Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Weekend Trip Part 2: Sakurajima

It's been a busy three days - I had a lesson from 8pm to 1am on Sunday, and two guest lectures for Monday and Tuesday, on top of regular classes :p But, I'm back and ready to continue with the second part recap of my trip to Kagoshima!

So during the second day, my family and I went to Sakurajima. I've actually been there once with my friends, but that was only for a few hours, and most of it was spent hiking. This time, we spent almost a whole day there :D I did do some things that overlapped, but I won't be repeating them here - please take a look at the previous post (link in the first sentence of this paragraph) if you're interesting.

This trip, the 'new' things that we did was the Dig Your Own Onsen tour, and the visit to Kagoshima Natural Dinosaur Park!

Dig Your Own Onsen Tour

The Dig Your Own Onsen Touris exactly like it's name says. But if you're interested in going for the tour, please keep in mind that you have to make reservations at least two days in advance. And the timings for each day changes, and it's subject to availability (if there are guides). Luckily for us, even though I called exactly two days ahead, there was space!

And it turned out we were the only people in the tour, so yay!

Oh yeah, you need at least two people, and there's a maximum of seven. It's also fairly pricey, at 3500 yen/person but we found it worth it. At first, I was a bit hesitant about whether I should go, but then I realised it was a tour and I'd probably have to translate. Which I did, plus it was really fun.


This was the first thing the guide pointed out. Basically, from this point of view, you can see the two pics of Sakurajima very clearly. One of them is still active, while the other isn't, if I remember correctly. At the bottom is a no-water river. It's basically a man-made channel made to deal with the mudflows that sometimes occur during heavy rain.


So we hopped into the guide's car and was brought to a place called Arimura. The photo here basically focuses on those awesome clouds, but I hope you can see that the sand really is black, and the photo isn't just dark.

So there were apparently three really huge eruptions on Sakurajima in the past. And the vegetation growing after each eruption is different, which is really cool. The first picture shows the trees after the most recent major eruptions (there have been lots of tiny eruptions since, but none since August, apparently. That's why the streets were relatively clean). As you can see, it's basically one type of three.


The second photo is from the previous eruption. By the way, I was trying to find the names and dates and all that, but I couldn't find it, and I already forgot O.O


And this last picture is of the oldest eruption, and as you can see, it's got different kinds of vegetations. It's pretty cool, to think that from one species of trees, it's gonna end up like a forest like this!



But back to the tour. While we had to bring our own towels, the tour did provide shovels. Basically, the perfect time and spot to dig for an onsen varies from day to day, with the tide. And apparently, this is the only place in Japan where you can dig for onsen next to the ocean. The next closest is in Hokkaido, but it's next to a lake.

So we tried a few spots, and eventually settled on one.


 By the way, it's best if you take off your shoes and socks early, because this will get messy. And it took the three of us a long time just to dig a foot onsen, yet the guide managed to dig a heart shaped one really fast.


Finally, though, we were done!

Me enjoying the onsen. 

The guide helped us get some huge rocks to place around the onsen, partly to make a seat, and partly because "it looks cooler that way". The tour was rather tiring, but it was extremely fun. I did, however, end up with sand in my nails and socks at the end of the whole thing.


Sakurajima Natural Dinosaur Park

I'm not exactly sure why they used the word "natural" (or "nature") in this, because it kept making me think about Jurasic Park. But at least no one got eaten this time.

The brochure claimed that the park was a ten minute walk, and it very well may be, but I think it took us fifteen to twenty minutes. Maybe even thirty. Why?

Because the park is set on a hill. We had to climb up steep slopes that twisted and turned to get to the park. I guess in a way, it's a good thing we didn't know how long it would take, because if not, we might have given up. But eventually, we got there, and was greeted with this:

roar

And I saw the dinosaur slide thing that was in the brochure!!


By the way, this is really a park. So it's best to come with kids, or those who are children at heart (and can fit on play facilities meant for the young) because if not... there's not much to do.

There is a FIFTY METER SLIDE though

They had to build a spiral staircase that went around about three times just to get to the top
I was the first one on the slide haha. Guess I'm still a kid in this way.

View from the top
 The interesting thing about this slide is that it has rollers. So the ride down is, shall we say, bumpy? And it's 50 m, so it lasts for quite long. And it's extremely narrow, I barely fit in into it. Definitely for little kids, although I did see two adult tourists go down (all the while taking videos).


And for some reason, we didn't go down as fast as we imagined. In fact, it's very easy to stop. Perhaps we were too big after all.

RAINBOW

On the trip home, we saw the most awesome thing - A RAINBOW :D


It was drizzling a little as the ferry left the terminal, and when we looked up, we suddenly saw a rainbow! The bro was all for searching for pots of gold (Buried treasure according to Turkka, and Pearls and Abalone, according to my hypothesis). We even had two spots to search in, because we could see the entire rainbow. 


 By the way, even though we spent almost the whole day at Sakurajima, we still couldn't finish touring the entire island. I still need to come back (plus, there's the night tour, which was not available when we went).