Fukuoka to Yakushima


At Fukuoka things got interesting. I went through immigration but Geoff didn't. I realised fairly quickly that he was held up, waited quite a while, then illegally ducked back in to ask where he was and what had happened. I was told to sit outside and wait - he was detained in immigration. Meanwhile, Geoff had failed the fingerprint test - they didn't like his prints - and he was sitting, ignored, in a corner, waiting for someone to tell him all was OK. Apparently they thought he might be personna non grata. After about three quarters of an hour they let him go, and all was well.

We took a taxi to the Hakata JR station, then found an information office to get directions to our chosen accommodation - a monstrous business hotel which was just fine. Had a bit of a walk around, then some time out before going to the 10th floor of the railway station for dinner - lots of moderate restaurants to choose from on 9th and 10th floors. It sounds like a cop-out, eating at the railway station, but many railway stations, department stores and shopping complexes have one or more floors of their buildings dedicated to eating, with a wide choice of restaurant styles to choose from. Its a good place to look for reasonable food, particularly if you arrive in a city after dark, and haven't had time to explore the places on offer.

Went to use the computer and discovered we had the wrong plugs, and that we couldn't charge the battery on the Mac. Whoops! Decided not to panic and to do something about it in the morning

Headed off to the railway station - converted our rail passes and booked on the shinkasen to go to Kagoshima that afternoon.

Our hotel had given us directions to the Apple store, so we walked through the city to find it. The guy there said he could sell us a very expensive adaptor, but sent us off to a Bic Camera, where we bought a $5 power converter kit. Bic Camera is a great store for people who love technology - we could have spent all day there! Went back to Apple, where they let us test out the plugs - they worked! Back to the hotel, where they had kindly kept our luggage, then we took the train to Kagoshima.

The Information desk at Kagoshima station had a very helpful girl (who had home-stayed in Kalamunda!). She found us a hotel, reserved a room for us, and sent us off with lots of maps. Walked to the hotel, booked in, then went to the ferry terminal to sort out going to Yakushima. The ferry we wanted to go on was out of commission, so we booked on the very expensive jetfoil alternative. Walked up to the ruins of the castle, past a shrine, back to the hotel.

The ferry to Yakushima was faster than we expected, so we were in Miyanoura Port before we knew it. We stayed at the Youth Hostel, which proved to be just great. It is a small town, so by the time we explored the shrines, river, supermarket and shops we ran out of things to look at. Luckily it was also getting late in the day.

In the morning we caught the bus to Oko-no-taki waterfall. Had a wander around the deserted beach, then went looking for a walking trail. None to the north-west, but we did find a dead deer, and lots of amazing insects, including butterflies. We had a picnic lunch back on the beach, then decided to walk back along the road, still looking for a trail. Didn't find one. Walked about 6-7km, then waited for a bus, assisted by an intellectually-challenged man who worried that we were on the wrong side of the road.

Everywhere we went on that last day we saw magnificent flowers, particularly hippiastrums - Geoff now has a large collection of lilly flowers.

Leaving Yakushima was real travel day. We started with the ferry to Kagoshima. It was raining by the time we arrived, but we walked up to the station and reserved seats to Hiroshima. Grabbed an ice-cream for lunch, and found the train already sitting and waiting, so we headed to Hiroshima.


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