TF Flashback: Travels Round Japan’s Most Southern Foremost Island With My In-Legal guidelines (2014)



It’s been a decade since I final visited Kyushu; essentially the most southern of Japan’s foremost 4 islands. Again in Could 2014 my girlfriend (now spouse) and I met up together with her mother and father and Momiji the canine (god, relaxation her soul) to journey round Kumamoto Prefecture. First, we had just a few days to ourselves in Nagasaki. When pondering of this metropolis first ideas typically flip to the atomic bomb that was dropped on it in 1945. Urukami is the hypocentre of the explosion and there are just a few bomb-blasted relics, monuments and paper cranes within the spacious concrete park.

The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum was mainly our first port of name and it was inevitably a chilling reminder at occasions of how atomic bombing could cause such devastation. Among the relics, informative supplies and images depicting the tragedy had been fascinating viewing albeit a bit miserable after all.

The Peace Park is a brief stroll from the museum and has the Fountain of Peace (formed like a dove’s wings) and the Peace Statue with its flat outstretched left hand symbolising everlasting peace. The proper hand factors to the sky to characterize nuclear risk.

From there we walked on to Urakami Cathedral which is a duplicate of the unique that was after all destroyed by the bomb at 11.02am on that fateful day in 1945.

A 15 minute stroll down the street is Sanno-jinja Shrine which is extra generally generally known as one-legged torii gate following the lack of it’s different one through the blast.

We took the ropeway as much as Mt Inasa statement platform for a view which is taken into account to be one of many three finest night time views on the earth. Not solely that however we noticed it from a restaurant with wonderful views while consuming a few reasonanly priced Nagasaki meals dishes; beef steak turkey rice (Nagasaki beef steak, pilaff, spaghetti and salad) and turkey rice (pork cutlet, pilaff , spaghetti and salad).


That wasn’t the tip of the regional delicacies although as we popped into a really native place to have what is maybe essentially the most well-known Nagasaki dish. Champon is a ramen speciality consisting of octopus, squid, kamaboko (white and pink fish-based patty), pork and greens in a white, salt-based broth.

The outdated Nagasaki Jail was knocked down in 2007 however the entrance gate stays, and that was a spot I went to see alone the subsequent day.

Earlier than that we had gone to Megane-bashi (spectacles bridge) which is known as due to the form made by the arches within the mirrored waters.

We then took one other tram to the Glover Backyard space however we didn’t have sufficient time to go searching the western-style homes and gardens.

Oura Catholic Cathedral is Japan’s oldest remaining gothic-style picket church. Nagasaki had principal hyperlinks to the likes of Portugal and the Netherlands, with the previous taking part in a serious half in opening Japan as much as Christianity which was then banned with 26 overseas monks and Japanese converts crucified in 1597. This church is devoted to these 26 Christians. The faith continued to be practised in secret till it was made authorized once more on the finish of the nineteenth century.

Shinchi Chinatown was adopted later that night by one other Nagasaki speciality; sara-udon (actually plate noodles) which on this occasion was chanpon noodles (versus the extra widespread thinner crispy noodles) with a topping of fried cabbage, bean sprouts, squid, prawns, pork and so forth.

A visit to Gunkanjima a.ok.a. Battleship Island was the principle factor I wished to do while in Nagasaki. Previously generally known as Hashima, this place was dropped at the mass consideration of the general public when it featured within the 007 movie ‘Skyfall‘ (2012) however it was sadly all faked on a set again at Pinewood Studios.

The island is just 480 metres lengthy and 150 metres large however with 5,300 residents as soon as residing there it had the world’s highest inhabitants density which meant that in typical Japanese trend every bit of land was constructed up with multi-storey buildings and so, with the encircling sea partitions, it got here to seem like an enormous battleship.

Mistubishi firm purchased the Hashima mine on the finish of the nineteenth century and that was the catalyst for the island’s improvement. The southern half of the island was for the workings of the mine and the northern half was dedicated to residential area, a faculty, eating places, outlets, a swimming pool, a shrine and a hospital.

