|Kappa, a water spirit on the steps of|
an old Samurai home in Chiran
|Kyushu, Japans, largest southern island. |
We started at the top, and now we're
south of Kagoshima, near the bottom
Five days ago we enjoyed the luxury of spending two nights in the same place at the hot springs resort area at the base of Mt. Yufuin. The climb to the top of it was well worth the seven hours it took to ascend 800 meters and descend 1200 back to town. We lucked out with perfect weather.
|Mt. Yufuin in the distance|
|View from near the top of Mt. Yufuin|
We only had one really long bus day, coupled with a train ride. It took us down to the bottom of one of the world’s largest calderas at Aso, (12 miles across and 18 long), complete with rice paddies, two cities, and multi-story apartments.
|The giant caldera at Aso|
Then we ascended 500 meters to the rim on the other side for a hike among the azaleas to the top of Mt. Eboshi to view the active Mt.Naka volcano. The azaleas were spectacular!
|View the way to Mt. Eboshi|
After a bullet train ride we spent the night in Kagoshima, the third largest city on Kyushu Island.
|Mt. Naka blowing off steam|
One of our regrets about this trip is that we just couldn't work the Hiroshima Peace Park into our itinerary. However, we may have made up for it in a small way with a visit the next morning to the Peace Museum for the Kamikaze pilots, located in Chiran, the site of a former Japanese Air Force base. Kamikaze means "divine wind," from over 1,000 years ago when typhoons wiped out two invading Chinese navies. It was both fascinating and highly emotional. We saw the artifacts and photos of all 937 pilots, including some translations of their poignant last letters to their parents, wives, girlfriends, and children.
|The Kamikaze Peace Museum|
|At a Samurai garden near Chiran|
We ended the day with a climb part way up Mt. Kaimon, the “Mt. Fuji of the South.” This was the last glimpse the pilots saw of the Japan mainland as they tipped their wings and headed and headed toward Okinawa. The hike was hot and humid in lush foliage and volcanic rock.
|Mt. Kaimon, the "Mt. Fuji of Satsuma"|
|View from part way up Mt. Kamian|
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|Getting ready to "sabo-sabo" pork in Kagoshima|
|The mother of all sashimi in Yufin|
|Mario, our guide and|
tabletop barbecue expert