Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 3 - Day 15. Exploring Kagoshima

The breakfast set at Pronto was nice enough yesterday so we returned again today.

Our plan for today was to visit Sangan-en, a traditional Japanese garden and stately home. It was quite far away so we caught a tram to the port area.

Some areas of tram track in Kagoshima are surrounded by grass, especially around the tram stops.

You don't need to worry about buying a ticket before you get on, just enter the tram using the middle door.

There's a flat fare of ¥170 (£1.14) which you pay in the machine behind the driver as you exit through the door at the front.

A driving range to practise your golf swing, I spotted these numerous times throughout Japan. 

Iso Beach sits directly opposite Sakurajima, it's usually a popular spot for windsurfing but today it was deserted.

Just past Iso beach we arrived at Sengan-en, it cost ¥1600 (£10.70) to enter, this price included a tour of the house with a tea ceremony.

Bikkle, a delicious yogurt based drink.

Having looked around the stunning Japanese gardens we went on a tour around the House. The house was used as a second residence by successive generations of the Shimadzu family. The tour was in Japanese but whilst we waited for it to start one of the guides who spoke English gave us a brief summery of the house and the family who had lived here.

At the end of the tour we enjoyed a tea ceremony.

We were served some matcha green tea and a Japanese sweet on a stick. 

The house surrounded a courtyard with a large pond containing koi carp.

Outside the house we discovered more ponds filled with fish, you could buy fish food from a nearby vending machine and feed them.

Boss "Coffee of the working people" are celebrating their 25th year anniversary. In need of a pick me up I decided to join in the celebrations and was rewarded with a much needed boost.

Just as well I was feeling more awake as there was a hiking trail behind Sengan-en and we we wanted to see the view from the top.

From the top we could see Iso beach down below and Kagoshima port in the distance with a ferry bound for Sakurajima.

Being the largest producer of sweet potatoes in Japan, Kagoshima is the land of sweet potatoes. With this in mind I couldn't resist trying a purple sweet potato ice cream, a mild but creamy flavour that isn't too sweet.

Our time at Sengan-en was over but on the way out I noticed this hose pipe. A very pleasing sight indeed and a good example of how the Japanese take pride in their work.

For lunch we were torn between buying a picnic from 7 Eleven to eat on the beach or eating at Joyfull. Having checked both places out though we realised it would cost about the same to do either so we chose Joyfull.

Joyfull is a nationwide chain with over 700 restaurants across Japan. Inside there are booths, background musac and picture menus, many are open 24 hours. It reminded us a bit of a Little Chef but with such cheap prices we decided to give it a go. A beer here cost just ¥430 (£2.90) and was served with a polite reminder not to drive when leaving the restaurant.

I chose a set menu meal costing a mere ¥711 (£4.70) and it was remarkably good.

It included miso soup

A bowl of rice

A few pickles

Deep fried chicken with teriyaki sauce served with shredded cabbage and tartare sauce. So a thoroughly enjoyable meal served with an ice cold beer for just ¥1141 (£7.55), bargain!

Back in the city we spotted a stack of volcanic ash bagged up at a collection point.

What an incredible payphone! It was in the foyer of Kagoshima City Museum of Art.

We paid just ¥300 (£2.27) to view the permanent exhibition upstairs, it featured work by Monet, Picasso, Dali and Warhol. A large gallery space, peaceful environment and excellent selection of work on display makes it well worth visiting.

Outside the museum koi carp were swimming in the narrow waterway which surrounded it.

We returned to the old area we'd visited last night wondering if something may now be open there, pretty much deserted though.

I did find a can of melon flavour jelly drink nearby though, not bad at all but I preferred the grape and white soda flavours.

This screen in a shopping mall entertained us for a good ten minutes.

With the sun about to set we sat on the banks of the Kotsuki River and toasted our time here with a can of Sapporo.

With just under a week left in Japan we tried not to think about returning to reality just yet. Instead we focused on our next destination which was Nagoya, we wondered what life in a Ryokan would be like.

We'd been out all day so decided to eat back at the hotel, stopping first at a supermarket to pick up some supplies.

I'd lost count of how many bento boxes I'd eaten over the past two weeks. One things for sure though, they always tasted great and this one was no exception.

Black Thunder cost just ¥50 (33p), a cocoa flavoured cookie bar mixed with rice puffs and coated with chocolate.

These chocolate biscuits with the ships on were rather nice and cost just ¥100 (66p) for a pack of 12.

Click here for Day 16
A Ryokan in Nagoya


  1. Wow, Loving the prices - I always though Japan was soon expensive - more of a reason to get my self there - Zena / Love Norwich Food

    1. Do it Zena, you’ll love Japan! I thought I’d include prices in the blog posts to show how affordable it can be. It’s far cheaper than you’d expect.