Wednesday, October 17, 2012

kyushu day 4&5: yakushima and kagoshima

If you're a Mononoke Hime fan, you should definitely check out Yakushima! Yakushima is an island about a two hour ferry ride away from Kagoshima. It's a UNESCO reserve and a natural World Heritage Site. Since we only had a day on the island, we decided to go hiking around the Shiratani Unsuikyo, which is the ravine that is said to have been the inspiration for the scenery in Mononoke Hime.

It was really beautiful and the hike wasn't too strenuous! We hiked for about three hours. It was funny because all the Japanese people who were hiking were super prepared with gear and walking sticks and raincoats...and we looked like we just came off the streets. I felt super out of place, but to be honest, I don't think the gear was necessary for just hiking. Maybe they were camping! In which case, yes, you need gear.

We came back in the evening to Kagoshima. This is a picture of Sakurajima, which is across the bay from Kagoshima. It's another active volcano!

Kagoshima is famous for all kinds of potato, so we had a sweet potato and yam gelato. Yum!

Our last day in Kagoshima was a bit...interesting. Sakurajima decided to spew out some volcanic ash, so we were basically walking through a cloudy haze of the stuff. It was horrible for my eyes especially since I wear contacts. You can see in this picture that cloud of ash coming towards Kagoshima.

Nevertheless, we tried to endure it as much as we could and went through a park that commemorates the Meiji Restoration.

I recently watched a Japanese period drama called Atsu-hime, which was set in Kagoshima! This house was where one of the characters lived.

Our flight was in the afternoon, so that was all we had time for. It was a really good trip, and if you are thinking of going to Kyushu, I definitely recommend going to Yakushima if you can fit it into your schedule!

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