Now looping up Kyushu’s eastern coast, Aoshima is mostly known as a beach resort which has a tiny island just off the coast (which gives Aoshima it’s name, meaning blue/green island). Since February is not beach weather, we couldn’t experience that part, but we did visit the unusual island which is connected to the mainland by a thin land bridge.
What makes Aoshima (Island) unique is the natural rock formations that fringe the island. They resemble an old washboard, with its ribbed appearance and uniform lines. It is known as the Ogre’s Washboard.
A storm quickly blew in, so we took shelter (actually not really) under the betel palms that dominate the island. Aoshima is tiny, taking only 20 minutes to walk all around. Inside the thick trees is Aoshima Shrine, reputedly good for matchmaking.
We waited for the storm and rain to pass (which it didn’t), so we ran back, getting absolutely drenched.
The nearby small city of Miyazaki is nothing overly exciting. Although we didn’t go inside the Miyazaki Science Centre, which boasts one of the world’s largest planetariums, there’s a lifesize Japanese rocket out the front. During our city stroll, we noticed a long line of locals queuing for some fresh moon-cakes with either red or white bean paste inside. Yum!
We spent half a day strolling through the Miyazaki-jingu, which is 3km north in the village of Koguya. There is a thickly forested area within the village with a shrine and an open-air collection of traditional samurai village houses. We also visited the Miyazaki Prefectural Museum of Nature & History which was well presented, however displays were not in English (which was to be expected anyway). They gave us an information booklet in English which was sufficient.
A restaurant near the station served a delicious traditional Japanese lunch set. Yum again.
Visited 3rd to 5th March 2014.