Saint Francis Xavier Park
The first stop was Saint Francis Xavier park, which is actually really small and can be seen from the bus. But I've had an interest in Japan since my IB days (possibly since ROCs), so I wanted to get off and take a closer look.
Apparently, Saint Francis first landed in Kagoshima, bringing Christianity to Japan for the first time in 1549. 10 months later, he moved to Nagasaki.
Next, we decided to walk to the Literature and Fairy Tale Museum. On the way there, we passed the
Statue of Saigo Takamori
This is actually something you can view from the bus, but if you want to get to the fairytale museum, you have to get off here anyway.
From what I found out: Saigo Takamori did a lot of stuff and was also dubbed "The Last True Samurai" (sorry Tom Cruise). He's also known as the leader of the Satsuma Rebellion, which was Japan's last failed civil war.
And opposite the road, there were people in Meiji-era clothes!! Totally a photo-taking opportunity. It's next to some other museum, but the brother wasn't very interested in that.
Modern Literature Museum and Märchen Fairy Tale Museum
I really wanted to go here cause Singapore doesn't have either (sobs) and I wanted to see what a literature museum could be like. Sadly, no photos allowed for the literature section.
There was a cool bed/writing desk combo though. I totally want that.
Quite like that they showcase the writing spaces and excerpts from the work (audio/video/play)
The Märchen Fairy Tale Museum was actually super cute, but geared towards kids. Bring a child along, and you won't raise eyebrows hahaha.
Anyway, the first level is called "Story Town", and got quite a few activities for kids!! Also has some sort of "Blank Picture Book" show (roughly 20min), but we didn't go watch. I think it was something about making your own story, which sounded pretty cool.
They also have this magic mirror, which lets you 'dress up' as various characters. I'm pretty sure that I'm Puss in Boots haha. Then after each one there's a sort of mini-activity, like popping apples for Snow White or something.
Oh, and I tried the Snow White one too, but I think I'm too tall or something cause it could not make the dress stay on :p
What I thought was interesting would be their definition of fairy tales. Like, the first stories that come to mind would probably be from the Grimm Brothers, but here, they also included Japanese stories, and Chinese stories like 西游记 (Journey to the West).
By the way, the bigger text in the photo is Chinese - then they have Japanese translations at the side. Anyone can guess which part of 西游记 this is?
From the third floor (top) down is a Story Trail for Alice in Wonderland. It starts with words that you need a mirror to read...
The pictures are pretty cool, with a slight 3D feel to it. The trick art pictures are the main attractions, but they have other things too, like scents at the scene where Alice has to eat and drink the 'Eat Me' cake. It's a really rushed version of the story though.
The last part of the museum was the Marionette Clock, which lasted three minutes! And the good thing about it is that you can watch the clock, and then make it to the bus stop without having the rush (assuming you're taking the Kagoshima City View bus - get the one day pass if you intend to get off and on the bus four times or more.
The second last stop was Senganen (仙巌園), which at first seemed overpriced cause it was 1000 yen for an adult and 500 yen for a child with no discounts available (others had discounts if you show the one day pass). So I was like "at least we'll get a free sweet".
But turns out it was worth it! Or I grew to like it haha. Anyway, this is a 150 pound iron canon. And supposedly the most powerful canon at the end of the Edo period
So Senganen was the home to this important family called the Shimadzu (島津) family. It's Japanese in style, but with Chinese influences (apparently).
They also have a style of martial arts called the Jigen Ryu. Jigen-Ryu apparently embodies the Satsuma Samurai spirit. It was pretty fun (tried it myself), but the way they use the sword is different from Kendo, so I had to keep trying not to hit it the way I'm used too haha
Funnily enough, one of the first things I bought here was Blue Seal ice-cream!! I don't know why or how I first heard about it, but I've been wanting to try this for quite a long time.
Mom took strawberry, and mine is sweet potato sherbet (right). Tasted good, though nothing like Yakiimo.
So, some pictures of the place:
This gate is a Tin-Roofed Gate, made with Kagoshima Tin! Apparently, during the time the gate was made, only high ranking citizens could have red gates, which shows you how important this family was.
And this is what they call the lion stone lantern. The lion is called a 飞狮子 🦁️ which apparently makes it "lion like" and not actually a lion.
The lantern is huge though. The top is supposed to be 13 meters squared!!
I think this is the Shimadzu residence. Apparently only one third of the original building(s) are still standing. And if you want to go in, you have to pay more for a tour. On the bright side, the tour does come with green tea and wagashi.
We didn't go for the tour.
The thing about Senganen is that they use Sakurajima and the Kinko bay as substitutes ("borrowed scenery") for the mountain and the body of water that are a feature of most Japanese gardens.
And for some reason, there are lots of flowers used. Like with this pavilion above.
There's also a cat shrine, which apparently quite rare in Japan
People write wishes for their cats here, apparently.
So next to the cat shrine, there was a slope. Since my mom and bro was somewhere else, I decided to go up and see if there was a good view.
And of course, Jambo Mochi!! It's a local delight apparently, and comes in two flavours - soya sauce and miso. Personally, I much prefer the miso, because the soya sauce is kinda... not sweet and not salty enough? It's nice, but the miso one had a stronger taste and I liked it better.
Apparently, the two sticks represent the two samurai swords or something like that.
Dolphin Port/Farmers Market
Our last stop was Dolphin Port, and the first reaction my mom and I had was "this looks like Australia". I thought it looked like Darwin and mom thought it looked like the Gold Coast.
Do you know there are wild dolphins in Kinko Bay??? Didn't get to see them this time though ><
Just opposite the Dolphin Port was a row of tents. Being kaypoh, we went to take a look. Turns out it was a farmer's market!!
And surprisingly, my bro enjoyed it the most. But it was fun, especially all the food.
We bought something almost immediately. My grandad loves sweet potato, and they were selling four in a bag for 200 yen!!
They let us have a free sample (so many free samples there), and it was really sweet!! Hope my grandad likes it!
My bro also bought the potato tornado thingy. It was good (I kept sneaking pieces). They fried it up for us on the spot XD
Apart from that, there was also a maze, where you run to three stations to make a vegetable stamp. Bro found it fun, so yay!
The last thing I remembered taking a photo of was this honey!!! They were letting people try honey from the honeycomb for free. Tasted good - sweet but light.
After that, we made our way back to Kagoshima Chuo station, and back to Hakata. It was only three days, but it was really fun and busy.
Note: This post was created based on my Dayre post for that day (edited to make it easier to read), because it had all the information that I've already forgotten.