Category Archives: Miyazaki

Takachiho

Takachiho to Oita, Beppu Hot Springs

Kyushu,  as mentioned in our previous article, is one of the most beautiful prefectures in Japan. With hundreds of miles of rolling hills and glorious green countryside; having a visit to this prefecture on your Japan visit itinerary is very worthwhile.

Japan has some of the most safe and modern roads in the world. The roads in Kyushu are amongst some of the most fun to drive. One such journey to take is a trip from Takachiho, in the Miyazaki prefecture, to the North East of Kyushu; Oita-ken. The Oita prefecture is famous for its onsens. Japan is a very seismically active country and Kyushu is particularly volcanic, this therefore makes for some of the most glorious hot springs in the country.

In Takachiho, one of the spots well worth visiting is the Takachiho Shrine. There are not many hotels in the local area, but from the central town to the shrine takes only five minutes and the roads in the area are quiet and fun to navigate.  A short walk will also take you to the Takachiho Gorge, which is amongst the most beautiful spots to visit in the entire country. Not often visited by tourists because of the location, with a car this is achievable. The Gorge has an area where you will be able to hire a boat and sail alongside the river and has some of the most excellent photo opportunities.

Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Gorge

From there, a trip to Amano Iwato Shrine (882-1621; telephone: 0982-74-8239) takes approximately 15 minutes.

Amano Iwato Shrine
Amano Iwato Shrine

From Takachiho, you can visit Oita in approximately three hours. The roads – despite not being highways – are a joy to drive. Once you drive into Oita, the first port of call would be visiting The Hells (874-000); a selection of hot springs in different shapes, colours and varieties. Beppu itself is a city, so expect the roads to be busy and be on the look out for road signs, if you get lost and off the main streets in the city centre, expect a tricky trip to where you need to be.

Hells Jigoku Beppu
Hells Jigoku Beppu

One trip worth taking is just outside of Beppu, in another hot spring resort called Yufuin. Yufuin is less touristy, so the hotels are a little cheaper and better quality. A trip from Beppu to Yufuin only takes 10 minutes. With a car this is highly recommended.

At Yufuin, enjoy driving up and down the main street in the town. This is a traditional Japanese village and the shops and architecture are designed in a style of that era.  Finally, take a quick stop off at Kinrinko. The lake is famous for its morning mist, but this can only be seen prior to 11am.

Morning Mist at Kinrinko
Morning Mist at Kinrinko
Sakurajima

A tour around Kagoshima and Miyazaki

Kyushu is arguably one of Japan’s most underrated prefectures. Full of culture, history, tradition, good food and excellent roads; a trip around this beautiful part of the country is best spent at the wheel of a vehicle.

There are many flights from all over Japan into Kagoshima Airport, including a nice early 06:35 flight from Tokyo Haneda into Kagoshima. The flight takes approximately 2 hours and there is a very conveniently placed car rental store just outside the airport.

The airport itself, whilst located relatively close to the centre of Kagoshima, is not best positioned for exploring the local area. In your car you can drive (or take a boat, like we did) onto the famous Sakurajima volcano. This is a very active volcano, with eruptions almost weekly; so be careful when you decide to visit here. The most beautiful thing about Sakurajima is the fact that you can drive allt the way around it. There are beautifully crafted winding roads all the way around the mountain. Whilst you can not approach the volcano at a close distance – for very good reason – you can enjoy the scenary of the area and the beautiful lake from your car.

Sakurajima
Sakurajima

A short drive from Sakurajima should see you end up at Shiroyama Park, a very interesting tourist spot located in Kagoshima city (899-4316; telephone: 0995-46-1561). With good car parking and excellent facilities, make a morning/afternoon of it here. They have a delicious Tonkotsu Ramen shop here – delightful! There are also some interesting Japanese gardens and vegetable plants here, whilst the trees of fruit are particularly pretty.

Tonkotsu
Tonkotsu

From Kagoshima, it’s time to head into Miyazaki, the next prefecture to the East. Driving from prefecture to prefecture takes time, the best possible trip into Miyazaki takes around two hours from Kagoshima. Thankfully, the roads are comfortable and easy to drive.

Our first recommended spot on the roads is Udo-jingu (887-0101; telephone: 0987-29-1001), a gorgeous shrine located on the coast of Miyazaki.

Udojingu
Udojingu

This shrine is particularly famous for those who are not married, with many couples going here to pray for their future together. What is particularly nice is the beautiful scenery of the waves crashing against the rocks just next to the shrine.

Udojingu
Udojingu

A short drive up the coast will bring you to Aoshima in approximately 45 minutes. Aoshima is worth a visit. Despite being difficult to find a parking space – you might end up parking in a local’s garage if it’s busy, and paying 500 yen for the privilege – the walk across the sea to the island is stunning. With the traditional Japanese red gate (torii), this makes a good stop for a picture. On the island itself is an ornate shrine. From parking your car to reaching the island can take about 10 minutes – so leave enough time.

Aoshima
Aoshima

After you’ve finished at Aoshima; one option is to head into central Miyazaki. A short drive indeed, the city has a very nice shrine (Miyazaki jingu) and also many famous restaurants. The local cuisine here in Chicken Nanban, very similar to American fried chicken but much more healthy, one recommended spot for this food is “Ogura Honten”, the very first Nanban restaurant in the area (telephone: 0985-22-2296).

Chicken Nanban
Chicken Nanban