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October 5, 2013
Day 2 - Kagoshima

Kagoshima (鹿児島) is Kyushu's southernmost major city. It is often compared with its Italian sister city Naples, due to its similarly mild climate, palm tree lined streets, relatively hot tempered inhabitants and Sakurajima, Kagoshima's Vesuvius.

Sakurajima is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. It smokes constantly, and minor eruptions often take place multiple times per day. As the area's most prominent geographic feature, Sakurajima greatly adds to Kagoshima's landscape. Visitors can marvel at the frequent eruptions from many observation points around the volcano.

Today's Report
Kagoshima in the rain

Looking for pumice at Nagisa Park

As the title pretty much sums it up, it rained the whole time we were on our walk. Rain or shine, our walkers turned up as they said they would (as did I!). We definitely looked the motley crew in ponchos, rain jackets, with umbrellas and a bear-head hat, walking up the road towards Shiroyama Observation Deck. Not that any of that gear stopped the rain from soaking us to the skin.

At Sakurajima ferry terminal heading to Kagoshima

Tram lines and an approaching tram in Kagoshima city

The funny thing about having rain after an eruption from Sakurajima yesterday meant that there was ash mixed with the rain. I had hoped the heavy rain would wash the ash of the car, but things only got dusty after the rain water dried off.

Cars here get pretty dirty because of volcanic ash

Along the walk, I learnt more about Kagoshima. Like,the reason why food in Kagoshima is sweet is because sugar was a rare commodity in the early days and was only put into food for special or important guests. Over time, the local flavours evolved to become sweeter as it got more common. For example, Kagoshima’s soy sauce is sweeter than Tokyo’s! (It was a sweet surprise for my tastebuds.)

Or that those who live honourably and embody the spirit of the Samurai are also called Satsuma Hayato.

The frogs came out to play, thanks to the rain.

Or how do those living on Sakurajima deal with living by an active volcano? For those who have lived most of their lives on the island, their first thought when there is an eruption is the wind direction (if the ash would blow in their direction) instead of escape. Don’t be worried if you’re here in the event of a major eruption as there are escape/contingency plans.

Team picture number 1 beneath Saigo's statue.

Iwamoto-san from where I'm staying, Sakurajima Seaside Hotel, joined me on my last leg of my walk at Nagisa Park in Sakurajima, explaining how the land the park is on came to existence thanks to a massive eruption 99 years ago. You can see lots of volcanic rock in the area and people also pick “karui ishi”, literally light stone, or also known as pumice, at the park.

Ending at the foot bath in Nagisa Park is a great idea after all the walking. There is the view of Sakurajima on one side, and the Kagoshima city view on the other. Did I mention that there’s plenty of space and it’s also free for everyone?

Lots of seats for everyone.

This faces the sea and Kagoshima city. Watching the sun set from here must be beautiful.

Half of Sakurajima covered in smoke/by clouds. Or is it a smoke cloud?

My room faces the ocean, so there's the view of Ibusuki to look forward to in the morning and sunset during dinner if the weather prevails. Dinner was served in my room and it was a grand affair. There were many different dishes, with sashimi, stewed pork and vegetables, simmered vegetables and the list continues. Not only was it difficult to decide which to eat first, I was completely stuffed after the meal! (Bath before dinner, sleep after dinner is the way to go. haha)

One day, there'll be a lick your screen taste function. Then you too, can taste the difference in the soy sauce.

The walk on Day 4 looks like it’s going to be a killer. It must be why I’m being fed so well now. Those who are up for the challenge, eat well and I’ll see you there.

ありがとうごわす / Arigatougowasu (Kagoshima dialect for thank you)

Team picture number 2 before we boarded the ferry to go to Sakurajima.

The rain in Kagoshima also brought out other hardly seen animals.

2000yen notes are quite hard to come by on Honshu, but apparently common enough in Kagoshima.

Some of the world's largest daikons are grown in Sakurajima.

Sakurajima also grows some of the world's smallest mikans.

Today's Program
Today's Walk: From Kagoshima-Chuo Station to Sakurajima

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Today we walk from Kagoshima-Chuo Station via the observation deck at Shiroyama Park to the ferry terminal. We take a ferry across Kagoshima Bay to Sakurajima and walk along the pleasant waterfront area near the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal. The day's journey concludes with a foot bath at Nagisa Park.

Date October 5, 2013
Start Time 10:30
Start Kagoshima-Chuo Station (Shinkansen Ticket Gates)
Goal Nagisa Park near the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal
Distance 6 kilometers (about 2-3 hours), not including the ferry ride
Terrain Most of today's journey features easy city walking. There are uphill and downhill sections around Shiroyama, with some parts of the road up lacking a sidewalk.
Weather Average daytime high: 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)
Average nighttime low: 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit)
Weather Forecast for Kagoshima
Access Kagoshima-Chuo Station, our starting point, is Kagoshima's main train station, which is served by the Kyushu Shinkansen and the Kagoshima Main Line. Ferries between Kagoshima's city center and Sakurajima operate frequently in both directions. A one way ferry ride costs 150 yen and takes about 15 mins.
More details on how to get to Kagoshima
Lodgings Various types of accommodation can be readily found in Kagoshima City.
Search hotels in Kagoshima through Agoda, or Japanican

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Daily Quiz
The deadline for answering the quiz question for day 2 has passed.

Which national park is Mount Sakurajima part of?

8%   Sakurajima National Park
70%   Kirishima-Yaku National Park
17%   Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park
0%   Minami Kyushu National Park
6%   None of the above

The correct answer is: Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park

Mount Sakurajima used to belong to Kirishima-Yaku National Park until December 2011 when the park was split into two national parks, Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park and Yakushima National Park. It now belongs to Kirishima-Kinkowan National Park.

Current Standings: (after 30 days)

28 Points: Csabba, AlexanderStankov
27 Points: gladhiola, almoehi, ZoomX2, mikaelus
26 Points: Rabbityama, Proxy707

More about the quiz

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