John Harvey Photo

IbusukiGo to Slide Show

The southern most tip of Kyshu (sorta)

Prev: Ebino Kogen
Yellow Lupin In Field
We arrived in Ibusuki shortly before dinner - we had already spent a long day traveling from the mountains.  We were a little unsure where our hotel was, but just as we were getting close I saw a field of yellow lupin glowing in the sunset.  I had no idea how the hotel thing was going to work out, but I needed to take that photo.

Tree Beside Hotel

Turns out the hotel was just next door - The National Park Resort Village.  This is part of a chain of hotels that were built to encourage the Japanese to explore the national parks in their countries - similar to Canada's CP Hotels now owned by the Fairmont hotel chain - some of the most exclusive hotels in Canada.  Our hotel was showed it's age, but was still a high quality place to stay and the price was very accommodating.

Four Views of Kaimon-dake

Kaimondake Behind Flowers
There are a number of smaller attractions in the Ibuski area and we were glad to have a car to help explore them all.  I had no idea our day would be dominated by a single piece of geography - Kaimon-dake - a volcanic cone that dominates the landscape.  Our first view was at the lakeside of Ikeda-ko
Lakeside View Of Kaimon-dake

This volcanic lake is vast, deep and apparently populated with giant eels.  Were weren't about to go swimming to find out, but the road side stores had large aquariums showing off the eels.  There impressive size was matched only by the lack of clarity of the tank glass.  The lake does have a nice view, but unless you particularly like roadside shopping, it will be a short stop.

Feeder FishGiant Eel

This area is a productive source of tea and there are fields at the bottom of Kaimon-dake.  I misread the map - I thought you could actually drive up to the top of Kaimon-dake and take in the sights, but it turns out that is a 2 hour hike, not road.  At the trail head we found a ski hill (I can't see this place getting more than a few days a year of snow) and a tea field.

Sakura Over Tea FieldField Of Tea Leaves

Not being able to climb the mountain, we decided to try and circumnavigate it.  The car computer listed a road so we struck off.  We though we saw a beach access when we happened upon a Monument to Dead and Missing in the Philippines.

Kaimon-dakeAnd LanternsStatue With View To The Philippines
We checked our guidebooks and nothing was mentioned.  While the area is very well maintained, there is no store selling things or even a shrine.  The large bell sounds out in memory.

Bell On Beach

Eric On The Beach
The area was quite sombre but beautiful.  There is a beach access with an pretty much real beach - real sand, real volcanic rocks and (other than the retaining wall) no concrete.  There were a few families on the grass having lunch and taking in the view.

Lighthouse At Nagasaki-banaWorst Path Ever
We continued out circle route and found our way to Nagasaki-bana - the southern most tip of this side of Kyushu (the eastern side is actually a little further south).  There is a small electronic light house here and a number of stores selling things including lacquered sea turtles (we were not impressed).  We wanted to buy an ice creme (this was the hottest time of the day), but couldn't support any store selling these grotesque wall hangings - we wound up finding a little store that sold fresh local fruit (again, surprisingly cheap) and ice creme from a freezer.  A first time ever for me - the woman couldn't break a 5000 yen note.

Kaimon-dakeFrom Nagasaki-bana

The Sand Baths at Ibuski
Surigahama beach has one of the few natural sand baths in Japan.  This sand bath is designed to handle a lot of people, but because it was fairly early in the season the staff were pretty calm with us foreigners.  As far as I can tell, the sand has been blocked into large bed fitting 16 people.  The beds are washed with hot water (spring water) and probably sit for a while before we got into them.

Flooded PoolPreparing Pools
The staff first dig you an indentation in the sand and then help you get in and well placed.  They wrap your towel around the back of your head so you don't burn and then quickly they bury you in sand.  Depending on the temperature of the day, they recommend a maximum time for your stay - in our case 20 minutes.

