So – next stop Miyazaki. Famous for its beautiful beaches. Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed. Maybe the reason was somehow, that due to the Typhoon a lot of garbage and dirt was washed ashore and the water was more brown than clear.
From a Auto-Camping site, by bike, we visited the small island Aoshima. The whole area is famous for the interesting shapes stones at around the island and shore, shaped like “Wash-boards” – therefore called “the devil/giant wash-board”.
Before getting a sunburn, our trip lead us to Mt. Yufu, close to Bepu. Next to the entrance of the Hike up to the mountain, we found a small parking area to spend the night. Next morning, at 6:00 we started our hike to the two summits. Again I have to say: Hiking in Japan is challenging. If the hike is described as “moderate” be aware it can include short passage, were you have to climb, as well as steep, narrow paths. At the end, and due to a not very accurate map, it took as 6.5 hours for 12km trough the mountains. But the view from the Top was stunning!
Afterwards, thanks to the Lonely planet, we visited a small, mixed bathhouse in Yufuin
The next day the rain catched up. When driving to the mystic morning scene of Shikoku, along the Shimanto River, the rain got so strong, we had to drive along, to get to Osaka in the evening. Anyway, what I saw in Shikoku looked like, Kayaking and hiking can be really nice there. So I’m a little sad to miss the chance to spend more time in that region.
Osaka than was a like getting back to “big-city-reality”. Crowded, hot and noisy as well as completely different to Tokyo. I liked it very much, because as written before the city is a little bit less structured and organized and therefore everything seems to be a little bit more flexible.
So a good last stop on our trip before returning to Musashi-Kosugi!
The next night we planned to spend on and Auto-Camping site in the North-western area of Honshu. If you search forオートキャンプ on GoogleMaps there are a plenty of camping sites
BUT: due to the coming typhoon all of them were closed, and even more surprising, even some were not opens since years it seemed. So at least it was a good chance to take some pictures of another abandoned place in Japan. And again it felt little bit spooky to enter such a place, where somehow time stood still.
So we had to spend the night once more on a parking space close to the coastline, which was very quite during night time.
Before driving to Fukuoka we wanted to stay on day at the beach and by surprise we found a hidden camping site at the very end of Honshu with a beautiful sunset (うしろはま, Shimonoseki). Due to the typhoon still moving over Japan, we had the whole beach for ourselves and spend 2000Yen for the camping site.
To see the VW Camper we drove to Fukuoka – but where to camp in the middle of the city? We decided to spend some money on a hotel for one night. And again, because of the typhoon the city was almost empty and the hotels did have some discounts.
Sadly, the next morning we checked the VW camper van, but it was not as good in shape as expected, to we will remain faithful to our GMC van. At least I got the chance to get an impression of Fukuoka, where night-life takes place much more outdoors.
In march we already travelled to Kyushu. Unluckily it was raining almost all of the time. So we decided: let’s try again this Obon week (Summer holiday in Japan)
Reasons? Even with rain Kyushu was beautiful and we wanted to spend some more time outside of the van, as well we wanted to check out another Camper van in Fukuoka (VW – yeahhh!), to add to our “collection”.
We started our trip by driving to Lake Biwa, close to Kyoto, Japan’ largest freshwater lake. Around Moriyama, there are some nice, stony beaches with barbecue areas, where you can spend your day.
After spending a night on a hidden parking area close to the Okayama port (not a good idea – because I got noisy due to the fisher boats at 5:00), we travelled one day to Naoshima island, to visit the Art projects. If you are somehow interested in Art I would recommend to go there! We brought our own bikes, but you can also rent bikes at the port and do the whole tour of roughly 14km by bike.
And Naoshima Bath house (I♥湯) looks a little bit weird, but Is a nice contrast to other typical Japanese onsen.
Ever been to a festival? Wherever you joined one: it is always fun of course!
But the Fuji Rock festival was as well something special for me!
2 days of perfect weather, nice camping area and good mixed line-up.
So what is the difference to a festival e.g. in Germany or anywhere else of the world? The behaviour! Some examples: Everyone is separating their trash, even on the festival area. Labels of the plastic bottles and the caps are carefully separated. No trash in front of the stages the toilets can be called clean – even after 3 days. I never found a toilet run out of toilet paper and I never saw anyone smoking a cigarette outside of the marked areas. Amazing!
And another difference: Everyone brings at least a chair into the festival area. The whole field behind the main stage area is crowded by people with portable chairs, pick-nick tables, their children and plastic sheets. Its like a family event with enormous loud music!
And now, I also understand why musicians love to come to Japan – they just shout “all hands in the air” – and really EVERYONE is doing as asked. Creating a great mood!
All this packed with a beautiful surrounding, the Naeba skiing area decorated with glowing stars, hippie atmospheric paths trough the woods, stones watching you with painted eyes and on top a really international mix of music. I hope I can go there once more next year!
The city is to busy for you? The crowds to big & and everything to fast? Just get in the train towards Okutama.
This is still “Tokyo”, but in 1,5 hours by train you are in the middle of nowhere, without even an Konbini (Convenience Stores). So bring your own food!
In this area, you can do short hikes along the river, or long hikes up to the mountains. If you are lazy, just take the cable car. and a must as a good tourist: Take a picture of “Kawai” Station!
My parents arrived in Japan. First my mother, now as well my father :). Its really nice to share with them what I learned about Japan and show them my favorite places. We even went camping in Shimoda and close to Lake Ashi, and I’m kind of proud to have such flexible parents! Some impressions and moments to share, even if its only an abstract of the last 2 weeks:
Golden week – Time for Holiday! By Ferry we went to Kyushu, Kagoshima. Weather should be really nice… But once again the rain is traveling with us. But anyway, we had a nice time on our road trip trough Kyushu.
As almost whole japan, Kyushu area as well, is easy to reach by train. But you should be aware, that you will always travel with the crowd! Kyushu has a lot of nice, lonely and hidden placed, much easier to reach by car. That is why we got stucked in the south, where we started our trip. One week is just not enough to take the round trip. AT the southern end of Kushu, we found nice waterfalls and hiking spots, where we could stay easily on the parking area with our camper van. So we started close to Miyazaki and drove with several stops to Kagoshima and further to Nagasaki.
Some highlights we passed on the way: Hanza River, Minami Kyushu Coast, Mt. Aso Area, Oyama Onsen, Mini Island close to Ibusuki, Takachiho Gorge, Futatsu shrine, Lake Ikeda, Kamikawa Otaki Park & waterfall….