Being an avid fan of belching, erupting active volcanoes, the Kyushu volcano of Sakurajima has been on my to-visit list for a while. Being Japan’s most active and one of the world’s most active, I just have to see it. Soon I find myself making my way from Tokyo, via Kyoto, all the way to Kagoshima, the city at the western end of Japan’s main islands, right in the shadow of Sakurajima itself. Then we backtrack to visit beautiful Nagasaki and industrious Fukuoka.
We end our Kyushu adventure by spending the final nights in Kitakyushu at the top end of the island, staying just next door to the Kokura Station, a major point on the Sanyo Shinkansen line. The plan is to explore this northern tip of Kyushu before returning to Tokyo with the shinkansen.
I have always wanted to visit Nagasaki ever since I learnt in school about the horrific twin atomic bombings of 1945. After visiting Hiroshima, my desire to visit Nagasaki reached an all-time high. Now as I step out of the train at Nagasaki Station, my ambition is almost fulfilled.
Today we are visiting the famous active volcano – Sakurajima – or the ‘Cherry Blossom Island’. Well it used to be an island in the Kagoshima Bay until 1914, when a huge eruption spilled lava down its eastern flank thus joining it to the mainland of Kyushu. Henceforth it become a peninsula in the bay, but the name ‘island’ remains.
Being an avid fan of belching, erupting active volcanoes, the Kyushu volcano of Sakurajima has been on my to-visit list for a while. Being Japan’s most active and one of the world’s most active, I just have to see it. On my recent trip to Japan, I soon found myself making my way from Tokyo, via Kyoto, then all the way to Kagoshima, the city at the western end of Japan’s main islands, right in the shadow of Sakurajima itself.
A collection of 8 stories on the trip we did 04-11 December 2011 — travelled a total of 3800km on 16 trains (6 shinkansen, 6 express, 4 local) and 4 buses.
A day trip by train from Sapporo on a cold snowy day, to the beautiful historical port city of Otaru. A stroll along the famous Sakaimichi Street and Canals. 08 December 2011.
Evening arrival in Sapporo from Hakodate, and we promptly have dinner at an eatery near the JR Sapporo Station. Followed by a slippery walk on ice to the famed Odori Park to witness the spectacular Sapporo White Illumination. 07 December 2011.
On a cold snowy day, we explored the interesting bits of Hakodate, a city of 280,000 people. First Japanese port to open to foreigners, in 1854. A beautiful seaside city set on a promontory, founded 15th century, it has many historical sites. 07 December 2011.
Day-long 770km train rides from Utsunomiya (Honshu) to Hakodate (Hokkaido), via the 58km-long Seikan Tunnel underneath the Tsugaru Strait. Hakodate welcomes us with a Big Christmas Tree, a gift from Sister City Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. 06 December 2011.