Travel Reports by mfedley view profile of mfedley

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Note: The opinions and views expressed in this user report are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of japan-guide.com.

January 27, 2017 - Eastern Kyushu Trip Info & Nakatsu

My name is Mathew Fedley and I am an international educator who has lived in Taiwan, Japan and Kazakhstan but currently resides in Suzhou, China. Some of my passions include my main profession (teaching) along with travel, geology and photography. Over 12 nights in chilly January and February 2017, I will be driving through Oita, Miyazaki and Fukuoka prefectures to see what these slightly less visited locations have to offer. As I have on many of my previous trips to Japan, I will be posting some user reports which hopefully will encourage people to 'get off the beaten track' and see all that Japan has to offer.
Please note that all opinions are mine and do not necessarily represent the owners of this website. Most of the research has come from this website, many helpful posters from the JG forum, some tourist information centres and extensive research. All sites and hotels were paid for my myself and do not include any paid endorsements.

At present, I am planning to visit the following locations:

Nakatsu - Yamaga Onsen- Kitsuki Peninsula - Kitsuki - Hiji - Beppu, Oita - Yufuoin - Usuki - Takachiho - Miyazaki - Udo - Oki - Aoshima - Kirishima - Kurume

Do note that I will also be visiting quite a few other locations along the way which are not mentioned above. For example - I will also visit Usa & Takada between Nakatsu and the Kitsuki Peninsula.

For today, I visited the following locations

(1) Nakatsu Castle
(2) Fukuzawa Residence
(3) Goganji Temple
(4) Ao Cave Tunnel
(5) Rakinji Temple

Due to the limited public transport that can be found in rural Oita, I have chosen to hire a car for the entire holiday which significantly speeds up travel time between many attractions. It should also be noted that express ways can become prohibitively expensive, so I suggest getting a Kyushu Pass which gives main close to unlimited use of the expressways over a specific time for a significant discount. The link is at the bottom of the page.

My first stop was Nakatsu Castle, which costs 400 yen to enter or 600 yen with a combo ticket with the Fukuzawa Residence. The castle itself is a reproduction from 1960, but it's done reasonably authentically and it also holds some good quality exhibits inside the museum.

For those who are trying to work out what you are looking at - many castles were destroyed during the Meiji restoration due to edict and many shrines overtook the grounds as a result. The photo above shows the shrine along with reconstructed castle in the background.

The exhibit area of the castle was not large, but the clothing and samurai outfits on display were more numerous and better quality than what is normally seen in such a museum.

Like normal - there i a view at the top of the castle.

My second stop was the Fukuzawa Residence which costs 400 yen to enter or 600 yen with the castle combo ticket. For those who have not visited any former residences, it may be worth a visit but I will say that this residence is of average quality compared to others I have seen. Do note that an english pamphlet is given and the former resident was famous in the local area for opening an english school.

Around a 6-7 minute walk from the Fukuzawa Residence is the Goganji Temple, which is nothing too special apart from it's blood red walls. This supposedly happened due to blood stains in it's past.

Around a 25 minute drive from Nakatsu Station is the Ao Cave Tunnel, a 15-20 meter tunnel that was dug by a single monk only using a single pick and hammer. It's possible to walk into the cave itself, but the surrounding areas views are probably more spectacular.

A further 3 km's from the Ao Cave Tunnel is the impressive Rakinji Temple which is located half way up a small mountain. It's possible to walk to the temple, but I decided to catch the chairlift as I did not know how high it was. It costs 700 yen return or 800 yen return if you also go to the top of the mountain.

Considering the length of the chairlift (5 minutes), I would consider that it probably takes around 30 minutes to reach the temple walking up the stairs.

The main temple is a 3-4 minute walk from the first chairlift station and it should be noted that photography is not allowed in the temple itself. Some people online have heavily complained about this - but remember that this is a temple and not a museum!

A small taste of the over 1000 arhats that can be found scattered over the temple grounds. Do note that the most impressive sections are the main areas where photography are not allowed.

The last stretch of the free walk up. It looks beautiful but slippery

It's also possible to enter the temple itself which costs 300 yen. There are some nice cave areas along with a medium sized garden with views. Most areas do not allow photography. It's worth visiting the paid section - but it can also be missed if you are saving money (it's not a must).

View from the top of the mountain

It should be noted that the general walking area around Nakatsu Castle is quite picturesque and there are also many other smaller exhibits which I missed, but I decided to move onto Usa later in the day which will form the majority of my next post.

