Friday, June 12, 2009

Kyushu & Shikoku Travels – 熊本市 (Kumamoto) & 阿蘇山 (Mount Aso or Asosan)

Our second part of the journey covers Kumanoto which is famous for horse meat and well, lots of other things too.

As our stay in Kumamoto was very short.. we reached there in the evening and departing for Aso-san the next morning at 1100hrs, the exploration around Kumamoto was fast direct. What is most important in the discovery of a new place is definitely FOOD and Kumamoto is famous for their Ramen. For those who may not know, Ajisen Ramen that is so popular in Singapore comes from this part of Japan.

IMG_0339IMG_0352

Ajisen Ramen as well as a “pub” for blood donors. You drink water, they draw your blood.

 

Our hunt for Kumamoto Ramen landed us in this restaurant that was one of the top 100 recommended store in Japan. Look for the sign (red in background) and the quality of the food will not go wrong.

IMG_0356 IMG_0358   alright i admit, the budge from my tummy was caused by the wonderful ramen we just had.

Oh! Horse Katsu for sale. . . hmmm… how could I ever resist it? And it was enjoyable eating horse katsu in front of Louis Vuitton too.

IMG_0347 IMG_0349 IMG_0346 a lotus root dish which was interesting.

 

with the few hours we had the next morning, we made a quick trip to Kumamoto Castle which was a stone’s throw away from the Toyoko-inn that we were staying.

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There was nothing unique to the castle having visited quite a no. of castles in Japan from our previous trips. But the newly restored interior was a sight not to be missed.

 

In Kumamoto area, one of the most famous place must be Aso-san which holds Japan’s largest ACTIVE volcano and the record holder for the world’s largest caldera. We board the bus departing for Aso-san at 1100hrs and hope to arrive Aso-san in one and half hours time.

It was nearly 1400hrs when we arrived. The golden week jam had caused a huge set back to our plans, its good that we are not strictly sticking to our pre-planned itinerary but we did change the mode of transport to train for our next destination though. . haha

 IMG_0438 IMG_0426

The grassland that we passed by on our way up Asosan. Horse riding is available here and it sort of reminded me of Mongolia.

 

Before we were able to go up the cable car to the caldera, there is this sign which tells of the different level of danger. It was yellow when we were up there and some areas were closed due to the poisonous fumes. 

IMG_0439IMG_0481

 

IMG_0456  The photos wasn’t as nice due to the rain.  ;(

Asosan

 

Departing from Asosan, we dropped off at the train station and discovered that we needed to wait for yet another 3hrs for the train as the only train to Oita arrives at 1830hr. So it was time for early dinner! wahahaha.. .

IMG_0501 IMG_0502  It was a good thing that we spotted this little cafe just a few minutes walk from the train station were I had this sweet sour chicken dish and Mrs Tan Tan had this baked rice and both of it were yummy!

tick tok tick tok . . finally the train came and we departed for Oita. . ..

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