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Friday, 14 August 2015

Kagoshima Trip Part 2: Chiran

So, on day 2 of Kagoshima, which was basically our only full day there, we decided to go to Chiran. That's mainly because of my mom, who saw a post about on Facebook and asked me to check it out. So mom, Chiran should totally be on your "to go" list, the daughter who recce-ed it says so.

Getting to Chiran was a pain though. There's supposedly a bus passing through Tenmonkan, but we couldn't find it. The easiest way is to get to take the tram to the Kagoshima Chuo Station and take one of the hourly buses. It's about 870 yen (I think? Just budget about 900 yen) for a one way trip, and a trip takes about one and a half hours. At least, that was my experience. There's a fairly detailed PDF with tons of info, including bus schedules, but it's all in Japanese.

Chiran has a Peace Museum (Chiran used to be a base for the Kamikaze pilots) and a Samurai District. This time, we only went to the Samurai district, mostly because we didn't want to have to take the bus another two times.

The streets of Chiran!
 At a store just next to the bus-stop, we managed to buy tickets to enter all seven samurai gardens. It's 500 yen.

The district is beautiful! Just walking along the roads take you back in time, and someone wearing a kimono would not feel out of place. Conversely, when I saw a car, I was taken aback.

This is actually a residential area, so apart from the gardens, there isn't much. I saw a few restaurants (two or three?) and a cafe, and maybe one shop for omiyage. Oh, but one of the gardens had a small shop too.

I'm not sure why there is a Kappa statue, but it exists. The little sign behind basically says "Private Property, do not enter". I saw this at every gate. I suppose after a while, people got tired of random strangers knocking on their door.

And this is where the panorama function on the iPhone comes in handy.

This is the one shop where you can stop to rest and grab a snack, as well as some omiyage.

I'm not sure if you can enter the place, but we were allowed to sit on the wooden, um, corridor-like thingy and have a snack. It was surprisingly cool there, with the breeze and the shade. Too bad the tea wasn't cold.

The shop mainly sells tea, but they also sell a tea+geta no ha snack set.

Geta no ha is that brown, triangular thing below. It's also very, very sweet, like a lot of Japanese sweets, which is where the tea comes in handy. This would actually be perfect in Autumn, when the air is chilly but not too cold, and the tea is hot.

And now, please enjoy some of the photos I took and edited:

Another view of the street 

Some random flowers we saw growing alongside the road 
 There are seven gardens in total, and all of them are pretty small. But these are two of my favourites. (I hear that there are one or two that look stunning in spring, the colours look really great, according to the picture in the brochure).

I love the mountain in the background

After we finished visiting all the gardens, we went back for a very late lunch/early dinner of kurobuta! 

Kagoshima is famous for kurobuta, which is translated means "black pork". It is awesome. But anyway, we wanted to try a shabu-shabu kurobuta meal at least once, even if it's expensive. Luckily, we found one that was open after 3pm and quite reasonable (about 2500 yen, if I remember correctly)

After our late lunch/early dinner, we hopped on the second last Kagoshima city view bus for a tour around Kagoshima by bus! I liked the fact that they had explanations in the screen attached.

Since there was one more bus, we decided to make a stop at the highest point in Kagoshima to take in the city view. And it was fantastic. Sakurajima looks awesome!

And after that, well, we also made a stop at the beach. It was a pretty fun day, although I would have liked more time at Chiran. Oh well, next time, I'll try to make it to the peace museum as well. 

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