Saturday, 20 August – Arimura Lava Lookout was our destination and the ferry took our coach on the 15 minute ride to the island. Very nice views of Sakurajima, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes.
Interesting sculptural shapes formed in the rocks
People on the island have built lava shelters and we were told that bags of volcanic dust are collected from the residents twice a week and made into a type of stone used in souvenirs. Because of the dust, laundry cannot be hung outside so special drying rooms are set up in the houses. Nice to visit but I don’t think I would like to live there!
Then we visited Senganen Garden (Iso Garden) which was constructed in 1658. Such a variety of plants and trees interspersed with small ponds, streams, shrines and a bamboo grove. Very peaceful.
As we were making our way to the Shoko Shuseikan Museum we came across a demonstration of swordsmanship skills, reflecting the feudal history of the area. Very impressive!
Friday, 19 August – We boarded the coach for a drive to Usa City where we visited the Usa Jingu Shrine, a Japanese National Treasure. Very lovely architecture and gardens, but it was also very hot that day as we made our way up the many steps that Shinto shrines always seem to find necessary. We were pleased we packed plenty of water!
Then back to Beppu for a visit to the main attraction, Jigoku Meguri, the “Boiling Hell” hot springs. They are named that way because each spring seems to depict an image from hell. We expolored two of them, Chinoike (Blood) Jigoku with its deep crimson colour and Onlishibozu Jigoku – mud bubbles, which emerge from boiling mud pools and look like the shaven heads of monks.
This was fun – no one told me that the water in the spring was about 40oC!!! It took me several minutes, but I did it! ( Obviously not looking too relaxed, because it was HOT!!!)
Getting back to our cruise, after we left Shimizu, we arrived at Kumano on Wednesday, 17 August at the end of the day to see the famous fireworks display.
The fireworks look a lot more impressive from this angle!
We were a bit confused about this; according to the information we had been given before we left, we expected to be taken off the ship by tender and taken to the beach where the fireworks were at. But no, the ship set anchor and we watched it from afar. The fireworks were very pretty, but there were long delays throughout the performance and if there was any music, we were too far away to hear it. So it was okay.
The next day we spent cruising through the Japan Inland Sea. Very scenic, so we should have had the camera ready, but there was so much happening to keep us entertained on the ship that we forgot to take any photos!
Time to dust off the passports once again for another trip to Japan. We enjoyed visiting there so much earlier in the year that we have decided to do a short vacation and fly out on 14 August to Yokohama, where we will board the Diamond Princess for a 10 day cruise to several Japanese and Korean ports and then fly home on 25 August.
This is our itinerary. Highlights include an excursion to Mt Fuji (no, not climbing it ourselves, we will take the easy way!) and a Korean Festival with a fireworks display. Also looking forward to boarding a ship that we haven’t been on before, which will be the biggest so far. Getting excited!
Boarded the lovely “Sea Princess” in Sydney (after driving down from Brisbane) on Monday 20 May. We are on Deck 11 forward on the starboard side. Very comfortable and plenty of space to settle in for our 104 night adventure.
Sailed back into Brisbane last Wednesday and it was cold and raining when we left.
There is no shortage of things to do on board and I have been getting plenty of exercise with Zumba, line dancing and the gym. Lots of craft activities and Alex was pleased to find sketching and photography classes. Yesterday he won a bottle of champagne in the trivia challenge which was a laugh, considering the questions were on “How Australian are You” and he is from the UK!
Today is Tuesday 28th May and we can feel the weather getting warmer and more humid. The sea is unbelievably calm as you can see from the photo. There is hardly a ripple and the ship is just gliding through the waters of the Java Sea.
Photos show leaving Sydney, our stateroom and steward and Thursday Island.
We arrive in Singapore on Friday, so will post more later.