Kyushu Winter Vacation 2012

For my winter vacation 2012 I decided to visit Kyushu again.

I went to many places in 11 days. Among them were: Nakatsu and Yufuin (in Oita Prefecture), Takachiho, Nobeoka and Miyazaki (in Miyazaki Prefecture), Yakushima (in Kagoshima Prefecture) as well as Gunkanjima, Omura, Hirado and Shimabara (in Nagasaki Prefecture).
Previously I’ve already been to many other places in Kyushu, so this time I wanted to visit places I’ve not been to yet. And I also went back to Kyushu many times after that. The most recent visit was in December 2017 (Miyazaki Prefecture).

Kyushu winter vacation: Yufuin in Oita Prefecture Kyushu winter vacation: Yufuin in Oita Prefecture

Shopping and relaxing in Yufuin. It was super cold. Luckily Yufuin in a onsen town, so you can soak in a hot spa to warm up any time!

Kyushu winter vacation: Takachiho

One of my personal highlights was definitely Takachiho!
I went there on December 31st, so there were a lot of people!
I also took a boat tour for 1500 yen. At first I thought it’s a waste of money and boring alone, but it was totally worth it and a lot of fun.

Kyushu winter vacation: Takachiho

Power spot: Pile stones to get lots of power for this year! I did it, too!

Kyushu winter vacation: Kagura dance in Takachiho Shrine

And one of the absolute highlights: Kagura dance at night at Takachiho Shrine!
I took many videos. You can see some of them on my Youtube channel.

Kyushu winter vacation: Imayama Shrine in Nobeoka

On January 1st I left Takachiho. Next I went to a shrine on a hill (Imayama) in Nobeoka City with a huge statue. If you touch its feet, you’ll be blessed with good fortune.

Kyushu winter vacation: Aoshima in Miyazaki

After Nobeoka, I went to Miyazaki City from where I took a bus to my next destination: Aoshima, a very small island in Miyazaki that can be accessed via a small bridge. It’s famous for Aoshima Shrine and the demon’s washboard.

Kyushu winter vacation: Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Another highlight for me was Udo Shrine, which can be reached with the same bus as Aoshima. It’s all along the beautiful Nichinan Coast, so you can easily visit it all in one day. The actual shrine building is inside a cave and the ocean view from there is stunning.

Kyushu winter vacation: Moai in Miyazaki

My last destination of that day were the Moai at Sunmesse Park, also in Miyazaki.


I left Miyazaki Prefecture to take a ferry to famous Yakushima. Don’t be fooled by this photo, the weather was absolutely horrible!
First of all, the weather changed every few minutes and my first driving experience was in the middle of a typhoon with super high waves, extremely strong rain and whatnot!
There was also lots of snow and it was super cold. Crazy, but beautiful island!

Kyushu winter vacation: Yakushima

Most of the time the weather looked like this!

At least I got to see so many rainbows thanks to the super crazy weather :)

Kyushu winter vacation: Yakushima

There are many smaller and bigger waterfalls on Yakushima.

Kyushu winter vacation: Yakushima

Of course, I also went to Yakusugi Land and Shiratani, but only the short walking courses were easily accessible, because the other routes just had far too much snow!

Kyushu winter vacation: Yakushima

I also went to the “Princess Mononoke” forest (the forest that inspired Hayao Miyazaki).

Kyushu winter vacation: Gunkanjima in Nagasaki

Back from Yakushima I went to Nagasaki to visit yet another small island: Gunkanjima (also known as: Battleship Island).

Kyushu winter vacation: Gunkanjima in Nagasaki

It’s an uninhabited island. Until 1974 up to 5000 people lived there, working at a coal mine, but when the demand changed to oil, business didn’t go too well, so all the people left the island rather quickly.
Since then the island has been exposed to typhoons and tsunamis and so the buildings there slowly fall apart.

Kyushu winter vacation: Gunkanjima in Nagasaki

That’s why until recently you were not allowed to even access the island. Now it’s possible again, but only to certain areas and only with a tour guide (Japanese only)! This island was actually a shooting location for the James Bond movie “Skyfall”.

Kyushu winter vacation: Hirado in Nagasaki Kyushu winter vacation: Hirado in Nagasaki

Hirado in Nagasaki: the only place where you can see a traditional Japanese temple with a Christian church in the background! It’s a very popular motive for postcards.

Chanpon in Nagasaki

While in Nagasaki I ate a lot of “chanpon” (ちゃんぽん) and “sara udon” (皿うどん). I love “chanpon” so much that I eat it even outside of Kyushu, but it tastes best in Nagasaki – if you ask me.

Kyushu winter vacation: Anjin Miura's grave in Hirado, Nagasaki

In Hirado I also visited the grave of “Anjin Miura” – or “William Adams” which is his original name. Some of you might know him better from the drama series “Shogun” with Richard Chamberlain??! (note: the movie doesn’t match with the real story!)
I’ve been a huge fan of Anjin and so it was such an honor to be able to visit his grave!

