Sunday, September 16, 2007

Upcoming Adventures



This three day weekend is the first chance I've had to just relax around the city for a while. I still might go visit the Samurai houses in Chiran and explore some more of the history of Saigo Takamori (incidentally, The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori is a great read), but we shall see...

In the meantime, I've got some other adventures lined up. Almost exactly one year after my Shimanami Kaido cycling trip, I'm planning a similar excursion in southern Kyushu. This time to the southernmost point of the main islands, Cape Sata (佐多岬).

Itinerary

Day One
- Take the ferry from Kagoshima to Sakurajima
- Start riding
- Early lunch and a quick soak at Furusato Onsen, famous for it's seaside baths
- Ride to the small town of Nejime (根占) on the east side of Kinko Bay, following the coastline

South Road Youth Hostel in Nejime

- Soak in the nearby onsen (テイエム牧場温泉)

Apparently Nejime, in addition to Beppu, hosts an onsen matsuri during the month of November. I may have to stop by again. There's also a unique moonlight dance that is held the 3rd Saturday in September (but I believe they're skipping it this year).

Day Two
- Ride to Cape Sata
- If time, take the glass-bottom boat tour
- Ride back to Nejime
- Ferry across to Ibusuki (Schedule)
- Stay in Tamaya Youth Hostel in Ibusuki, adjacent to the sand baths
- Leisurely sand bath

Day Three
- Depending on the weather and my mood, abandon bicycle and take the train back to Kagoshima

Map to Sata Misaki (佐多岬)


After a successful exploration of one of the islands in the Mishima (三島) group, I will be continuing farther south to the Tokara islands.

Nakanoshima (中之島) is similar to Ioujima (硫黄島) in size and population, but offers a lot more in the way of beaches and diving. As I don't have a scuba diving license, however, I'll settle for a snorkeling kit, some blue waters, and clear skies. Onsen, an observatory (I doubt there can be any light pollution whatsoever), and horse breeding (let's see if they'll let a Texan take the reins)... there's a reason people choose to live here.

Access to Tokara Islands


And speaking of adventure, this is an inspiring story. I might be heading back to Aso-san in Kumamoto Prefecture in the near future to work on a story for Matador Travel. In the meantime, the outlook is positive, and the future is bright, even with the cusp of a typhoon raging outside my window. I get complacent here sometimes, but whenever I'm home, or in any contrasting situation, I just have to realize... Japan is an amazing place to live if you let it be.

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