyoto.

Shintencho Shopping Street in Fukuoka

Shintencho Shopping Street in Fukuoka. Dressed for autumn

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