Kagoshima in flower

Before leaving Kagoshima, we went back to the bridge where, as we had predicted, the cherry blossoms had finally bloomed. They were worth the wait.



Then we stumbled on a market.   



Kagoshima City Aquarium

The main attractions of this aquarium:  a dolphin show in the adjacent canal; and, a whale shark exhibit were cancelled and temporarily closed respectively without explanation or any reduction in entrance fee. This was disappointing but the rest of the displays were enjoyable and informative. The seal feeding was pretty basic but the indoor dolphin show was entertaining.



The Hisatsu Orange Railway

Today we went in search of the Orange Train which Brian had read was a local train servicing rural and coastal towns and doubling as a little-known tourist attraction. Very little-known from our experience. We almost turned back at one stage because although people understood we were looking for the orange train, they couldn’t tell us how to get there. But we persevered and with the help of our ‘Japanese for Tourists’ booklet, which we used for the first time, a very patient ticket inspector at Kawashiri Station was able to tell us which station to get off at – Yatsushiro, another eight stations further – and a couple of young girls there were able to direct us to the right platform. The experience and scenery were worth the effort but tinted perspex windows meant photography was  impossible, so very frustrating.






Took a tram, then a ferry to get to Sakurajima Island to see its volcano which, luckily for us, had just started erupting again  yesterday.

We were having a picnic lunch at the foreshore when WHACK – I got hit in the face by a hawk trying to steal my food mid-bite! He lost and I applied the 5-second rule, just used the volcano ash as extra crunchy seasoning.



The culprit


Natural foot spa with a view 




A reason for everything

Sometimes things happen for a reason. Last night Brian finalised plans for the next leg of our trip to Kanazawa, north from where we were in Nagano. We needed to transfer funds so got onto Qcash which was taking forever to load, so to fill in time and stop myself loosing my temper, I clicked on the Japan Met Bureau site, only to discover that snow was forecast for the next week from Nagano north! So we changed our plans and headed towards the least cold place on the map. We made it as far as Osaka today. It’s still cold here, 9 degrees, but at least it’s not snowing – yet!

Jigokundani Monkey Park

Accidentally got a tour of the Japan Alps when we missed the stop for the Monkey Park.

We got there eventually and had the best animal experience we’ve ever had.

The macaques were exactly as they appeared in the photos and documentaries we had seen and were completely unperturbed by the presence of their adoring public.

One of them sat on Brian’s foot and a baby held my finer and tried to take off my rings.