Monday, December 26, 2011

Japan Day Two: Three Cities, One Day

I'm not a morning person but waking up to this beautiful view for our second day in Japan perked me up instantly. 

I had to rush breakfast but I still managed to grab a few plates...
The sausages were outstanding.

A Japanese breakfast isn't complete without fish cakes. 

My travel partner Murtle said that this cup of bean sprouts was the best she's ever had.

So thoughtful of the Hirado Kishotei staff to bid us goodbye. The gesture was much appreciated.

Our morning was first spent in the city of Sasebo to cruise the Kujishima Islands.

The Pearl Queen was our transportation of choice with the trip lasting 50 minutes.

One can opt to enjoy the views comfortably inside the ship.

But most braved the strong cold winds to get a better feel of the islands.

There are some 208 islands along the 25km coastline stretching from Sasebo to Hirado, but coming from the Philippines where beautiful islands are aplenty, the scenery was nothing new. What made the trip worthwhile were the fresh air and cold weather.

After cruising the Kujikushima Islands, we then traveled to Nagasaki City where we stopped at Sonoda Shinju Nagasaki for a simple lunch.
noodles,  soup, chicken curry, shrimp with chill, and fish with sweet and sour sauce

With lunch finished, we headed to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum which was opened in 1996 as part of the 50th anniversary projects of the atomic bombing in Nagasaki. 

At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Picture below is a clock that was found in a house near the Sanno Shrine, which was approximately 800 meters away from the center of the blast.

This is the life size model of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. When the atomic bomb exploded, its energy emission was equivalent to 21 kilotons of TNT.

The energy released from the explosion is said to have consisted of 50% blast, 35% heat rays, and 15% radiation. It inevitably caused serious destruction to the city and its people. 

When all was said and done, out of the 240,000 residents of Nagasaki, 73,884 were killed with another 74,909 injured.  It is such a reminder that war is never the answer.

The museum put us in a pensive mood but we didn't have much time to reflect because we rushed to our next destination. We had to climb a steep street,

and pass by Oura Cathedral, Japan's oldest gothic style cathedral,

to reach Glover Garden. Glover Garden, also known as the Madame Butterfly house, was built by Scottish entrepreneur Thomas Blake Glover in 1863. 

We were not given much time to explore the entire estate and these are the only pictures worth sharing:
Statue of Tamaki Miura

Dock House

Dining Area

The Glover Garden visit was a blur because we had to catch the last ferry out of Nagasaki. 

Travel time from Nagasaki to our next city Kumamoto was about 40 minutes, so we all got off the tour bus and made ourselves comfortable inside the ferry.

Inside, I watched sumo wrestlers fight.

Action was so captivating that time flew by so fast!

Upon reaching Kumamoto, we went straight to our hotel, Hotel Nikko Kumamoto where Christmas was already in the air.

A Real Fireplace

Dinner was at Hotel Nikko's Japanese restaurant Benkay where we had a traditional kaiseki meal.

Kaiseki is a multi-course Japanese dinner consisting of small and often artistically prepared dishes.
Appetizer 1: Vegetable with Roe

Appetizer 2:  Steamed Egg

Appetizer 3: Sashimi


Grilled Fish

Tempura Set


Fresh Fruits

It was another heavy dinner, so we decided to walk the streets of Kumamoto in the hopes of burning a few calories.

We reached a shopping street near the hotel but most stores were already closed.

There was nothing else to do at Kumamoto so we retired to our room. 

Our second day in Japan was very productive with us visiting 3 cities in just 1 day. Little did I know that the multi-city hop would be the standard for the rest of the trip. I get exhausted just thinking about it!

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