Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Sasebo Observatories

While my sister was still here, we decided to drive around Sasebo for a day and visit the different observatories! The Sasebo99 site has a few recommended observatories (link to the English site) and we basically based our trip on that. By the way, anyone know how to embed a google map saved locations thing? I have a list of the observatories but I can't find a way to share it here...

Spot 1: 船越展望所 (Funakoshi Observatory)

To be honest this was only the first spot because I missed the turn to the second spot and this was along the path (we did plan to go there, so there's that).



It's pretty near the zoo (but not as close as spot two) so depending on when you go, you might get caught in a jam.

This was the most unimpressive of the three observatories. It's the smallest and basically just a viewing point. The car park is really close though, so that's a plus.

Took this while we were in the jam to the second observatory:


The roads here (up mountain roads, which my poor little car somehow managed to climb) basically only have one lane each. We thought we'd be stuck here for one hour plus but when the traffic attendants heard that we weren't going to the zoo, they closed off the other side of the road and let us pass!

Spot 2: 石岳展望台 (Ishidake Observatory)



This one had a tiny hike. It wouldn't be too bad if not for the fact that the ground is really uneven. Sports shoes recommended!

I am loving the sunlight in the trees. But it was a little cooler in the shade.
 The view was amazing and totally worth the little hike.



Which is good because I was telling my sister that if this isn't better than spot one, then I'd cry or something because we had to spend time in the jam + more uphill winding roads.


Took a pic of my sis!

There are actually two spots: one from where I took this picture and the viewing platform.



We both got serious Jurong Hilltop vibes and started to miss the Teppanyaki restaurant there.

According to travel website, the opening scenes for "The Last Samurai" was filmed here. I haven't seen the movie, so I have no no idea but fans may be interested in checking this out. Here's a bunch of photos from the top:


The map gives you the names of the different islands. 



and my sis helped me take this photo. 
After this was the last spot, which was a bit further away! But Google maps was quite zhun for this and even though the road is winding, you don't have to make a lot of turns at traffic stops which was a huge help for me (all the pro drivers can just ignore my ramblings)

Spot 3: 展海峰展望台 (Tenkaiho Observatory)

The last place was the nicest. For one, they had this field:


And when you've got a field, it's time to take photos:


My sister is actually standing on a path, but I think it looks quite like she's in the middle of the field.

this was the path

hi!
We even managed to get a shot that looked like the one on the website:


We also found this song!


And I suppose this is the conductor.


More photos. This spot is supposed to have really good views of the sunset, but we were there too early and didn't feel like hanging around.




There was also an uncle selling tulip ice-cream! It's basically just kakigoori but since the weather was quite warm (felt like 19/20 degrees which was fantastic) we each got a cone.




Also, this place has the cheapest oysters that I've ever seen! It's 500 yen for 1kg. Makes the oyster huts in Itoshima seem overpriced.




My sister doesn't really eat oysters (she tried one and was not impressed) so I ate like 5 and we gave the rest to the family next to us. They gave us onigiri in exchange and we agreed that it was a good trade because my sis and I like onigiri.

Sakura update:

I went back to Tenkaiho Observatory last week when my friends were over. The oyster place seems to have closed, but we did spot a large sakura tree!


It faces the field, not the 99 islands but it's still beautiful! We also spotted these flowers next to the sakura tree (not sure if they're a variant or not)


You'll need a car to get to all of these, but if you're in the mood for a leisurely drive and you happen to like looking at islands (and the views really are beautiful), you should consider doing a day trip to these three places. You can probably add in Yumihari Observatory (which we didn't visit because it involved a detour) and still have plenty of time, since we finished going to all three places in about four or five hours.