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Day 2: March 9th

In Yakushima Island, it doesn’t rain, it pours! That is , you are either in for a continuous shower or beautiful clear skies!
Well today was “pour buckest days”!

tsuruya-busstop
(ecological bus stop!)

No worries, we had bought our “bus day tickets” (they can be bought at major hotels or tourism offices). People tend to forget this is a large island and bus fares can quickly amount to a lot at the end of a day. As an example tickets cost 2,000 yen for one day, 3,000 yen for two days and 3,000 yen for four days. A single tour (you will have to come back!) of the whole island costs almost 3,000 yen!

tsuruya-pottery

Ther are enough artists and craftsmen in this island to make it the them of a single tour.
There is one great potter we missed on our firts visit of the island, and rain or not we were going to visit it and buy some beautiful small plates and sake cups, all different and lovely!
Yakushima Yaki Shinyakugama
891-4406 Kagoshima Ken, Kumage Gun, Yakushima Cho, Hirauchi, 630-4
Tel/Fax: 0997-67-2624, 0997-47-3088 (night time)
They also organize pottery classes.
Although their HP is in Japanese do check it for a better view of their craft and photoes of their life in Yakushima Island!!

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We already knew of the place to go for lunch near Anbo Harbour (the major harbour with Miyanoura for voyages to and from Kagoshima).
Tsuruya is an excellent “minshuku/family inn” which serves exclusively local fare. Reserved for in-guests for breakfast and dinner it opens its doors to the public for lunch.

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The Missus opted for the Tempura Set Lunch featuring an unusual fish tempura, “yokowa/ a tuna variety”. Obviously tempura, like sushi or sashimi might be the same word all over Japan, but you will be surprised how many different cuisines they stand for!

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I was more interested in sashimi than cooked fish and asked for the sashimi set menu.
the sashimi featured “Akihara” (local fish), “Yokowa/local tuna variety”, “Tobiuo/Flying Fish” (local specialty) and “Tamure” (local fish): a truly gasronomic experience at ridiculous prices!
Lunches are generous, even by European/American standards.
If you add a glass of local shochu to help it down, you won’t feel hungry until late in the evening!
Incidentally, Tsuruya is a rare izakaya in the island which serves the three brew varieties by Mitake, the only truly local shochu brewery.
A special tatsing report will come later!

Then it was back in the rain and the buses.
Bus rides are leisurely enough to enjoy the landscapes (and seascapes) along the road. Big families ought to rent a car though. A whole tour of the island stretches over more than 100 km!
Yakushima island 20,000-plus population (they are apparently “recruiting” citizens!), mainly farming and fishing communities, although Miyanoura is a full-fledged “city” with high-school and even a baseball ground!

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Fortunately the rain started to let up when we reached the Yakushima Botanical Gardens.
Open all year round, it takes a good half hour to visit and discover all the plants, flowers and fruit cultivated there.
Can recognize the fruit pictured above?

torooki-falls

But don’t forget to climb its view platform from which you will dicover one of the landmarks of the island, the Tooroki Falls pourin directly into the sea!

As buses are not that many, we decided to walk back a good half of the way before boarding one, great physical exercise before taking another well-earned dip into the “rotenburo/open-air hotsprings bath” back at the hotel!

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Today (actually the day after) was the Missus’ birthday. More elaborate celebrations being planned once back in Shizuoka, we nonetheless opened a Moulin a Vent, Domaine Bonnet Vieilles Vignes, 2006, excellent enough for any kind of food (I’m cheating as it is a wine brewed near my birthplace!) while we ordered for the food:

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Assortment of grilled mushrooms.

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Pan-fried “Mizu Ika/Aori Ika=local cuttlefish variety” Salad.

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Provencal Scallops (sorry, that’s French!)

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Her-roasted oasted Kagoshima Pork.

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Veal Schnitzel with cheese coating.

We finished with (not featured, sorry!) guava sherbet for dessert.

We were tired enough to imediately back to our room and bed!

To be continued.

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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