What Happens in Kyushu Stays in Kyushu (Because I Can’t Photograph it Anyways): Part 3

When we decided to visit Kyushu, we thought we would start our journey in Fukuoka and travel neatly along the coastline until we reached Oita. Instead, we traversed Kyushu in a zig-zag pattern due to the unpredictable weather. However, we truly loved the last few days of our journey, so calling them “misadventures” would be a bit unfair… 

Day 6: Miyazaki—Cape Toi—Sakurajima

We arrived in Miyazaki City at midnight, so we couldn’t explore immediately. However, a lazy but welcoming sun was ready to greet us when we woke up the next morning. The first thing I noticed in the new light was the abundance of palm trees in Miyazaki. You can see palms everywhere in Miyazaki. They aren’t as healthy as the ones in Hollywood movies but they do match the place’s sunny atmosphere. 

We drove along the east coast all morning until we reached Cape Toi.

Cape Toi, Miyazaki

“No, it’s dying! I can’t watch,” I said to my husband. The little foal was lying down on the grass next to its mom, and it seemed as though its life was leaving its tiny body. I burst into tears and left the scene running. As a non-horse owner and non-farmer, I know little about horses and foals. 

Luckily, after a quick search on my phone, I learned that foals need more sleep than fully grown horses and often lie around like that. My husband laughed at my uncalled tears after we saw some photos of foal lying in similar positions at a nearby center. What can I say? Shame on him if the sight of a supposedly dying foal doesn’t make him cry! 

If you love capes and wild horses, you’re in luck in Miyazaki. This intriguing cape shelters more than a hundred wild horses. They’re friendly, and the foals are terrifyingly cute! And no, the ones sleeping next to their moms aren’t dying! Reread the text and save your tears.

I left Cape Toi reluctantly, but we had more adventures ahead. Our next goal was to go to Sakurajima, where there is an active volcano with the same name as the island. 

Sakurajima is next to Kagoshima City, but Takashi didn’t want to spend the night there. He wanted to drive north to Oita, our last destination in Kyushu. He quickly changed his mind after seeing Sakurajima! I booked a hotel immediately to secure our stay there—and to prevent him from changing his mind. 

Sakurajima, Kagoshima

Sakurajima residents seem to have mastered how to combine a relaxed, island life with an active volcano. When my husband talked to one of the café owners on Sakurajima, she told us that the residents weren’t really bothered by volcanic eruptions because they were a part of their daily lives. What intrigued me most was her comment on news reporters: “Reporters come here whenever the volcano erupts and talk about it on the news,” she said. “But we’re only bothered by the fact that we have to do the laundry again!”

I still can’t believe this photo was taken two days before the volcano’s last eruption in July.

Driving around this small but lovely island was a pleasure. (You can also rent a bike or hike the island, by the way.) Finally, after we were done exploring, we returned to our hotel, weary but grateful. I was especially grateful to have a like-minded husband, a healthy body that enables me to travel, and an adventurous spirit that doesn’t let me down even in the most challenging times. 

Day 7: Kagoshima—Chiran—Beppu

Day 7 was emotionally taxing. We didn’t know that visiting Chiran Peace Museum would be so hard and bring me down so badly. We thought we would simply drive south and see Chiran—a historical town famous for Kamikaze pilots and Japanese tea. When I arrived at the museum, I immediately knew that I had made a mistake. 

Chiran Peace Museum, Kagoshima

Don’t get me wrong: I love history and visiting museums. However, this particular museum is one you shouldn’t walk into without preparing yourself beforehand. And you should probably avoid visiting it altogether if you are a hypersensitive person like me. I still feel the eyes of those pilots on me—watching me as if to blame me for being alive while most of them didn’t make it past the age of 25. I felt a crippling sadness while reading some of their letters.

I started sweating and felt dizzy when I saw the displays of their items and photographs. And I condemned the governments and wars that push their agendas onto ordinary people and make them do horrifying things. What happened in Chiran should never happen again. I left the museum devastated and didn’t feel like myself for the rest of the day. 

Day 8: Beppu—Kobe

After a long drive from Kagoshima to Beppu, we were exhausted. We had managed to eat dinner at an izakaya (a type of Japanese bar) the night before, but when we got up we were still so tired that we almost gave up on seeing Beppu. But again, I’m glad we didn’t because our final destination was full of surprises. Beppu City has a nostalgic air about it that takes you back to the Shōwa period. 

Beppu, Oita

The city has numerous hot springs, and some are a bit “funky,” such as the Crocodile Park. When I saw the park’s name, I thought they must be joking: they weren’t. More than a dozen crocodiles were sunbathing inside the park! The staff said the hot spring was the perfect environment for crocodiles and that they were thriving there. I don’t know how much I would enjoy chilling with other crocodiles if I were a crocodile, but these guys didn’t seem to mind each other.

Umi Jigoku

Kamado Jigoku

Oniishibozu Jigoku

Let’s face it. Visiting an onsen city in the middle of a scorching hot summer is not exactly a brilliant idea. But I promise you won’t regret doing the onsen tour. I’m delighted that Beppu was our last destination in Kyushu. There’s still so much to say about Kyushu, but I’ll finish our Kyushu saga here. I hope you had fun reading it because I definitely enjoyed writing it!

See you again soon for our upcoming adventures! 

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  1. kagould17

    A lot of familiar places. We took the overnight inland sea cruise from Kobe to Beppu and spent the day and night there. Then the train to Kagoshima for 2 nights in 1985 and rode bikes on Sakurajima. In the middle of that we spent some time in the local hospital when my wife’s stomach rebelled against the change in diet. Happy memories nonetheless. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you for sharing your memories with me, Allan! It sounds like you had a lot of fun in Kyushu. I live in Kobe and have always wanted to take that inland sea cruise from Kobe to Kyushu!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kegarland

    This sounds like a very interesting, and sometimes, stressful trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      It was! I’m glad everything went well in the end, though 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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