Further Information:

Kyushu Expressway Pass: http://global.w-nexco.co.jp/en/kep/ (English)
Nakatsu Castle: http://www.nakatsujyo.jp/foreign.html (English)
Nakatsu City Tourist Information: http://www.nakatsuyaba.com (Japanese with English Translation)

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List of Posts:
2018/07/18 - Hidden Honshu: Fukuyama
2018/07/17 - Hidden Honshu: Tomonoura
2018/07/17 - Hidden Honshu: Iwakuni
2018/07/16 - Hidden Honshu: Tsuwano
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Residences
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Shrine District & Temples
2018/07/15 - Hidden Honshu: Hagi's Castle Town
2018/07/14 - Hidden Honshu: Iwami Ginzan
2018/07/14 - Hidden Honshu: Izumo
2018/07/13 - Hidden Honshu: Yonago
2018/07/13 - Hidden Honshu: Matsue's Gardens
2018/07/12 - Hidden Honshu: Mikuni
2018/07/11 - Hidden Honshu: Awara Onsen
2018/07/10 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Museums
2018/07/09 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Samurai District
2018/07/09 - Hidden Honshu: Kanazawa's Castle District
2018/07/08 - Hidden Honshu: Sado's Shukunegi
2018/07/08 - Hidden Honshu: Southern Sado
2018/07/07 - Hidden Honshu: Northern Sado
2018/07/06 - Hidden Honshu: Getting to Sado
2018/07/05 - Hidden Honshu: Sakata
2018/07/04 - Hidden Honshu: Akita
2018/07/03 - Hidden Honshu: Kakunodate
2018/07/02 - Hidden Honshu: Nyuto to Tamagawa Onsen
2018/07/01 - Hidden Honshu: Morioka to Nyuto Onsen
2018/06/30 - Hidden Honshu: Matsumae
2018/02/23 - Southern Odyssey - Taketomi
2018/02/23 - Southern Odyssey - Ishigaki City
2018/02/22 - Southern Odyssey - Ishigaki Island
2018/02/21 - Southern Odyssey - Iriomote
2018/02/20 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa to Iriomote
2018/02/19 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa WW2 Sites
2018/02/19 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 5 Southern Attractions
2018/02/18 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 4 Naha
2018/02/17 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 3
2018/02/16 - Southern Odyssey - Ocean Expo Park
2018/02/16 - Southern Odyssey - Ie Island
2018/02/15 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Hanami Report
2018/02/15 - Southern Odyssey - Okinawa Day 1
2018/02/14 - Southern Odyssey - Amami to Okinawa
2018/02/13 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 3
2018/02/12 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 2
2018/02/11 - Southern Odyssey - Amami Day 1
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2017/07/03 - Otaru to Shikotsu - Hokkaido
2017/07/02 - Otaru - Hokkaido
2017/07/02 - Yoichi - Hokkaido
2017/07/01 - Biei to Sapporo - Hokkaido
2017/06/30 - Sounkyo Onsen to Biei - Hokkaido
2017/06/29 - Shibetsu to Sounkyu Onsen - Hokkaido
2017/06/28 - Hokkaido: Wakkanai to Shibetsu
2017/06/27 - Rebun Island - Lake Kushu & Kafuka
2017/06/26 - Rebun Island - Momoiwa Course
2017/06/25 - Rishiri Island - Hokkaido
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2017/06/22 - Asuka & Sakurai - Nara Prefecture
2017/06/22 - Nara Yamoto 4 Temple Pilgrimage
2017/06/21 - Yoshino - Nara Prefecture
2017/06/20 - Sakai - Osaka Prefecture
2017/06/19 - Osaka - Namba Area
2017/06/19 - Western Osaka
2017/06/18 - Kansai & Hokkaido Trip Intro & Central Osaka
2017/02/06 - Closed Kurume - Fukuoka
2017/02/05 - Miyazaki to Kobayashi
2017/02/04 - Obi Castle Town - Miyazaki
2017/02/04 - Nichinan Coast - Miyazaki
2017/02/03 - Gardens & Museums of Miyazaki City
2017/02/02 - Shrines of Takachiko - Miyazaki
2017/02/01 - Usuki City - Oita
2017/01/31 - Hita & Surrounds - Oita
2017/01/31 - Yufuin Onsen - Oita
2017/01/30 - Hells of Beppu
2017/01/30 - Oita City - Oita
2017/01/29 - Kitsuki Castle Town - Oita
2017/01/28 - Hiji Castle Town - Oita
2017/01/28 - Templing in Kunisaki Hanto
2017/01/27 - Nakatsu to Yamaga Onsen
2017/01/27 - Eastern Kyushu Trip Info & Nakatsu
2016/08/02 - Ohori Park - Fukuoka
2016/08/01 - Fukuoka's Gion Temple Cluster
2016/07/31 - Unzen Onsen - Nagasaki Prefecture
