Most of my spring break was spent sitting around in the LL classroom thinking about all the work I could actually be doing at home. Students were out and my beginning lessons for the year were planned. James had moved in so I looked forward to going home to him everyday, but I had to get out of Fukuoka even just for a weekend.
James had the great idea to drive down to Miyazaki prefecture, which is located southeast on the island of Kyūshū. We took a route avoiding the toll roads, making our trip 6.5 hours instead of 3.5 hours. In Japan, toll roads are ridiculously expensive, especially going to a different prefecture. You might as well take the bullet train! Although it was a long drive, the sceneries were beautiful. It is definitely something to experience while in Japan.
On the way to Miyazaki, we went through Kumamoto prefecture and Oita prefecture. There were so many places we wanted to stop but Miyazaki was calling, so we saved it for another time.
Florante Miyazaki: Beautiful flowers
HareBare and bars: Tasting and drinking local
The second morning, we were a little hungover but we continued on with our plans to go to Aoshima. Once we got to Aoshima, there was a guy waving a parking sign so we parked behind his gift store. The woman in the store gave us a ticket in exchange for the car keys. Parking was 500yen or free if you spend 3,000yen in the gift store.
We were skeptical about giving our car keys to the woman、but all turned out well.
First, we walked around Aoshima Island. The 20 minutes walk around the island turned into 45 minutes of exploring.
You can take a little tuktuk around the island if you’d like!
Aoshima is home to Aoshima Shrine. A couple was getting married when we went.
You can find natural rock formations called the devil’s washboard all around the island.
After walking around the island, we laid out on the beach and ate some mango ice cream.
Once James started to feel the burn, we got up to get lunch and head off to the zoo.
Miyazaki Phoenix Zoo
After the zoo, we went out to eat and called it an early night. We were heading back to Fukuoka the next day.
The next morning, we checked out of our hotel. We drove no more than 5 minutes before we discovered a local farmer’s market. There, we bought lunch for the road.
On the way home, we stopped by a beach cafe and had a drink while watching some people surf.
Overall Impression of Miyazaki:
It was great being surrounded by blue skies and palm trees rather than mountains or tall buildings. Miyazaki didn’t feel like the Japan I ever knew. It was nice smelling the ocean again and feeling the sun on my skin. Most of all, I’m glad I could travel with James again.