Arimura Lava Field
A clear morning and a good view of Sakurajima. We can see the active crater which is on this side i.e. the landward side not the ferry port side.
We head back towards the ferry port, however, as we want to walk around the Arimura lava field. This is an easy walk as the whole route is tarmac and the circuit takes only about 20 minutes. It is interesting to wander through these contorted rocks and wonder at the fact that these were molten flows.
Sometimes this area is thick with fumes depending on the wind direction and the volcanic activity. I have also experienced the deep rumbles from far underground which is very disconcerting. Not this time.
Circuit complete, our destination becomes Cape Sata; the most southerly point of Kyushu and thus the main islands of the archipelago.
This will mean we have been to the most northerly, easterly and southernmost points. We have also been to Hirado which some consider the most westerly but a bridge makes this assertion contentious.
The early part of the drive on R. 220 was nondescript but the nearer we got to Cape Sata the more the views improved.
Kaimondake, is impressive on the other side of the water, rising out of an increasingly rough sea, as we move further out of Sakurajima Bay. Approaching the cape the vegetation becomes noticeably more tropical. The road narrows and is overhung with banyan trees; the proto-roots hanging down like creepers.
Cape Sata offers splendid ocean views and spectacular rocks and coves. Tanegashima is visible but not Yakushima as that is much further out to sea. The unsettled weather adds a wonderful shade to a sea whipped into white horses by the strong breeze.
There is a large Banyan tree in the car park, though I doubt the Indians would be that impressed, I was surprised to see it. We were unable to visit the observatory as it was closed for renovation.
The shrine was accessible, but I wouldn’t bother, it is not worth seeing. As we approached the shrine, we were surprised to find monkeys in the foliage, so close, directly above our heads. They were eating Saruguri, or monkey cucumber, that looked like small kiwi fruit.
Kuni no Matsubara Ohsaki michi-no-eki
Leaving Cape Sata, we return the way we have come and then turn across the peninsular towards Shibushi. We stop in Ohsaki, at Kuni no Matsubara Ohsaki michi-no-eki.
This place has lots of parking and cats. It also boasts a park with a children’s play area and open expanses some of it landscaped with an artificial stream. This michi-no-eki also has an onsen and a hotel. The onsen is large and very reasonably priced at 310 yen but it does not provide soap and shampoo. A very ordinary onsen but hot and wet which is welcome as what has been a warm day turned into a very cold evening.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.