Last year I visited Japan for the 3rd time. Once again I was amazed and impressed by the incredible level of hospitality, kindness and friendliness of the Japanese people, and I was left in even more in awe of the stunning countryside and landscape.
After re-visiting some of North Honshu once again, the major cities Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto along with a few other places, I had a choice to make. Should I travel to the North in Hokkaido, or travel to the South in Kyushu? This time I chose to travel to the South.
After a very early train at sunrise leaving Nagasaki, south western Honshu, I arrived in Kagoshima.
After getting off the Shinkansen bullet train, you are greeted with this highly detailed work of art. A stain glass window depicting the active volcano Sakurajima in Kagoshima.
And then as you walk into the entrance of the train station and look to your right, on display are these delicate looking Japanese royalty dolls. Some of them had interesting expressions on their faces.
A few more of these traditional dolls were on display.
Kagoshima Souvenir key rings.
These funny little anime character key rings were also on display at the entrance of the train station.
Sakurajima volcano trip.
It wasn't long before I boarded a ferry from mainland Kagoshima to climb and explore the active volcanic island Sakurajima. People actually live on this island! I took this photo on the ferry.
On Sakurajima. This was my first stop from the tour bus with a view of the volcano.
On the second bus stop, I came across this very unusual giant rock sculpture of a giant breaking out of the ground, appearing to be screaming whilst clutching onto a guitar. Was there once giants in Japan?
And on the final stop was the highest point we could reach. Sakurajima 373m above sea level! This is me with the rock every single tour group was lining up to get a photo with.
And this is my close-up photo of Sakurajima on the way down the volcano back to the base level and ferry port. Can you imagine how intense this would look during an eruption?
After getting the ferry back to the mainland and having lunch, it was time to go and visit the traditional Japanese gardens.
This is a photo I took in the traditional Japanese gardens of Sengan-en in Kagoshima. The Cherry Blossoms were just beginning to make an appearance.
There are always fine examples of beautiful and intricate craftsmanship and design to be found in Japan. The attention-to-detail in the smallest things are visible for all to witness, that is of course if the the individual is alert and presently aware of their surroundings instead of being transfixed on digital devices.
This particular site I wished I had more time to spend in. If you visit Sengan-en in Kagoshima, allow yourself at least a couple of hours to slowly explore and absorb this inspiring setting. There is a lot to appreciate here and some great photo opportunities around every corner. So go slowly and allow yourself to experience it all and really take it in.
One with the bamboo forest!
The traditional Japanese gardens in Sengan-en also has a small but beautiful and peaceful bamboo forest. This bamboo forest you can't really get lost in, unlike the main one open to tourists in Kyoto. And when I arrived here, there was nobody else around apart from me and my friend. You could hear the wind blowing through the leaves, the sounds of birds and running water from the stream. I decided to take a seat among the bamboo and close my eyes for a minute.
Running water. Of course I had to try out a macro shot in this place!
And as you would expect in a Japanese Zen natural garden, the sounds you hear are serene, water is flowing, there is a sense of calm.
After soaking up all of the refreshing and stimulating sites in the traditional gardens, I felt energised and ready to try a flying Hadouken with the active volcano Kagoshima in the background. This was a really fun way to end the day here. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would say it is definitely a place in Japan well worth visiting!