My awesome trip covering hot springs and a shopping spree in Kyushu : Part 2

This is a blog on my 3 days 2 nights trip to Kyushu written by Japanese living in Shanghai. I relaxed in Oita, visited a stylish multi-brand store that is popular among the locals and drove back to Saga Prefecture.

This is a sequel of ‘From Shanghai to Kyushu! My awesome trip covering hot springs and a shopping spree Part 1’.

Kyushu Trip Day 2

The morning at Ukenokuchi Onsen hot spring

I left Shinseikan a little earlier than usual.

It was at the end of October, but I could already see some autumn foliage there.

What a beautiful morning light!

It was only 9.30am, but surprisingly there were so many day visitors to this hot spring. How popular this is!

I suppose it has the perfect reason for it to become so popular when it’s surrounded by the famous route called ‘Yamanami Highway’. It’s easily accessed and that makes it ideal.

I was soaking up such beautiful and fall-like scenery.

Someone recommended me to go see a bridge called ‘Kokonoe Yume Ootsurihashi’. It’s becoming fairly famous these days, but I found out that it required a fee to go over the bridge!

So, I just enjoyed the view of the bridge instead...

The drive in Oita still continues...

To all the way to Hita area through this mountain road...vroom vroom...

It was so perfect to drive along the highway...with a sunny blue sky and no cars around.

I got to the next destination before lunchtime!

Visit to Onta Village in Nagasaki!

Nagasaki’s traditional porcelain ware, Onta yaki, is produced in this village. I wanted to visit here last time, but I couldn't’ make it.

All potteries here produce Onta ware, but each one slightly differs from one another. So, it was interesting visiting each pottery.

I spotted Karausu (wooden mortars) everywhere in the village, which is used to pound clay utilizing water canals.

Apparently, the unique sound of this Karausu, a thumping/pounding echo, is designated as one of the top 100 soundscapes of Japan.

This is the workshop. You’ll also see climbing kilns throughout the village, and this is a great reminder that you are visiting a genuine ‘paradise of potteries’.

I loved Hasami last time, but this is lovely as well...

This mountain is called ‘Sara-yama’, literally means ‘plate-mountain’ twist at all!

They have the distinct pattern called Tobikanna.

These days, you often see Onta yaki in a stylish Japanese multi-brand store, and now I totally admit that this is Onta’s folklore art pottery when I actually saw how this village works. Onta yaki is sophisticated yet casual with affordable prices.

I ended up buying some containers and plates for my regular use.

Ah, it was wonderful! I’m so satisfied and glad that I made it. There was no one at each pottery, but there was a buzzer for assistance when you need it. In other words, it’s totally up to visitors’ conscience. I thought this was so typical of Japanese people being vulnerable and trusting.

Feeling great, I headed south to Ukiha City next.

Multi-brand store, ‘Budou no tane’

The next stop was another multi-brand store, Budou no tane, which I had looked up in advance. They have a great taste with main selections of tableware. There are several multi-brand stores including a café and gallery on the hilly premises standing in the middle of a persimmon farm. Many local visitors were there as well.

It was busy lunchtime, and I had to wait for one hour to get a table on the terrace of the café.

I was happy to wait around though, because I could just wander around inside the store.

This is a store with a collection of foods.

Mostly, they had a selection of tableware created by younger artists. Their selection might not be that exciting for some Japanese people who love modern tableware. However, on the other hand, it could be ideal for first time visitors from overseas, because of a good collection of typical and fashionable tableware.

Finally, I got to have lunch after one hour wait!

I ate Yakuzen curry, a curry dish based on traditional Chinese herbal remedies. I had to choose something a bit more stylish on this occasion for a change.

Ah, it was so relaxing and successful with my souvenir shopping! Awesome!

Last shopping stop at AEON in Saga

When I got off at Saga-Yamato Interchange...

I spotted AEON! It was unexpected, and I was happy to shop there.

I bought some cling wrap, warm socks and other stuff I use everyday. Nowhere else beats AEON’s prices...

Stayed in a Business Hotel in front of Saga stay.

I was there just for 2 days, but my luggage was 20kg more than before from all the stuff that I bought.

I returned the car at Saga Station and carried my entire luggage to a business hotel near the station for a night stay.

Dobin-mushi at a sushi restaurant for dinner! (dashi based broth in a special dobin pot; with aromatic matsutake mushroom and some meat, seafood and vegetables)

I also enjoyed rolled sushi and some other dishes.

In my previous visit to Kyushu, I tried too hard to travel around everywhere, which ended up spending too much time on driving. Unfortunately, I couldn’t relax at all. So, this time, it was very enjoyable after carefully planning where to go and what to do.

Anyway, I can’t think when was the last time that I did this much of shopping.

My suitcases became so much heavier and were not easy to carry around. I took a bus to get to Saga Airport next day.

It was 33kg, which was 8kg more than my allowance, and I had to pay an excess luggage charge.

At the airport, I got to relax eating a chocolate parfait while watching the Boeing aircraft that I was about to get on.

The flight was only 1½hrs long, so I was back to Shanghai in no time after a canned beer and a quick nap on the plane. Kyushu was so close and great to visit.

On my next blog, I’ll show you what I bought during the trip.

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Written by kussy

I have worked in Tokyo for more than ten years. I live in Shanghai from the summer of 2015.