Getting Into Sand BathGetting Head WrappedEric Getting Buried
In the first few minutes your whole body throbs with your pulse but it really isn't an unpleasant experience.  As you settle down, you become very calm and relaxed.  You sweat into your yukata which increases the sands heat and eventually you get too warm to stay in so you break out and are reminded just how cruel it is to fight against gravity and keep yourself warm.

Us Buried In The Sand

Well relaxed and nearing the end of the day, we drove back toward the hotel.  A chance long range glimpse on the GPS showed a road traveling up the huge hunk of rock (Uomidake) behind our hotel.  We gave it a go and were rewarded with 360° views of the area while the sun set over the horizon. 

Three Palms View Of ChiringasimaEric Mark And Gabi At Lookout

We watched the eagles play on the updrafts, took in the view of Chiringashima (the island connected with a thin spit of sand that is buried by the tide) and tried to pick out buildings we had seen in Ibuski.  Eventually our dinner plans got the better of us and we returned to the hotel.

Next: Sakurajima

Kaimon-dakeFrom Nagasaki-bana
Location: Go To...
Tags: Japan, mountain
Worst Path Ever
Tags: beach, Japan, trail
Eric Mark And Gabi At Lookout
Person: Eric, Gabi, Mark
Location: Go To...
Bell On Beach
Tags: bell, Japan, temple
Preparing Pools
Tags: hot spring, Japan
Sakura Over Tea Field
Tags: cherry blossoms, field, Japan
Eric On The Beach
Person: Eric
Lakeside View Of Kaimon-dake
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge, flowers, garden, Japan, mountain
Three Palms View Of Chiringasima
Tags: Japan, palm, vista
Flooded Pool
Tags: beach, hot spring, Japan
Kaimondake Behind Flowers
Tags: bridge, flowers, garden, mountain
Yellow Lupin In Field
Tags: field, flower, Japan
Us Buried In The Sand
Person: Eric, Gabi, John, Mark
Tags: hot spring, Japan
Giant Eel
Tags: fish, Japan
Eric Getting Buried
Person: Eric, Mark
Tags: hot spring, Japan
Getting Into Sand Bath
Tags: hot spring, Japan
Getting Head Wrapped
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Statue With View To The Philippines
Tags: beach, Japan, statue
Feeder Fish
Tags: fish
Lighthouse At Nagasaki-bana
Tags: Japan, lighthouse
Field Of Tea Leaves
Tags: field
Kaimon-dakeAnd Lanterns
Tags: Japan, lantern, mountain
Tree Beside Hotel
Tags: Japan, lone tree, sunset, tree
Tags: Japan(18), hot spring(6), mountain(4), beach(3), field(3), fish(2)
People: Eric(4), Mark(3), Gabi(2), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Third Trip to Japan > Ibusuki

Hello everyone, Interesting area and nice website, thanks for sharing. How much is rent in town and is it easy to rent over there? I would want to look around and work until I come up with some idea to start a business. My underlying reason to come to Japan (first time) is to research the carbon fiber industry as I see interesting uses for it in the future in Europe and elsewhere. Matthew Wilhelm Piekutowski
Matthew Piekutowski
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at 14:08:18

wow..what a wonderful picture it makes me miss japan so much... ibusuki, a place that i will never forget in my life.. wish that i could be there again someday....
Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 19:31:28

Hello, beautiful pictures. What month of the year did you visit Ibusuki, please? Many thanks, Hugh.
Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 14:06:59

March 30th and 31st.
John Harvey
Saturday, October 17th, 2009 at 23:57:55

Wonderful photos and description. I love yellow lupines. Here in Nova Scotia, ours are white, pink, violet, and blue. I have not seen yellow ones before.
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 06:45:02

Hello John, I'm planning to visit Ibusuki/sakurajima with my family and I found your page by chance. Wonderful photos! I'm a Japanese live in Europe and I was searching what my husband and child would be interested. Your pictures and descriptions helped me a lot, thank you so much :)
Sunday, October 2nd, 2011 at 11:29:58

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