Kyushu winter vacation: Shimabara Castle

I got to see a lot of awesome castles again! I think by now I’ve been to over 60 Japanese castles.

In the picture above you see Shimabara Castle (Nagasaki).

Kyushu winter vacation: Yakushima

I also came across a lot of cute and funny things again.

Kyushu winter vacation: Mt. Unzen in Shimabara

I visited yet another active volcano in Japan: Mt. Unzen in Shimabara City!

Kyushu winter vacation: Mt. Unzen in Shimabara, the hells, hot springs

And when there’s a volcano, hot springs are not far!
The “hells” of Unzen are not as great as the ones of Beppu (I visited them in winter 2009 – will post about it in the future, too!), but have a sad history.
When Christianity was forbidden in Japan again, they dragged all Christians to the “hells” and tortured them there, finally throwing them into the boiling hot water of the hot springs if they refused to throw away their faith … :(

And there you go.
This was a super brief review of my winter vacation, I hope you enjoyed it nevertheless.
Despite the horrible weather it was a really nice vacation. I met a lot of interesting people and saw so many beautiful things again.
Too bad it’s already over. :(

Thanks for reading!~


  • Oh, thanks for finding time still to post about your vacation. I know you’re too busy with so many things right now. I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy your full posts about your travel later on as much as I enjoy reading this preview. Nagasaki is a to-go place on my list. The boat ride under the waterfalls in Takachiho looks fun. The view in Miyazaki is amazing!

  • Welcome back! :D I kinda miss your entries since they’re always something that I look forward to (aside from manga and anime XD) when browsing the internet so glad to hear from you again. :shiawase:

    Anyways, you seemed to have a rather exciting and interesting vacation with all those beautiful places you’ve been. I’m looking forward to see the rest of your winter vacation with much thrill. :kyah:

    Happy New Year~! :D

  • I truly enjoyed this post, as I do all of them, really, but I am fond of Kyushu and Yakushima. I remember Yufuin well, and its myriad shops, and Unzen “hells” [saw them in very overcast weather, though].

    I have some photos of the devil’s washboard at Aoshima, if you care to add them to your post. Let me know. Your picture of the gorge at Takachiho is breath taking. I regret I have not seen it.

    • Takachiho is often overlooked, though much better than Miyazaki City!!! Highly recommended! :heart:

      That’s so nice of you, but I guess I took too many photos of the washboard(s) anyways, so it’ll be already hard enough to choose which ones to post. :hum:

      Have you posted about your Kyushu trip yet? If so, I’d love to read about it! :happy:

  • These photos clearly illustrates why Kyushu is one of my dream places in Japan (or the World for that matter). I’ve always wanted to travel down the Miyazaki coast, and also visit Yufuin for a good onsen splurge. Takachiho is definitely a new one for me, it looks amazing there from your photos :) I can imagine a boat trip there must be awesome!! Aaah, and I can imagine champon tastes best in Nagasaki ^_^

    • Personally I beg to differ. When I say I love Kyushu I’m mainly talking about the southwestern-most parts like Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Nagasaki Prefectures! ^-^;
      Kitakyushu and Fukuoka are not THAT much different from the rest of Japan, but the ones mentioned above are … at least for me!! :satisfied:

      Takachiho is often overlooked. It’s quite a bit outside of Miyazaki City, but it’s so worth a visit!
      You’ll understand why once you’ll see the full post!! :thumbup:

      And yay, congrats for your first comment here!! :happy:

      • Hi, C! Please tell me what your definition of “professional” is. Does professional mean you shoot fashion models, or movie stars or nature for National Geographic?

        EVERYBODY compliments you on your photography and you are published, so YOU ARE PROFESSIONAL!!!

        Get it? Wakadimaska?

        • No, but a pro usually KNOWS what he/she is doing. I don’t!!
          I really just point and shoot, not thinking too much about it.
          As I take tons of photos it’s only natural that there are a few “good” photos among them. :ehehe:

          But thank you so much for believing in me!!!! :shiawase: :stars:

    • Hello!
      Thank you for your comment and compliments! :chu:

      The onsen looks awesome!! There’s a similar one at the coastline in Yakushima. However, I couldn’t use it when I was there because of the typhoon and high waves :(

      I still think it’s easier to explore Yakushima in warmer months with less snow, though. ;P

  • Very beautiful, I have not seen princess mononoke, but I will do it soon :ehehe:
    I love japanese castles :thumbup:
    by the way, you have very good photographic skills :fan:

    • I love Japanese castles, too!! :hearts:
      I really hope I can update my list and post it here soon!
      There are so many awesome castles most people don’t even know about (even the Japanese!!)

      Eh? Thank you! I don’t think so myself as I really just point and shoot, though! :sweatdrop:

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