2016/07/31 - Shimabara - Nagasaki Prefecture
2016/07/30 - Nagasaki City - Northern City Attractions
2016/07/29 - Nagasaki City - Southern Attractions
2016/07/29 - Hashima - Nagasaki Prefecture
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2016/07/27 - Huis Ten Bosch Day 1 (Night)
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2016/07/26 - Hirado Part 1 - Nagasaki
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2016/07/24 - Yutoku Inari Shrine
2016/07/24 - Ureshino - Saga
2016/07/23 - Yoshinogari Park - Saga
2016/07/23 - Saga City - Saga Prefecture
2016/07/22 - Yobuko - Saga Prefecture
2016/07/21 - Karatsu City - Saga
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2016/07/20 - Kokura - Fukuoka
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2016/02/20 - Okayama Museum Cluster - Okayama Prefecture
2016/02/19 - Marugame & Kotohira - Kagawa Prefecture
2016/02/18 - Matsuyama - Ehime Prefecture
2016/02/17 - Uchihiko - Ehime
2016/02/17 - Ozu - Ehime Prefecture
2016/02/16 - Seiyo
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2016/02/14 - Kochi - Kochi - Kochi
2016/02/13 - Toyo to Yasu via Aki
2016/02/12 - Naruto to Toya
2016/02/11 - Takamatsu to Naruto
2016/02/11 - Artsy Naoshima: Honmura Art Project
2016/02/11 - Artsy Naoshima: Tsutsuji-so to Miyanoura Port
2016/02/10 - Takamatsu - Kagawa Prefecture
2016/02/10 - Shikoku Trip Info & Artsy Teshima
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2015/07/19 - Food in Japan
2015/07/15 - Hongu Taisha - Wakayama
2015/07/14 - Shingu & Ogi Matsuri - Wakayama
2015/07/13 - Nachi Taisha & Kii-Katsuura - Wakayama
2015/07/12 - Kii-Tanabe & Kumano Kodo - Wakayama
2015/07/10 - Wacky Wakayama City - Wakayama
2015/07/08 - Tottori City - Tottori Prefecture
2015/07/06 - Izushi - Hyogo
2015/07/05 - Kinosaki Onsen - Hyogo
2015/07/04 - Yamanaka Onsen - Ishikawa
2015/07/03 - Wajima to Wakura - Ishikawa
2015/07/02 - Eastern Noto Peninsula Drive - Ishikawa
2015/07/01 - Kanazawa to Wajima - Ishikawa
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2015/06/29 - Coastal Itoigawa - Niigata
2015/06/28 - Kurobe Dam Railway - Toyama
2015/06/27 - Iiyama City & Madarao Kogen - Nagano
2015/06/26 - Rural Iiyama & Nozawa Onsen - Nagano
2015/06/24 - Manza Onsen - Gunma Prefecture
2015/06/23 - Kusatsu Onsen - Gunma
2015/06/21 - Dewa Sanzan - Yamagata
2015/06/20 - Tsuruoka to Dewa Sanzan - Yamagata
2015/06/19 - Tsuruoka Town - Yamagata
2015/06/18 - Haruna Jinja - Gunma
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2014/06/07 - Ajiro Onsen
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2014/05/10 - Gunma Flower Park
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2014/04/26 - Togakushi & Nagano
2014/04/13 - Toyokawa & Toyohashi
2014/04/12 - Futagawa - Cherry Blossom Report
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2014/02/08 - Eiheiji & Fukui City
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2013/12/08 - Ito - Through The Seasons
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2013/11/09 - Shosenkyo Gorge - Autumn Report
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2013/10/23 - Lake Towada & Yasumiya - Autumn Report
2013/10/22 - Rural Tono - Autumn Report
2013/10/21 - Tono - Shrine Cluster
2013/10/20 - Central Tono - Iwate
2013/10/19 - Urabandai - Autumn Report
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2013/08/10 - Sapporo - Summer & Autumn
2013/08/08 - Lake Toya - Hokkaido
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2013/08/04 - Akita Kanto Matsuri
2013/08/03 - Yumoto Onsen to Chuzenji Lake Walk
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2013/07/10 - Kyoto - Mt Hieizan
2013/07/09 - Kyoto - Ohara
2013/07/07 - Kyoto - Koryuji Area
2013/07/06 - Uji - Summer
2013/07/05 - Hikone
2013/07/04 - Kyoto Station & Surroundings Attractions
2013/06/01 - Tokyo Parks & Gardens - Part 2
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2013/04/27 - Yonezawa Cherry Blossom Report
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