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January 4, 2019 - Obscure Kyushu : Izumi
For my sixth day in Japan, I made my way from Hitoyoshi to the Northern tip of Kagoshima prefecture to visit Izumi. This small town is known locally for it's reasonably well preserved Samurai district and crane resting grounds.
My first stop was at the Crane Museum which costs 320 yen to enter. This also includes entrance into a lookout around 10 kilometers away if you are interested. Note that English is limited at the museum and the surrounding parks are probably it's best asset as the museum was only soso.
My second stop for the day was Hakozaki Shrine which can only be described as kitschy. It's home to Japan's largest shrine bell - because it can. Thankfully the food stalls were out and I strangely ate my first Takoyaki since living/visiting Japan.
A little bit later in the day, I made my was to the Samurai district which is reminiscent of Hagi. This used to be one of the bigger samurai districts of the Satsuma domain and it's thankfully still well preserved.
There are still a number of Samurai residences which can be found in the town and two are included in a 500 yen combo ticket which also includes the Izumi History Museum. The first location I visited was the Saisho Residence which was rebuilt roughly 250 years ago after a fire swept through the town.
Note that both manned residences were home to very persistent guides which wanted to talk through all of the different aspects of that said residence. You have been warned...
The Takezoke Residence was the second location visited and was also a part of the combo ticket. It was home to close to the most persistent guide I have met in the last couple of years. With his broken English and my worse Japanese, he made sure I understood some of the more intricate aspects of the home.
The Takemiya residence is location in the general vicinity of the previous two residences but is free to enter. As such, it's not as grand and the inside of the building was not open for viewing.
The Izumi History Museum is also included in the 500 yen combo ticket and is home to basically a toilet stop, or if it's raining or you want to cool down from hot weather. There were some slightly interesting swords though.
On my way back to the car, I saw two shrines which I quickly visited. This is the Suwa Shrine which is also a common name for a shrine in Japan.
My last stop in Izumi was the Yasaka Shrine which is home to Japan's largest Jizo Stone statue. Your probably starting to see a theme in this town. It's not as impressive as the bell though.
It's an odd thing to say, but the first shrine was probably my highlight of this town. It's also home to a good samurai quarters, but it still has nothing compared to that of Hagi which I consider the best in the country but I still have not been to the Satsuma Peninsula though. I am now on my way to Minamata in the afternoon.
Izumi Tourism Information (English): http://www.izumi-navi.jp/en/