November, 2013

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
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At Ritsurin Park

Hello, friends.
This month, our friend David will tell you his story about their trip in Japan again.
David and Ann Maclennan live in Tasmania, and they have often visited Yoyokaku.
He has written for this page many times before:
#44, #65, #89, #122, #145

Please enjoy meeting him.

A Journey into the Unknown.
by David Maclennan


This year we decided to go to parts of Japan that we had not really visited before. This journey took us to parts of Shikoku and Kyushu.


Our first port of call was Takamatsu which we had visited before but we wanted to go to Ritsurin Park and see the cherry blossom. Unfortunately, it was raining for much of the time we were there. It was, however, still a pleasant walk, and at the the end of it we went into the museum and came across a newly married couple who were having their photographs taken and allowed us to do the same. Outside the museum there was a young man sitting on a seat playing the flute in the rain.

At Ritsurin Park

At Ritsurin Park


The next day we travelled to Tokushima.  Outside the station, we were trying to get our bearings to find our way to the inn when a young mother who was pushing a pram came to our aid.  Once we had dropped our luggage at the inn we had lunch and went off to the Awa Odori museum where we watched a performance of the dance.  This was quite interesting and after the performance we took the cable car up to the top of Mount Beizan where the view took in the town and the port.

Awa-odori The view from Mt. Beizan


The following day we caught the train to we Naruto station and from there a bus to Naruto Park.  We climbed to the top of the park before walking down a long pavement to the bridge over the straits.  The viewing area was a 700 metre long platform under the bridge. The whirlpools were quite spectacular but very difficult to photograph, as they were only transient. After we arrived back at Tokushima, we found a very nice café, called Il Rosa, which is part of a chain in Shikoku. The afternoon coffee and cake were magnificent and Il Rosa is recommended if you are ever in Shikoku.

The whirlpool at Naruto Cafe Il Rosa


If you care and to go back to my story number 89 when we visited Japan to go to “A Shinto Wedding”, you will see the family of the bride who were at the wedding in the first photo of the story. They live in the Southwest corner of Shikoku in a small town called Otsuki near Sukumo. We decided that we would like to meet up with them once again. However, they would only meet us if Hiroko Tagami, the mother of the groom, came to interpret for us. This she did and we had awonderful two days with them. One of the interesting sites was that of the “submersible” bridge. This was designed with no corners so that when the river was in flood and carried lots of debris, the debris did not stick to the bridge and so it was not damaged.

Noriko      Hiroko         Ann       Tsuyoshi The submersible bridge


From Sukumo we caught the bus up to Uwajima, a town on the West Coast of Shikoku. A short bus ride to the south of the town lies Nanrakuen, a stroll garden that was only built about 25 years ago. This was well worth the visit.  The town’s castle is very small, consisting of only 3 floors.

Nanrakuen Garden Uwajima Castle


We caught the train up to Yawatahama and from there took the ferry over to Beppu on Kyushu.  From Beppu we went to Miyazaki for a couple of days.  The Florante Garden was very pleasant and was full of tulips.  We also visited the Science Museum and Planetarium and I enjoyed it very much, as an ex Science Teacher.

Ferry to Beppu The Florante Garden


The next stop was Kagoshima.  The walk along the Kotsuki River was very pleasant both by day and by night.  We took a bus trip over to the Sakurajima volcano and had a very informative couple of hours before heading back to Kagoshima and lunch at Sangan-en gardens.  Ann was in her element as there was an exhibition of glassware from the Satsuma Kiriko Cut Glass Factory.  From the Gardens the bus took us to the Meiji Restoration Museum where we saw a film about the students visit to the UK and the part they played in the Restoration.

A samurai house at the riverside walk of Kotsuki River Kiriko Cut Glass Factory


From Kagoshima we went up to Kumamoto.  The transport system in the city was excellent as you could travel by either bus or tram.  At the Castle, we found that there had been some recent and ongoing restoration.  The Hon-maru Goten was a beautiful Hall with many exquisitly painted walls, screens and ceilings.  At dinner, we tried a local delicacy called Karashi Renkon.  It brought tears to our eyes, as it is lotus root stuffed with a miso and wasabi paste.  The following day we went to the Craft Museum but got lost on theway as I had confused the bus map with the tram map but some very helpful people in an office building showed us the way.

The Hon-maru Goten of Kumamoto Castle Craft Museum


The next stop on our trip was at Karatsu where we enjoyed the usual excellent hospitality at Yoyokaku.  Den-san took us up to the top of Mount Kagami where we had a wonderful view of Karatsu.  It was quite a cool breeze that we met up there.  This was only a very short visit and we were on our way to Osaka the next day.

Karatsu Enichiji Temple in Karatsu


Ann had wanted to come to the Castle, which we had first seen nearly twenty years ago, as on our last trip she had watched a TV drama series about its history & fall.  All in all it was a very pleasant visit which cemented the TV series in her mind.  The next morning we were awoken at 0533 by a rather violent earthquake.  This completely disruped our travel plans and we had to wait around Shin-Osaka station for several hours before we changed our route to Kanazwa.  This meant that we only got there in the early evening and were not able to do the trip to Kenrokuen as planned.

The Osaka Castle View from the castle


Our final port of call was Kyoto for half a day prior to catching our plane home.  Although we had visited Kyoto on many occasions, this was the first time we had been sightseeing on a Sunday.  The Path of Philosophy was very pretty with the last of the Sakura but there were a great many people there. The queues for a bus were immense and the buses were packed tight.  But it was fun.

The Path of Philosophy The crowded bus


David Maclennan

This trip was great as we ended up in lots of places we had never visited before and in counting up we have now visited nearly 90 different cities, towns and villages.  Roll on next year, with a trip that will take us around parts of Tohoku.


Thank you, David-san for your story and beautiful photos.
You and Ann-san are travelling in Japan much more than I do. I really envy you!
Your story will help other foreign people who want to have a trip in Japan.

Dear Readers, thank you for visiting, and I hope you will see us next month too.

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