Aoshima Island, Miyazaki Prefecture

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Aoshima Island, Miyazaki Prefecture

We hopped on the bus in Takachiho around 7:00pm that Thursday night, our second to last day in Kyushu. This time, the journey back to the Nobeoka train station wasn't as bad, partly because we knew what to expect, so we were mentally prepared and also because there was less traffic on the roads at that hour. Soon enough we were at the station, riffling through the stocks at New Days Convenience Store. We needed dinner as we'd opted to take the local train back to Miyazaki. It would be an hour and a half train ride and we'd be sure to get hungry during that time. The train was mostly empty and we all started to suffer from cabin fever and boredom. The itinerary varied as we passed station after station; it included games of 'I spy', general chatting about topics, snacking, napping, selfies and practical jokes on each other. We got back to Miyazaki around 10:00pm and did some light packing in preparation for our return to Tokyo.

[caption id="attachment_60320" align="alignnone" width="625"]IMG_1316 What to do on another long train ride?[/caption]

Our flight didn't leave until 1:00pm the next day so we decided to head to Aoshima. It's a small island located in Miyazaki Prefecture. The island is connected by Yayoi Bridge to Kyushu Island's beach as well. There have been over two hundred kinds of plants discovered on this island. It's famous as one of the northernmost areas for subtropical plants in the Northern Hemisphere and is specified as a special natural monument of the country.

After checking out of the hotel, we endured at fifteen minute walk/run in the pouring rain (only one of us had been smart enough to bring an umbrella, while the rest of us refused to buy new ones) to the station. I was absolutely soaked when I got there, so was my backpack of travel gear! In any case, we still took a local train to Aoshima Station and thirty minutes later when we'd arrived at our stop, our shoes and socks were partly dry. It was still pouring outside and we all huddled under one umbrella while we sought the crossover bridge to the island. The first sign that heralded a tourist trap was the giant, orange gate. It meant that we would soon arrive at the Aoshima Shrine which around seventy million tourists per year come to visit.

[caption id="attachment_60321" align="alignnone" width="625"]IMG_1330 Sighting of Aoshima Gate[/caption]

We stopped at the 'torii' gate of Aoshima Shrine although it was raining to take some photos. A torii is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine. It symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred. Even though it was cloudy and dismal the gate was still a sight to see and looking at it, I did feel my spirit stirring. It felt like something I'd seen in a Japanese anime at the crescendo of a highly emotional struggle or at the genesis of a heated mental and physical battle scene. It was a solitary and simple structure but still dominating, a gate yet one that didn't prevent ingress or egress, something that looked ancient and felt alive because of the many things it could have possibly witnessed and experienced over the years, something that had stood strong regardless of natural forces and the passage of time.

[caption id="attachment_60322" align="alignnone" width="345"]Aoshima Gate on a sunny day Aoshima Gate on a sunny day[/caption]
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Hair Monster

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I'm like a chihuahua. Small but fierce and full of energy. I'm generally a positive person and try to make the best of each day.

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