Nevertheless, in April 1974 the mine was closed and people residents needed to go away Gunkanjima, abandoning the island. Following the exodus, extreme climate circumstances corresponding to typhoons brought about the buildings to deteriorate and as these buildings began to erode away and collapse, Gunkanjima was closed to the general public. We had been most likely on the island for round an hour which I assumed was lengthy sufficient and supplied a totally attention-grabbing perception into the island life and a way of how remoted the islanders should have been. Extra particulars right here

We took a few bullet practice rides from Nagasaki to Kumamoto the subsequent day to fulfill up with Rina’s mother and father starting with a short cease to see the huge fort space that dominates town. With its steep curved stone partitions, Kumamoto-jo is taken into account one of many three premier castles in Japan, together with those in Matsumoto and Himeji.


After sampling the native ramen dish, we headed south to Amakusa through a sequence of gorgeous islands (related by bridges) off the west coast of Kyushu. Rina’s mother and father had booked us all in to ryokan (conventional Japanese inn) with it’s personal non-public beach-of-sorts which allowed for a late afternoon amble over the rocks that lay between the pink bridge and our lodgings for the night time.

There was a lavish seafood night meal and an equally conventional breakfast which was adopted by a fast onsen (scorching spring) earlier than we went to see Amakusa Shiro Memorial Corridor; the location of the christian rise up within the seventeenth century whereby the surviving Christians continued to follow their religion in secret regardless of persecution. A lot of this story was additional explored within the Martin Scorsese directed movie ‘Silence‘ (2016).

Within the superbly landscaped Aso-san space later that morning we visited a shrine  possessing a fountainhead with a spectacular pond yielding an abundance of fine, clear, high quality water which is completely fantastic to drink.

Aso Shrine is essentially the most famous Shinto shrine in Kumamoto prefecture, and one which has  been a spot of worship going again to the 600s and plenty of guests come to enchantment to the native deity for luck in marriage amongst different issues. Our marriage ceremony was on the horizon at that time and it’s believed that for the fortune to actually be bestowed you must stroll round a specific tree two occasions.

Our last day in Kyushu caused some nice fortune as we had been capable of see Mount Aso very clearly amid fantastic circumstances whereas the day earlier than had been shrouded in mist. Aso-san is the most important volcano in Japan and the surroundings was superior with some splendid views of the greenery within the space.

Mount Aso consists of 5 peaks and the view of the peaks from this place is likened to a buddha mendacity down.

Kusasenri-ga-hama is an unlimited plain with cows grazing on the grass masking with horse rides on supply close by too.

Not removed from there was the lively Nakadake crater which was formed over 20,000 years in the past.

Mount Nakadake is situated throughout the caldera that’s 25 kilometres in diameter. Nakadake’s crater itself is 600 metres in diameter, 130 metres deep and has a circumference of 4 kilometres. This Grand Canyon-esque place emits smoke and as a result of presence of poisonous volcanic gasoline the crater is usually restricted.


The small, picturesque, inexperienced volcanic cone formed slope of Kome-zuka (954m) was seen just a few occasions all through the day. The identify really means ‘rice mound’ and it’s one other extinct volcano.

Aso Farm Land was our last vacation spot for the entire journey and one which was finally very disappointing for all of us, particularly Rina’s dad who mentioned that it had modified loads since he final went many, a few years earlier. This was a well being theme resort with crowds of individuals, eating places galore, memento outlets aplenty, many photograph alternatives, a lot of baths, spas and different such facilities. Principally, it had all of the makings of your typical Japanese vacationer lure however I couldn’t fairly get why this place was so in style!

It might not have been the ending this Kyushu journey deserved however fortunately virtually every thing that went earlier than it was actually nice. The subsequent time we travelled as a household was three months later once we went to the nation of my delivery.

Click on right here to learn ‘TF Flashback: Christmas In Fukuoka (2005)’

Click on right here to learn ‘Having fun with The Sluggish Tempo of Life On The Island That Aptly Seems to be Like A Snail’

Click on right here to learn ‘Day Journey To Gunkanjima a.ok.a. Battleship Island’

Click on right here to learn ‘We Obtained Very Fortunate To See The Great Mount Aso On A Uncommon Clear Day’



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