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Published: June 12th 2013
Kumamoto Suizenji garden
yes, the pimple is meant to be Mt Fuji-san
10 June – Kumamoto-Kagoshima
Although shamefully in Hakata I really only saw the station building and my hotel, had decided to thrash the rail pass on Monday 10th
and go down to the S of Kyushu as had previously seen Beppu, the hot springs capital on the East coast. So just went to the station and got the next shinkansen to Kumamoto (confusing my Japanese syllables, as you do, first asked for Matsumoto, in Central Honshu and wondered why the routing was via Shin Osaka!). Anyway the Kyushu shinkansen, a 700 series, was just as efficient as all the others and took only 45 mins. Once there some ood English help form the info centre and got myself an all day tram ticket for 500Y as I knew I would take 3 @ 150 – better than handling change. Then got tram A (there are 2, the other now B – they were originally 1 and 2) down to the Suizen-ji garden. This was damn confusing to find although I later saw it was signposted on the street near the tram stop. It is really just a stroll garden and it would be a fairly slow stroll to take 30
mins – more like 20. Then onto the tram and next stop Matsumoto castle. This is fairly impressive although a lot of it is reconstructed. The feudal lord, having been caught out in a siege situation before, made sure there were 20 water wells inside the castle along with gingko trees for nuts and others for firewood.
Then back to the station and got some food while waiting for next shinkansen to Kogashima. This is the end of the line and I mostly wanted to try and get a glimpse of Sakurajima which is a smouldering volcano, one of the world’s most active, only 4km away. You can do boat trips over there etc but no time for that in really only 2 hrs I had there being a power tourist. As it turned out it was pretty much under low cloud so could not tell which was which – cloud or steam, in that direction once I walked up to a more elevated view.
It started to rain quite heavily and although the tram makes not much headway in the city traffic decided this was a drier and a little quicker option to get as the shinkansen
was in 2mins time decided I could not wait to get a reserved seat ticket from the JR crew and made a dash for the platform. Cars 1-3 are generally unreserved but I must admit that reserved seat cars are generally less crowded – I think the locals have to pay an extra fee whereas JR pass holders do not.
Anyway about 1h45mins back to Hakata. Decided to eat while I was still out and went to the 10th
floor of the JR station building – there is as usual dining on both 9th
floors. Many international choices as well as Japanese – even an oyster bar. I although it looked very Japanese stuck my head into a place and asked and they had an English menu. It was largely a yakitori place but that was fine as had quite nice meal in Nagano that way. Simply choose the chicken or pork dish you want for about $2.50. Works fine for me. Had a chicken with wasabi one, a chicken meatball type one, and quail eggs wrapped in pork (make that bacon?) and a rolled omelette. And a final sake from Fukuoka served in a strange way
Kumamoto - the kumamon
who ended up on a cap for me
I have not seen before – tall sho t glass put into a squa re lacquered dish and then the sake poured into it so it deliberately overflows into the dish. Weird over consumption – a sake fountain? And no I did not drain the dish as well!
Then walked around and finally found bus stand E where the buses to the port go as did want a scramble in the morning. So that was Hakata – did not go more than 200m. from the station/hotel but did not feel I missed out on anything – although Canal City is close where a lot of restaurants etc are but next time – maybe.
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