Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kagoshima, Japan

Kagoshima, Japan

This port is where the Japanese trained for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

We took a taxi ride in a very clean and new car - the door opens automatically as you approach and the driver wears white gloves and the seats are covered in white embroidery. He drove us to the center of town and we met the kindest volunteer city guide who helped us sort out the City View bus tour. There were two routes and we decided to do both as it was so extremely humid and hot. Their tourist maps have English and Korean for taxi directions and that really helped.

The active volcano of Sakurajima is just off the city and the frequent ferry service is in a paddle steamer! The volcano was very active today and we saw plumes of smoke all day long. They claim that eruptions of smoke and ash are almost as common as rain and the last major eruption was in 1914 but there were others in 1915, 1946, 1955 and 1960. They have a dolphin encounter area and nice shopping; there are several museums and gardens. We drove up the hill for a nice view of the city of 500,000 and took a street car close to the wharf and then another taxi ride.

The area is known for producing radishes, sweet potatoes and mandarins.

Kagoshima is in the Kyushu prefecture of Japan on the most southwestern of Japan‘s four main islands. Due to its close proximity to the Asian mainland the city engaged in early trading with the world. As early as the 16th century Francisco Xavier arrived here to become the first person to introduce Christianity to Japan. In the mid-19th century, spinning machines were imported from England and the first Western style spinning mills were established. At the dawn of Japan’s modern age, it was Kagoshima that produced the major heroes of the Meiji Restoration: Saigo Takamori, Okubo Toshimichi and many other talented individuals. There are hot springs and beautiful waters in the Kinko Bay and there is a very large food processing industry on the island.

Sites from the City View bus.
Statue of Young Pioneers, Ekimae Asaichi morning market, Site of Saigo House, Place where Okubo Toshimichi spent his childhood, birthplace of Saigo Takamori and Tsugu michi, statue of Komatsu Tatewaki, Pref. Museum of Natural Science, Tanshoen Garden, Kagoshima city Modern Literature Museum, Marchen Fairy Tale museum, city museum of art, Bullet holes from the Seinan Civil War

A nap (the humidity wipes you out!), two lectures, a swim, a Jacuzzi and dinner!

Photos: Golfing in the city with netting all around;
Gene by a prayer bush and standing by a temple;
the crater; Bus driver wearing white gloves;
How often do we see a person cleaning a gas pump?;
Curtains on car windows!
and Luisa by the temple