Culture and nature of Kumamoto & Shimoshima island



November 3-4, 2018

We spent only one day in Kumamoto and not even the whole one. Therefore there is not much to write from our side. Firstly, we had to find not so expensive parking which can always be a little bit difficult in bigger Japan cities. Being successful on this we could enjoy lovely paintings at free Prefectural Museum of Art nearby our parking lot. Museum’s building architecture is highly rated, but don’t ask me why. And, of course, we went to look at the famous Kumamoto castle, or at least what remained after the destructive earthquake in 2016. Reconstruction was ongoing, but that castle itself remained closed. Anyway, it was nice to hang around and lie in the park. Rest of the city is very much Japanese standard with city centre concentrated into a roofed shopping arcade.



Our next stop was Okoshiki beach with Oda station while heading south-west. Beach with a small shrine on a hill, famous mainly for sunset was quite a cool stop. Unfortunately, the famous Oda station eatery was not opened yet, or closed already? Hard to say, no timetable there. We could not find any free camping spot for the night. Therefore we went to a little island where we know about a paid campground. But in the end, we decided to sleep in our carby the deserted coast, where only a few fishermen saw us in the morning.



Shimoshima island

We could barely find any information about the island that is part of the Amakusa islands group, and we were a little bit afraid that it may be boring. But the islands kept us entertained pretty well. Just crossing the bridge surrounded by cute green little island wad good sign. We stopped at a small oceanarium despite not planning to visit it. It was relatively expensive for how it looked, and we rather saved our money for famous oceanarium in Okinawa. But there was a nice cafe with a shop where people sit under the sun while waiting for their boat trip.



We found livable cities with shrines on the island as Amakusa.  Old settlement of Christians at Sakitsu that is quite special for Japan. Both places are newly part of UNESCO world heritage sites. We relaxed at lovely empty beaches alongside the coast and saw interesting elephant like rock formation on the western part of the island. There was also enough time to soak into hot springs in Shimoda village. For the night we built a tent in a Kamejima public campground just a few hundred meters from the ferry that we had to take the day after, going to Shimabara peninsula.


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