Transfer day from Beppu to Matsuyama.
We did not have any breakfast reserved at the hotel this morning but we did go to the convenience store yesterday to stack up on breakfast snacks. This gave us enough time to pack our bags and make it to the bus on time.
Of course we did a couple of stops on the way. After a 15 minute drive we arrived at Umi-Jigoku, a lovely garden with different sulfurous hot water springs.
The next halt was Usuki, a small village known for it’s 59 stone carved Buddha statues. The oldest of these are from the 14th century. Like any religious sites the place also has a big bell and since nobody was around we took the chance of ringing it and asking the spirits to please make it stop raining.
We stayed here over lunch and tried the local specialty, horse mackerel sushi, super fresh and delicious.
So this was Kyushu, we said goodbye to our busdriver and boarded the ferry for Shikoku where our next busdriver was waiting for us.
We were planning to see a 3D movie of the nuclear powerplant of this island but the cinema was closed for renovation so we hung around the information center and played with the fugu fish in the fishtank. There were holes in the tank where you could put your hands through but be carefll they got teeth.
An other 2 hour drive and we arrived at the town of Matsuyama were we would stay for 2 nights
We started this day with a visit to Matsuyama-jo, one of the castles in Japan that stood the test of time brilliantly. The castle is high on a mountain but there was a chairlift to takes us towards the top. To keep the castle in such a pristine condition you were required to take of your shoes inside and through the spy holes near the roof you had an amazing view of the city below.
We went back to the hotel by tram and prepared for the visit to Uchiko, an old country town that looks like it comes straight out of an old samurai movie and is known for it’s wax products. We also had an amazing lunch here.
Now to work of those calories from lunch we walked a part of the 1200km pilgrim route, we stopped at the foot of a mountain and walked the trail up towards the temple. We didn’t really make it entirely to the top because A. it was a heavy climb B. we didn’t know how much further it was to the top and if it was worth it. Along the way we did get to see a lot of Buddhist statues and we saw a couple of brave pilgrims walking down.
Back in Matsuyama we stopped to see one of the oldest bathhouses from Japan, it’s clear this place inspired the buildings in the movie spirited away. Also we saw a lot of people in beautiful yukata in streets near the bathhouse.
Unfortunately we couldn’t go in because we had reservations for dinner.
ShabuShabu was for dinner. This dish looks a bit like fondue, a pot with boiling water is placed on the table and then vegetables are added to make a sort of stock. each persons takes a piece of thinly cut beef and you wave it through the water to cook it. You eat the peat with 2 different dipping sauces and ofcourse you also take some of the cooked vegetables with it. Delicious.
Bellies filled we returned to the hotel for our last night in Matsuyama.