Ibusuki & Kagoshima Trip

Chris Royer

Between Saturday and Sunday, I visited Kagoshima prefecture in Japan. The primary reason for this visit was the Ibusuki Nanohana Marathon. However, I did a variety of other things as well. I took a expressway bus from Tenjin, Fukuoka on Saturday afternoon and arrived at Kagoshima on Saturday night. I spent the night at the internet café, Cybac about a 25 minute walk from Kagoshima Chuo station. I like staying in internet cafés because they are cheap, you get your own private area (where as hostels you have to share rooms with strangers). Also, Cybac is nice because they have a large variety of free beverages, I partook in the açai blend and the apple tea. Cybac also usually has soft cream, but the particular one I took didn’t have any. We ended up waking up really early on Sunday morning (3:30 am) to catch a bus to Ibusuki for the marathon.

After the marathon, we stayed at GuestHouse Rider’s Inn Ibusuki. It was a nice, new guesthouse, but business wasn’t doing very well. There were only 2 other guests staying there at the time and so everyone made us feel like we had to be part of the community and eat meals together (not around our own schedules). The manager made us feel welcome, but he also pushed us to advertise his business almost any chance he had. There was a nice onsen (natural hot water bath) in the guest house that we could use, but the water wasn’t as hot as I would have liked. In general, I would recommend the hostel for the price, but there were a few things that bothered me.

The next day, before we left Ibusuki, we had to try the sand baths (砂ぶろ), which Ibusuki is famous for. Ibusuki is home to the Kaimondake Volcano and because of this there is natural steam exiting through the sand in the beach. So they’ve harvested the steam and made it into a therapy service where you can enjoy the naturally hot sand on your skin. This was a very pleasant experience, it was especially nice after having marathoned the day before. After being covered in sand for 20 minutes, I got to try my first time in a public Japanese Onsen (I had tried the experience before in Korea), which was also enjoyable and relaxing on my sore body. The sand baths was also at a very reasonable price: 1000円. After the sand bath and eating lunch at the guest house, we went back to Kagoshima by train.

Kagoshima is famous for shirokuma (シロクマ/literally: white bear) ice cream, so before we went back home, we wanted to try some. Traditionally shirokuma ice cream is vanilla ice cream, mixed with ice and fresh fruit. However, Sandeco Coffee (サンデココーヒー) went the extra mile and made the ice cream shaped into actual white bears. It was delicious and cute. They even have a really large version with more fruit available if you come before 4:00 (we were too late for this). After this we went back to Kagoshima station, I ate Subway for dinner and we took the bus back home to Fukuoka.

Length of trip: 3 days (Sat, Jan. 9 — Mon, Jan. 10, 2016), 2 nights.
New cities visited: Ibusuki.
Other cities visited: Kagoshima.
Prefectures visited: Kagoshima.

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