Thursday, January 3, 2019

Fukashima, a cats island in Oita, a prefecture in the eastern part of Kyushu

There are so-called “cats islands” around Japan. One of them is in Oita Prefecture in the eastern Kyushu and its name is Fukashima. On this small island, about 4 kilometers around and with about 20 residents, there are about 100 cats, and each cat is given his/her name. It will be nice to spend a holiday on Fukashima, where there are no vending machines or convenience stores. There is one small restaurant which is run by a young couple, Fukashima Shokudo. This island is about 8 kilometers off a town called Kamae in the southern part of Oita Prefecture. There is a regular boat service between Kamae and Fukashima three times a day and it takes about 30 minutes.
This cat lives at the port
This cat also lives at the port

At the Fukashima Shokudo restaurant
They gather as you give food
Fukashima Shokudo Menu
Fukashima Shokudo Lunch

Fukashima Map

Tropical fish at the port

Coral at the port

View from Fukashima Shokudo

Oita on Foot

Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Murasaki" (purple) Dyeing Workshop on November 23, 2017

I participated in a "murasaki" dyeing workshop which was held in Taketa on November 23, 2017. "Murasaki", which means purple, is also a Japanese name of a herb called purple gromwell. In "murasaki" dyeing, roots of "murasaki" roots are used.
Murasaki roots

Chopped murasaki roots in a bag are squeezed

Murasaki dye 

We started dyeing at about 9:40 in the morning, and took almost a whole day

We repeated dipping in the dye for five times

In the morning, we dyed twice and dried

Lunch prepared by the workshop staff

During the lunch break, we visited "murasaki" greenhouse

"Murasaki" purple gromwell

Ready to start the afternoon work

The color gets deeper as we repeat the dye process

Our finished work hung for drying

Workshop participants with their finished work with some of the staff

Tour in Aso City on November 11 and 12, 2017

Mt. Aso area is about three hours drive from Beppu. On November 11, we went to Aso City through Taketa City and on the route 57. It was a beautiful autumn day. We stayed at a traditional Japanese inn called Sozan-kyo. This inn had damage by the last year's earthquake and had to close the business for some time but it was reopened.
 Aburaya Kumahachi (front), an early 20th century entrepreneur from Beppu, in Aso

Famous "Kumamon" in our inn

Colored maple tree in the inn garden

Sozan-kyo Entrance

View of Aso Valley

Land slide(right) that destroyed Aso Bridge

The road which used to lead to the large Aso Bridge 

The new bridge which was completed recently

Source of the Shirakawa River

"Takamori Dengaku Hozonkai" restaurant, where we had lunch

Our "dengaku" lunch cooked in a traditional style

Aso Shrine's Ginkgo tree

Beppu Goe-hike Held on November 5, 2017

I joined a Beppu geo-hike held by Beppu Onsen Geo-museum on November 5, 2017. This day's course was from the Ogura area down to the Kannawa area and it took about two hours. As to Beppu Onsen Geo-museum and geo-hikes, please refer to my previous article. Click here to see the course map (in Japanese).

Here are some of the photos from this course.

Hot spring pond in the back yard of a hotel

Another hot spring pond we passed by

View of Beppu along the course

Hot spring source we saw along the way

Mt. Tsurumi, Mt. Ogiyama, and hot spring steam fumes

City-owned Public Bath House "Teruyu"

Another View of Mt. Tsurumi and Mt. Ogiyama

Popular Community Bath House "Okano-yu"

One of the newly-built small-scale geothermal power station

Hot spring source near the "hell tour" area

Entrance to "White Pond Hell", a popular hot spring pond for viewing

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sulfur Mountain in Beppu

About 40 minutes’ drive from the center of the city of Beppu, there is a sulfur mountain near the top of a volcano called Garandake. Specialists say that there is a magma reservoir about 10 kilometers below this mountain and that this reservoir is the heat source of hot springs in Beppu and Yufuin. Interesting! Near the sulfur mountain, there is a public hot spring bath house, Tsukahara Onsen.

Open-air Bath at Tsukahara Onsen

Eggs steamed using sulfur mountain steam

View of Beppu on the way to Garandake Volcano