Highlights Include: Started our day in total beauty, drove 2.5 hrs to Oita Prefecture for an amazing hike on Mt Yufu, Jill got some vertigo and was unable to continue to the very tippy top, we stopped for lunch at "the saddle" of the mountain, illegal onsen in Yufuin, beautiful overlook where we will spend the night after we had a weird dinner of things we're trying to finish up
Highlights Include: Really long day back up north and it's cold! Super rainy day for our Takachiho Gorge adventure, drove 3 hours and sat in the van waiting out the rain, once it stopped we walked along the short trail along the gorge, a bit disappointed mixed with a bit of enjoyment of the gorge itself, stopped by a campground that was too expensive for us but the couple who ran it were so nice, stopped by a local farmer's market for some half-priced bento boxes, we ended our day at another campground and Jill had a bad attitude, a walk around the grounds led to better feelings and some gorgeous views.
Highlights Include: Made a lovely sweet potato and egg breakfast on the beach, a few hours drive north to the start of another Kyushu Olle trail (this one with much better results), Zac fed an onigiri to a stray cat we found at the wrong train station, gorgeous walk along the river and through the woods - waterfall viewing, shrine sightings, bamboo, headed further into the mountains for the night, our first night paying for camping in an open field surrounded by mountains and volcanoes and an onsen on the campground property. Headed to bed early so we could rise early and get the hell on the road!
Highlights Include: Woke early from our beautiful campsite and went for a quick walk around the "park area", Zac found a radio tower, long multi hour drive past Sakurajima volcano down to Ibusuki area and started and quickly stopped walking one of the Kyushu Olle trails (hint: we didn't like it at all), one highlight of the walk was the sign indicating to be careful of the spiders, we decided to take our own path to the water and wound high up on a breaker area that prevented us from being able to continue further, visit to another Onsen - this time quite posh, technology begins to fail us, we end our day at a dilapidated disused former campground on the shores of the ocean.
Highlights Include: Amazing sleep last night - no freezing!, Drove to a parking lot to the entrance of some trails, another stop at 7-Eleven and another 4 chances to win prizes (Zac's picks won two free beers and Jill's won nothing), at the parking lot there was a totally bizarre papier mache creature, gorgeous and easy walk along a lovely river with some falls, drove further south to the Udo Jingu Shrine built into the cliffside where we each tried our hands at throwing clay biscuits into a recess of a boulder out in the sea, parked in the tsunami refuge area for sleeping tonight where we were visited by some local police investigating our documents
Highlights Include: a beautiful rainbow from the bathroom, Jill was manic/obsessed with washing her hair (it had been five days after all!), we visited an onsen town to get an all important bath and hair washing, after some goldilocks moments we finally settled on a small bath at the end of town, stocked up on food at 7-Eleven! which allowed us to take part in their drawing for overstock items, visit to the Nationally designated historic treasure, Usuki Stone Buddha, Jill's trying to tamp down irrational fears of earthquakes and tsunamis and strangers doing us harm. It’s also warm enough to not freeze tonight!
Highlights Include: Set out to do a 5-6 hr hike but turned it into 1.5 hrs due to some wrong turns. Walked through the windy marsh. Then drove to Oike Pond to get some fresh spring water straight from the earth. Beautiful walk in the woods to a lovely waterfall in the wind and light rain. Notable tree on the walk. Laundry in an onsen town where Zac was able to onsen while laundry was being done. Zac was yelled at by two older ladies in kimonos to move the van. Same camping place as the previous night. No freezing!
Highlights Include: Mixed bag of a day, Zac joined a group of friends on a great hike up the mountains in Aso Kuju National Park, Jill went for a little walk on her own instead and had a taste of gravel as she face planted in front of a group of Japanese hikers, an onsen visit to soothe sore muscles and get clean.
We absolutely loved our stay at WeBase Hakata in Fukuoka City, Japan. The team working there is so nice and they create such a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The design of the hostel is right up our alley and we felt right at home instantly. Perhaps that feeling is owed to the giant cat that graces the front of the hostel. Then again, it’s just really a great place to stay.