02.04.2007 0 °C
I just spent a few days in Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan. It's warm and sunny, unlike Shimane, and the people are so kind and friendly. I started out in Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyushu, and then took a train to Nagasaki, which has a gorgeous port and one of the oldest China towns in the world. After that I took a train across the Shimabara penninsula and then a ferry across the Ariakekai inland sea, which ends up in Kumamoto. There, I saw an old and very large castle and this city really looked like a big Matsue. I actually avoided the raw horsemeat, or Filet-o-Flicka, which is Kumamoto's most famous food. From there I took another train to Aso San, one of, if not the most active volcano in the world. I took a ropeway up to the rim of the crater and could look down into it from there. It was so amazing because I expected to see red lava, but it actually produces an incredible aqua color pool with steam floating from it. After Aso San, I went by bus to Beppu, the hot springs capital of Japan. I took an outside natural bath on top of a mountain, which overlooks all of Beppu and the ocean. The bathwater is a natural milky blue color that makes your skin unbelievably soft and silky because of the high content of minerals. Absolutely gorgeous. Of course, not me, the bath. In Beppu, I saw hells. Well, that's the name of the strangely colored pools which are formed by volcanic activity. I went to Umijigoku, or "Ocean Hell" and its color is similar to that of the pool inside Aso San volcano. I also saw Chi no ike, or "Blood Hell" which is a bright red color of course. Around there I ate an "onsen egg." It's an egg cooked in the onsen or hot spring water at volcanic tempurature. It has a somewhat strange, smokey flavor if you can imagine. Here are a few pics of my trip.