3 days far from civilization…
…Or, as far as possible when you are in Southern Japan.
Japan is a crowded country, for me who come from a small city. I was always surprised to find out how many people were living in a town that I thought was tiny, after having been to Tokyo.
Up in the mountain of Miyazaki prefecture, Kyushu, Takachiho has several high schools, while my city has none. What does it mean then ? Takachiho is way bigger than I thought !
Not very easy to reach as the train was discontinued, we had to go there by bus. This is not a place where foreigners go, but everyone in Japan knows about it and domestic tourism happens often. According to Shinto beliefs / Japanese mythology, the sun goddess Amaterasu hid in a cave in Takachiho.
We chose to stay in a quite expensive ryokan because there was no other choice, it was the second less pricey hotel in the area, and the first one was not available for the first two nights.
I had a plan :
Day one : -> to Takachiho + evening at the ryokan
Day two : Takachiho Gorges, boat ride
Day three : Temples visits ? Aso ?
Day four : -> to Kagoshima
My plan was a huge, huge mistake. We should have stayed in Takachiho two nights only, leaving on the third day and instead, we got bored.
I’ll admit it was the first time I had planned a trip all by myself with so many stops. It taught me that if a city is not big, one entire day is enough to see what’s worth a visit. This is the reason why, if you look at my plan for my next journey this year, you’ll think I’m crazy to have so many cities to visit in such a short time !
Day one went as we thought.
We arrived in the evening and found our ryokan (Hana Ryokan Iwatoya. I recommend it, except for its remotness. The taxi ate our money several times), where we had dinner and were then brought to a traditional show about the creation of Japan(which was hilarious, I have to say) and Amaterasu’s legend. To go there, I had to answer to phone when the bus arrived and Ally made fun of me for 3 days after that because I said “YES !” (“HAI !”) instead of “Hello ?” (“moshi moshi”).
Everyone on the bus was wondering what we were doing there !
We then took a bath in the hot springs of the ryokan and went to bed, because we had to get up early for our breakfast.
Day two : we indeed visited the gorgeous Gorges and had some really nice mango ice cream down there, but sadly the boats were unavailable due to the rain. What did we do ? We started getting bored pretty quickly so we fed the giant carps of doom in the ponds, walked and hiked, before going back to the ryokan for another night cut short by the breakfast (this is the last time I take the breakfast option ! Getting up at 7 am is not funny when you are on vacation!)
Day three : we left the ryokan to go to another one for our third day. That’s when we planned to go to Mt Aso and were unable to do so because of the very strange bus schedule (see my previous post). We spent the morning in the Gorges, hiking up and down the road (we discovered that it didn’t take more than 5 minutes to go by foot, and we had taken a taxi during the entire day before ! The taxi took longer than our legs !). We had to be at the ryokan at 5 pm for the check-in and had thought that we would just stay in the room and watch a movie, but at 1pm we were soaked with sweat and tired. We went back, thinking we could stay in the lobby.
The guy at the ryokan, seeing us coming back drenched in sweat, looked at us briefly, gave us the key to our room and said : “Go. Bath.”
I felt pretty bad after that.
This ryokan was nowhere as nice as the other one and had no meals included, and that’s when we started getting hungry that we discovered how empty Takachiho was : we tried to find a restaurant and there was none, so we just went to grab something at the convenience store to eat in the room (I drew stupid things like Pacman on Ally’s arm before going out and she forgot about it, everyone saw it). We left early on the next day for the best place ever, but we didn’t know we would like it that much yet. Look forward to my next post to know more.
Hana Ryokan Iwatoya was not cheap but :
The meals were worth the price of our stay. They were served in our room and we had several courses, everything was delicious. Meat (Kobe beef stew, and grilled as well, Miyazaki pork), fish (cooked & raw salmon), mushrooms (I CANNOT EXPRESS HOW DELICIOUS THESE WERE !!!), fruits (so obviously grown in the backyard !), vegetables tempura, udon, miso soup, taro bread, taro rice… we had so many plates I can’t even remember everything. I listed what we got for two meals there, I don’t know what was served on which day anymore.
I want to know, though, why they love pickled fruits. We had some on our plate for breakfast and they tasted horrible. They gave us something to take with us for lunch too, it was a rice ball and we were really happy to have it but the same pickled fruits were inside and we couldn’t eat a bite of our lunch !
Articles about Japan, Taiwan and Korea are old, they are from my past travels (from 2007 to 2010). When my next trip starts, I will use this blog as a travel journal and not as travel memories diary.