Highlights of 4D3N in Kyushu #SP

It’s been a week since I'm back from Kyushu and I'm absolutely missing everything there. Didn’t expect myself to be able to return to Japan so soon since my previous trip happened in April just earlier this year but I'm definitely not complaining. There's just so much to explore in this land of the rising sun and I aim to return every year. It's officially my favourite country to travel to :)

Kyushu is the southwestern-most of Japan’s main islands that has a mostly subtropical climate. It’s known for its active volcanoes, beaches and natural hot springs such as those at Beppu. Its city of Fukuoka is home to museums, mega-malls and Kushida-jinja, an 8th-century Shinto shrine located in Hakata-ku. Kushija-jinja is dedicated to Amaterasu and Susanoo, they are a major deity of the Shinto religion.
Took an overnight flight via Singapore Airlines. The flight was about 7hrs and it was a direct flight to Fukuoka for those who asked. There is only 1 flight in and out daily so yup the timing was perfect for a good night's rest before exploring the city! 

First up, we visited the Kato Shrine in Kumamoto Castle
Address : 2-1, Honmaru, Chuo-ku, Kumamoto Prefecture, 860 0002

Fun fact:  Kato Shrine is where Kato Kiyomasa, the lord of Kumamoto from the late 14th and early 15th century, is enshrined. The shrine was originally built in between the main tower of Kumamoto Castle and the Uto Turret and was called the Nishikiyama Shrine. In 1874, it was moved north to the Kyomachi area of Kumamoto, and then in 1962, it was moved to its current location.
(Source: https://kumamoto-guide.jp/en/spots/detail/80)

Happy to be able to travel with Fran on this short vacation :)  

See this Kumamoto castle with constructions in the front and back? Well it was quite a sight (image below) until an earthquake hit them last year and this is what was left. Right now it is still under construction to regain its majestic grandeur.

Check out how high the stone walls are! It's one of the castle's key features that even ninjas weren't able to climb over the steep wall.
During the sakura season (image credits to Google) 

Took a 15mins walk in the Ninomaru Park and arrived at Sakurano Baba Josaien.
Sakurano Baba Johsaien is a Japanese tourism facility located next to Kumamoto castle. The facility is composed of three areas: Johsaien Kumamoto Castle Shops (a collection of 23 shops and restaurants offering food and products from Kumamoto), Wakuwaku-za (a facility with exhibits on the history and culture of Kumamoto), and a tourism information office.
We had the chance to put on the traditional Edo Kimono and explored the area. Super cute moment was when we were stopped by a huge bunch of students who took turns to take pictures with us. Haha they must have thought we were superstars!

We then continued to explore the Kumamoto City. It's the center of Kyushu where it's all about fashion and food, making it an attractive city with a distinctive culture of its own. They have lots of unique stores and nice restaurants as well. 
Stumbled upon this cute vintage store while shopping in Kami Dori district.
This street reminds me of Haji Lane in SG, all your hipster shops, cafes and whatnot. So I just had to use this hipster filter for this cuppa latte. They serve really legit coffee, no doubt they are their own coffee roasters. So coffee addicts, you know where to visit when you're in Japan next time! 

And Coffee Roasters: 11-22 Kamitoricho, Chuo, Kumamoto, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan

That night, I had the absolute BEST BEST BEST Shabu Shabu ever for dinner. I can't even explain but you have to make a trip to this restaurant to try it on your own. I've never eaten such delish Pork throughout my 27years haha, not exaggerating at all. From what I heard, Kagoshima is famous for its Black Pork with its refined flavours.  
Ajimori : 13-21 Sennichicho, Kagoshima 892-0843, Kagoshima Prefecture

Woke up to a sumptuous breakfast the next day in one of Kagoshima's 5-star hotel high up on the mountains. 
Hotel Shiroyama : 41-1 Shinshoin-cho, Kagoshima City Center, Kagoshima, Japan, 890-8586
It's not everyday that you get to wake up to an active volcano erupting, how beautiful and daunting Mother Nature is.

And the view from our room overlooking Kagoshima :) 

All freshened up and recharged for day 2 :) 

We visited the Senganen. 
"Senganen" is a garden that is a registered world cultural heritage site. A huge majestic natural scenery overlooking the Kagoshima Bay and a well-preserved traditional architecture stayed by the Shimazu Clan.

Fun Fact: The Shimazu were descendants of the Seiwa Genji branch of the Minamoto. The Shimazu would become one of the families of Edo period daimyō to have held their territory continuously since the Kamakura period, and would also become, at their peak, the wealthiest and most powerful tozamafamily with an income in excess of 700,000 kook. (source: wiki)

They will be having a chrysanthemum exhibition later this month in November and I'm sure it's gonna be real beautiful. 
We were guided by a lady in kimono introducing us to the lifestyle of the feudal lord and explored the rooms and private inner garden. It was a pretty interesting tour around the house and we were given a traditional dessert and matcha green tea to conclude the tour. 

Senganen: 9700-1 Yoshino-cho, Kagoshima City, Japan 892-0871

Then it was ramen for lunch!

Next up, we travelled up to Ibusuki by a sightseeing train, the 'Limited Express Ibusuki no Tamatebako' which has a distinctive black and white colour. It was a 45 minute ride where we enjoyed the scenery while savouring a famous dessert, Ibutama Pudding.

Guess what we are doing in this getup? Haha

Yes that's Fran and I buried under a naturally heated sand. 

"Ibusuki" is an Onsen town located at the Satsuma Peninsula on the southern part of Kagoshima prefecture. Here, an ancient method of staying healthy, the "Sand Bath”, is a famous attraction.
Kyushu is the only country in the world you can experience a "Sand Bath" thanks to the natural hot springs flowing out on the beach. They covered our entire body in the naturally heated sand, and we listened to the sounds of the waves during the 30 minute therapy. What an experience! 
IBUSUKI SUNAMUSHI ONSEN Natural Sand Bath: “SARAKU” 〒891-0406

Yunohama, Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture, 891-0406

 Checked into this amazing stay for the night. This hotel is really quiet, away from the hustle and bustle. I was told that parliament or was it president of Korea and Russia came and stayed in the room as we did, just wow. There were 2 single beds and 3 tatami beds so it can actually accommodate 5 pax. The sea view was perfect too! 

Ibusuki Hakusuikan: 12126-12,Higashikata,Ibusuki-City,Kagoshima pref.,891-0404

Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip in Kyushu, till the next one... 


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