There are two hostels I would recommend to anyone coming to Japan: K's House in Kyoto - near the station, clean as a whistle, cheap as chips, rents bikes, no curfew - and the Nakazono Inn in Kagoshima. The owner is a slightly addled, semi-English speaking old guy who is just the nicest, most generous dude in the world. Here is how one of his Jinglish conversations might go:
Me: What time will the bus come?
Dude: Bus は 2 o'clock に come しますね。 でも、you must go by 1 clock mmm... 45分かな？
He was awesome. Not only did he do our washing for us, but he even drove us to the wharf the next day _and_ let us stash our bags there a few days later, even though we weren't staying there any more! A king amongst men.
This is the cool spacious inn:
First thing was to head down to Ibusuki, a town on the southern tip of Japan that is famous for its sand baths. These basically involve lying down in hot black sand and being covered in it by young men with shovels. Apparently you will be scalded if you stay in too long, so it was 10 minutes and into the (water) baths. Worth the 2-hour round trip?
I was a big Ibusuki fan.
Back to Kagoshima for some sightseeing, including the infamous and descriptive Statue of a Hat:
Kagoshima is actually sister cities with Perth, so of course we had to stand in the middle of the road and celebrate that too.
We relied on the Hot Pepper again for dinner and found an awesome little place that discounted all drinks to 200 yen (about $2.50). The food was exciting too, especially the famous black pork... makes your mouth water...
So good it deserved fighting over.
Next day: Yakushima. Stay tuned for the last instalment in the seemingly never-ending Kyushu memoirs.