Pictures made during my 2018 foot-powered traverse of Kyushu, Japan’s 3rd-largest island, from north to south.
More images from my unforgettable springtime journey on foot to the southern tip of Kyushu, Japan.
Day 9: A Private Hot-Spring, Yunohira
I was rewarded for my morning's effort with a cheap public onsen bath in this formerly-fashionable mountain hot-spring village.
Day 10: Yamazakura Study, Dawn
Boughs of a wild mountain cherry on a long descent down a deserted & misty mountain road.
Day 11: Enter a World of Pink & Cream
On my way out of Oita, a pause to admire this row of peaking sakura along a canal bank.
Day 11: Over the Wire - Escape from Oita City
Sometimes the shots just make themselves. Luckily I had my Pentax with 100mm macro lens around my neck. Soon after, I took to stashing it in my pack as two cameras dangling gets a little annoying.
Day 11: The Day the Sakura Peaked, Oita City
The cherry trees were at their very best that day. A large group of farming men & women were picnicking under one handsome specimen near this trio, enjoying a Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) tradition. Inspired, I stocked up at a supermarket & had my own midday feast under another beauty.
Day 11: The Exhibitionist
A yamazakura - mountain cherry - stands out among a sea of conifers on a mountainside between Oita City & Usuki.
Day 11: The Higashi-Kyushu Expressway Near Usuki
I'll never get completely used to the engineering marvel of these giant concrete monsters perched on their massive legs above indifferent farming villages.
Day 12: Sakura at the Castle Walls, Usuki
One of the dozens of magnificent cherry trees thriving in the park at Usuki.
Day 13: Spring Joy on the Walk to Saiki
A boy & his adult companion on a river bank, seemingly overcome with the energy of the season, broke into a run as I watched from the road.
Day 13: A Tunnel Short & Sweet
You pass through a lot of tunnels while road-walking in Japan, which is three-quarters mountainous. Some are terrifying, very long & unpleasant. This was a mercifully brief step into the darkness.
Day 13: Mountain Speedway - A Distant Truck Near Saiki
I took this from a long way distant with my 100mm & didn't think it would be a keeper, but it came out nicely in post-production. Most of my landscapes are made using wides.
Day 14: A Side-Road to Who-Knows-Where - The View from Rt 10
An enticing view from Rt 10, far safer, quieter & more rewarding than its northern version, reveals flowering sakura & a shrine gate.
Day 15: Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Sotaro
I had a nice campsite near a stream, but vicious coughing spells ruined any chance of real sleep. Before 5:30am I was back on this lonesome road, trudging quite miserably towards Nobeoka.
Day 16: A Morning View of the Ose River, Nobeoka
Nanohana (canola) blossoms on the bank with one of the garbage-incinerator chimneys ubiquitous in Japan's urban centres. I crossed that bridge to continue south on Rt 10.
Day 17: A Tiny Seaside Shrine Overlooking the Surf, Kame-ga-Hama
A look back at this popular Hyuga beach, swarming with surfers.
Day 18: Crossing the Oyodo River - In Company
This border marks the northern city limits of Miyazaki City. It took most of the day to get here - but I had a long way to go yet to my downtown hotel. At least the wind was dying - now it was time for some sunburn.
Day 18: Farmland Framed by Fence Wire, Miyazaki
View from a road overpass on the way into the city.
Day 19: A Stroll on the Ogre's Washboard, Aoshima
I took a day off after the long trudge of the day before & got a local train to Aoshima - "Blue Island" - on Miyazaki-shi's southern outskirts, connected to the mainland by a short bridge & bordered with these fascinating rock formations.
Day 19: A Conversation on the Washboard, Aoshima
The man was there by himself for most of my time on the island; then the woman in red made her way out to join him.
Day 20: A Rural Crow on the Long Road to Miyakonojo
In contrast to the previous image, here's a crow in a far more bucolic environment. I enjoyed the rural scenery once I made it clear of the sprawl of Miyazaki City.
Day 20: A Ruined Love Hotel on Rt 269
You come across quite a lot of abandoned love hotels when you walk through rural & outer-suburban Japan. This one was called the Piasu Hotel - I can't explain the mannequin heads, sorry.
Day 20: Solar-Powered Carp, Miyakonojo
Another view of the carp windsocks, with an array of solar panels positioned below. This is a common way to set up solar panels in rural Japan.
Day 20: Crow's Nest Silhouette, Miyakonojo
Another short stop - impossible to resist capturing this beautiful, peaceful image even after the violence I'd witnessed earlier: a cat, badly injured by a vehicle on the road, that I sat with a long while after finally managing to find help for it.
Day 20: A Farm Road & the Kirishima Mountains, Miyakonojo
I was blown away to get my first view of Mt Kirishima in the last light of day - a 1,700m-high cluster of active volcanos, one of which, Shinmoe-Dake, is off-limits due to a recent eruption.
Day 23: A Farmer's Footprints, Soo City
A glimpse of a farmer at work on a beautiful property during my long trek down to the coast from Miyakonojo.
Day 24: Dawn at a Roadside Rest Area
A crow perched above a road well travelled by trucks. I’d camped nearby on a hard surface behind an all-night convenience store. It was not a restful night.
Day 24: The Volcano Sleeps: Kaimon-Dake Across the Bay, Dusk
Day 25: My Final Campsite on the Osumi Peninsula, Dawn
I spent my final night of the journey in my tent under this roadside observation deck.
Day 24: A Coke Machine with a View
At this point I was still aiming at my original destination, the very tip of the island at Cape Sata. But the weather was poor & my heart wasn’t really in it…
Day 25: So Near & Yet So Far
Around this point, with a full day’s walking & another night’s camping in store before doubling back from the cape, I suddenly got the idea of quitting if there was a ferry that day from the port I was nearing. There was & I did - I spent that night in Kagoshima City across the bay. i never really regretted quitting so close to the end. The fun had long gone.