Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Place #2: Kagoshima 2カ所目:鹿児島

Day 3 of our trip, we left Yakushima. Our plan was to hike the Shirataniunsuikyo in the morning, another hiking trail that has scenes from Princess Mononoke, but we woke up to heavy rain. Since our bodies were aching from the day before as well, we decided to take it easy at the hostel until we had to take the ferry back.
We got into talking with the lady who takes care of the place, whom we called "obachan". She made us coffee and tea, and told us her story of why she lives in Yakushima over the summers. She was so friendly and kind throughout the 2 nights that we lived there and really made us feel at home.


After our raincoat disasters in the Jomon ceder hiking, we also bought ourselves a 300 yen plastic raincoats each- and used our old coats to cover our backpacks. Not so glamorous, but the main thing was to not get wet and to be able to move and walk comfortably. And I have to say that looking back, we traveled quite light considering the fact that we were out traveling for nearly 20 days.


Back in Kagoshima, we celebrated a lovely journey's start with drinks and yummy food- including the famous Kagoshima black pork... yummy!
We also found a public bath house to relax in before heading back to the hostel.


Next day, was out time to sightsee Kagoshima! We were able to see a few historical sights as well as beautiful viewpoints and a japanese garden.

 We saw the caves where Saigou Takamori, known as one of the last samurais, were hiding during Shiyorama battle, his last stand against the meiji government. He was even whom Katsumoto, the character in the movie the Last Samurai, was based on.


 We also went to Sengan-en, a japanese style landscape garden. The small ponds, streams, shrines and the bamboo forests created beautiful views, wherever we walked inside the garden. The Sakurajima island also fit so perfectly into the view.

We also tried another famous Kagoshima food- Shirokuma. A type of japanese dessert made from shaved ice, this particular one is flavoured with condensed milk, friends and sweet beans. We didn't know about this until we got to Kagoshima and many locals who recommended us to eat it. 
Unfortunately, it was a taste that neither my sister nor I liked... but at least now we know what it is! 


We also visited Francisco Xavier Park, with the little time that we had before taking the bullet train to Kumamoto. The name ringed a special sound in our minds, because we went to an elementary named after this roman catholic missionary when we grew up in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. Francisco Xavier  reached japan in 1549 and entered Japan through landing on Kagoshima.


It was now that we had our JR passes stamped- and our adventure using the trains began.

Next stop- Kumamoto! 


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