KAGOSHIMA, NAGASAKI, YUFUIN
We had (again) wonderful time in Japan, as l kept saying there, l love Japan, everything works like clockwork, its clean, safe and friendly.
Kuyshu Island has loads to offer and l think many Japanese use it as holiday destination, especially Yufuin area.
Kagoshima and the volcanic island Sakurijama very interesting, as the volcano is active daily, one can follow it at the Sakurajima visitor centre.
One of the high lights of our tour was the Kinzangura ex-gold mine shochu brewery. We all really enjoyed it very much. Without the guide it would not have been as enjoyable because everything was in Japanese and the tour in the “cellar” was in Japanese, so he translated the main points to us. The main building/reception was beautiful wooden building, with little stream and fish, very peaceful and relaxing. We used an old (renovated) mine train to the tunnel and brewery, very nice. Then back to the shop and some tasting.
On the way to Nagasaki a little stop at the Kumamoto castle, very interesting and beautiful. Arrival to Nagasaki was late afternoon, so once we got to the Peace Park we did not have time to visit the museum, but the history of the atomic bomb devastation was on the signs and boards, available in English.
Arita was a disappointment. The reason for that might be the wrong weekday to do the tour, most of the places of interest were closed, many shops were open.
Yufuin, what can l say, what an experience. Beautiful town. The journey from Tosu to Yufuin with an old fully renovated train was absolutely beautiful, through the mountains and valleys. The hotel had a pick up service between 3-5 pm, so we were picked up, no need for taxi. The hotel itself was a bit old fashioned and worn out, but very clean and friendly, the dinner and breakfast were excellent (as long as one likes Japanese food, and we do). I recommend for a real Japanese experience.
So to put that short, Kyushu would be a good destination, possibly similar programme we made. Local guide helps to get around faster and a great language help, especially places like the brewery. I cannot recommend the Japan Rail Pass value enough, excellent value.