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February 3, 2017 - Gardens & Museums of Miyazaki City
After an early breakfast in Takachiho, I decided to drive the 130 km to Miyazaki City to see what this laid back city has to offer. The first thing that I noticed was the mild weather - it almost felt like spring.
When you drive around Japan, you will start to notice that top speeds are extremely slow - so it took a while to reach Saito which is a suburb of Miyazaki. My first two stops (right next to one another) were:
(1) Saitobaru Archaeological Museum
(2) Saitobaru Tombs
Once I got into the city centre, my locations visited included:
(3) Florante Miyazaki
(4) Eda Shrine
(5) Miyazaki Science Museum
(6) Miyazaki Shrine
(7) Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum
(8) Miyazaki Natural and History Museum
As mentioned above, my first stop was the Saitobaru Archaeological Museum which was free to enter and told the story of the buried tombs in the area. Most information was in Japanese, but there was some english translations on the second floor.
The more interesting part of the site was walking around the park seeing the buried tombs which I believe are from the Yayoi period. There was also plenty of places for kids to run around - which is exactly what some school were using the area for!
My next stop for the day was Florente Miyazaki which looks at different ways of using plants and flowers in gardens and in the home. To put it simple - it's a garden with lots of flowers - even in winter. Just remember that this is Miyazaki - which is much warmer than most of the country. It costs 310 yen to enter.
The gardens are split up into many different section - so I decided to visit the greenhouse first. Unlike most greenhouses I visit, this one almost did not have enough space to stand as it was absolutely packed with plants and flowers.
One thing that did surprise me was the large numbers of gardeners at the site, which seem to be mainly older men and women. This also probably explains why the gardens are highly manicured and contain so many flowers in the depths of winter...
Located a 5 minute walk from Florante Miyazaki is Eda Shrine, which is a simple shrine with a much loved wedding tree.
This sounds too cliche for me - but there were quite a lot of middle aged women at this shrine. The less I say the better.....
My next stop was the fun Miyazaki Science Museum, which has a particular space and physics bent. It costs 540 yen to enter or 750 yen (210 yen extra) to attend one of the Observatory Shows.
This is a well done museum which excels at hands on activities for the kids and the kids at heart. The first floor mainly looks at space travel, with the second floor mainly looking at physical phenomena.
Located in a heavily wooded area, the Miyazaki Shrine was my next stop for the day. It's also located close to the Miyazaki History and Natural Prefectural Museum. The Miyazaki Art Museum is also located across the road as well.
The Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum contains a small collection of local and international artists (it's even got a Picasso - but not much else). It's free to enter the permanent gallery and the local collection is stronger than the international collection. Some english translations are provided.
The art museum also has a large park at the rear of the museum itself - which makes this a very leafy city.
Probably my highlight of the day was the Miyazaki Prefectural Museum of Nature and History. This two story museum contains extensive collections of everything you would probably want to know about Miyazaki. It's free to enter and photos are allowed- just no video or flash.
The first floor is dedicated to natural history and includes a large animal, insect and geology collection amongst other things. Simple names are provided in english - but a detailed 16 page booklet is also provided at the front desk for free.
The second floor tells the story of human history in Kyushu. Apart from my museum nemesis (pottery), there were plenty of interesting displays to see. It's a shame they did not have more on different matsuri's or celebrations that occur in Miyazaki though...
An example of a buried tomb that was not excavated - such as what I saw earlier in the day.
Located on the side of the museum is 4 relocated traditional houses. Unlike inside, each house has a english introduction to state where it came from and how old it is.
Miyazaki city in not well known as a tourist destination, but there is enough to do in the city to keep most interested for a day or two. For tomorrow, I'll be heading down the Nichinan Coast to visit Udo Shrine, along with visiting Obi Castle Town.
Miyazaki Tourist Information: http://www.miyazaki-city.tourism.or.jp/en/ (English)