Friday, December 31, 2010

Kyushu, Japan December '10 - Aso, Kumamoto, Nagasaki

Day 4 -  Aso Mountain Range

Asahi Tembodai - A scenic lookout - where we could see the 5 mountains of Aso.

 Kokonoe Suspension Bridge. The largest suspension bridge in Japan.

 The view was spectacular on both sides of the bridge.
 A view of the whole bridge.

On the way to our next destination, we chanced upon another Jigoku - less touristy.

There was snow :D

As we continued driving, we saw these interesting "tree sculptures".
The scenery was great too.
Daikanpo - another observatory - to watch the magnificent Aso Mountain range from another angle.

Our destination - Mt Aso! Mt Aso comprises of 5 mountains -It has the world's largest volcano caldera. Here's Mt. Naka-dake - a live volcano! It erupted in the 1970s and killed a woman on honeymoon.
 The volcano was emitting noxious gases.

Kusasenri - located opposite the Mt Aso museum. It has a beautiful view - a pretty-looking "lake" with a mountain backdrop.

As we walked towards the "lake", we discovered...
It was just a frozen sheet of ice =.= not as glamorous-looking at it is from afar......perhaps it's nicer in summer...

Another scenic spot.  We name it the "botak mountain".

We then headed to the ryokan -Sozankyo located in the vicinity of Mt Aso.

The room in this ryokan paled in comparison to that in Shimuzu but the food was the best for the trip......The dinner was served in a private room.  Here are some photos of the mouth-watering food....
A cold dish to kick off the dinner.....
 Sashimi - with generous portion of  sea urchin, yum yum! Look at the presentation - the Japs are so particular and good with such details.  The food looks as good as it tastes!
 Here's the delicacy of Kumamoto - Horse meat sashimi!  They are really yummy, tender, melt in your can't tell it is from a horse.

 The oysters in the chawanmushi were huge and very fresh......oishii!
 The dessert. The jam and leaf was placed in a way where it looked like a strawberry.

We had our breakfast in the restaurant, which has a pretty oldish Japanese setting.
Foot bath outside the ryokan

Day 5 - Kurokawa - Kumamoto
Our first destination for the day was Sensuikyou. This place was not in our itinerary.  The hotel staff kindly recommended us to visit when we checked out.  It has stunning view! One is supposed to see the frozen waterfall, however, when we went there, the waterfall was only partially frozen.  But the view was still pretty stunning...

Next, we went "Onsens hopping" in the Kurokawa Onsen area. A must-visit place for the onsens lovers! You could buy a pass from the tourist centre that allows you to visit any 3 onsens located in the vicinity.

The first onsen we went was at Ikoi Ryokan. One of the feature of this onsen is that the water is deep and you could stand in the water by holding onto the bamboo poles for support.  Too bad - no picture.

The second onsen was called Yama Mizu Ki. It was an outdoor, natural onsen by the stream. It is very popular among the locals and tourists.

The third onsen  is Kurokawasou. It had greenish water, and it was both outdoor and indoors.
We found it the most enjoyable out of all three.

After the onsen session, we headed to Kumamoto city.  Here's some stunning views on our way to Kumamoto....

Day 6 - Kumamoto - Unzen - Nagasaki
We took a ferry at Port of Kumamoto to Shimabara Port -it was a 30 min ride.
Feeding seagulls on the ferry....

Unzen- a pretty hot spring town.  Here's the Unzen Jigoku.

The "screaming" jigoku - the jigoku is literally howling.....
The historic Kyushu Unzen Hotel in the background

Nagasaki Peace Park. The park is in commemoration for those who died in the 1945 WW2 atomic bombing.

The Peace Statue.

Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum was opened in 1996 as part of the 50th anniversary projects for the Nagasaki atomic bombing.  The museum exhibits the devastation caused by the a-bomb on that tragic day....
The population of Nagasaki at the time of bombing was approx. 240,000.  73,884 were killed by the bomb and 74,909 were injured.  The visit to the museum was a very sobering experience.

We head back to Fukuoka the following day....see next post.


  1. Some really amazing sceneries! I've never tried an onsen before and you guys went to so many! So envious!

    The botak mountain area looks like a desert.

  2. You should try an onsen one day then! It may be a bit awkward at first (you have to enter the onsen without any clothes on), but after a few tries, you will become more "thick-skinned", and want to come back again and again! :D

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