Miyajima island

Miyajima island is only half an hour away from Hiroshima and a much more cheery place. It has the famous shrine gate in the sea which you might have seen in pictures of Japan. According to the Lonely Planet this is one of the top three views of Japan. I’m not sure what the other two views are but this view is pretty amazing indeed.

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In addition to the attraction of the shrine gate, the island also has a lot of deer roaming freely. They’re not shy at all and come up to tourists quite a lot in search for food. It’s exciting and fun to be so close to them, until they surprise you while you’re watching the sunset and suddenly a deer has its head in your handbag.

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Hiroshima

Tourists in Hiroshima mainly view all the atomic bomb related sights and that’s what I did too. There’s a big park and lots of memorials to remind about the terrible history that made Hiroshima famous.

On 6 August 1945 an atomic bomb was dropped by an American bomber, in the hope of ending the war once and for all. Unfortunately it also ended the lives of 180,000 people, if not  more. As a direct result of the bomb blast thousands died straight away but many more thousands died weeks, months or years later from the after effects of the bomb.

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Buried alive in stormy Ibusuki

As an onsen (Japanese hot spring) fan, I took the opportunity to go on a day trip from Kagoshima to Ibusuki. Ibusuki is a small onsen town which famously offers a hot sand bath in addition to various traditional water baths.

I took the local train in the morning.

train to ibusuki

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Foot bath by the train station. They mean business!
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First I walked around the town a bit and along the sea side. It was empty! Nobody except me. Once again I felt like I was the only person on earth. I was starting to think that it’s me!

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Beppu – I’m in Onsen heaven

Being German, luckily I don’t have a big problem with nudity. We go to the sauna naked (not like in England!), have nudist beaches (which I don’t frequent but I can tolerate it) and many public swimming pools or sports facilities don’t have cubicle showers. So I’m used to it, which was advantageous for my stay in Beppu where I spent a lot of my time in my birthday suit. But let’s take a step back to put this into perspective.

Japan has a lot of volcanoes and therefore also a lot of hotsprings (called “onsen”).

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There’s a big tradition of bathing in this hot water. It is one of my favourite things to do in Japan. There’s a whole procedure around it where you have to shower first, sitting on a tiny stool next to lots of other people who are scrubbing themselves vigorously, rinse, put more shower gel, scrub some more… Definitely no dirt left on anyone afterwards (and sometimes I wonder if some even have any skin left after all this scrubbing). And then you can get into the bath.

Of course all this is done naked (gender separated), which is why you need to be pretty relaxed about it!

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Fukuoka

Fukuoka is the biggest city in Kyushu, which is the third biggest island of Japan, right in the west of the country.

When I came to Fukuoka I had come down with a cold, so was glad to have my own room after being in a dorm for the previous couple of nights. I didn’t do much on the first day except take it easy and check out the shopping centre.

Fukuoka is famous for its food carts which open after dark, so of course I had to try these for dinner.

Here are a couple of these carts which I came across during the day. There were several parked in various locations across the city.

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