(not quite a) Year in Japan

Nagasaki(長崎) -> Kumamoto(熊本)

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So, as I’ve mentioned before Kyushu (九州) (as with a lot of Japan) is super mountainous, but also is quite fragmented in terms of islands, capes, peninsulas etc. as such getting from A->B via public transport can be a little tricky.

Mostly mountains

I guess any sane person here would rent a car, but a) it’s pretty expensive and b) it wouldn’t even save me that much time, plus getting all these different kinds of transport and stuff is quite fun.

So, today I’m heading from Nagasaki (長崎) to Kumamoto (熊本) and thought it’d be fun to comment on/document each stage in getting to Kumamoto.

I’m going to try and edit this post as I go (though due to the time difference no one will probably see it until it’s finished), but I figured it’ll encourage me to take photos of each step.

Oh, and also the iOS WordPress app is somewhat craptacular with formatting and layout, so I’ll probably do a final edit at some point to clean things up (and to sort out the map).

10:31 Train to Shimabara (島原) via Isahaya (諫早)

So long Nagasaki!

11:15 Switched Trains at Isahaya

Switched train companies at Isahaya from JR to Shimabara Rail Company. And the train got a whole lot older, but a whole lot more fun

Note the “ワンマン” text on the right, this reads “wanman”, which painfully translates to “one man” (ugh, I know), this means that the train is operated by one person, with no additional train conductors, much like a bus – typical in the countryside.

12:25 Arrived in Shimabara (島原)

Well technically, a station to the south of Shimabara called Shimabaragaiko (島原外港)

There’s not much here

But I’m not representing it fairly with that crumby photo.

There is however Mt Unzen just ‘next door’

So my next step is at 13:50, so time to grab some lunch.

edit: Lunch was an uneventful purchase of onigiri (おにぎり) from a convenience store, I had a huge breakfast, so need for a proper meal.

13:50 I’m on a boat!

Well a ferry, its a lot bigger than I expected.

The interior feels a little 70’s-ish, not helped by the elevator music playing non-stop…I’m so glad I paid extra for the rapid ferry, another 30 mins of this would not be pleasant.

not pictured: soul destroying music

So yeah should be in Kumamoto Prefecture (熊本県) in about 30 mins, and then there’s still a bit more travelling to get to Kumamoto proper.

Though before I left Shimabara I managed to get a picture of the local mascot “shimabaran”


14:45 Bus to Kumamoto Train Station

Yeah I totally forgot to take a photo, but you guys know what a bus looks like right?

On that topic, buses in Japan are a little different – basically you take a ticket when you get on, and it has a number on it associated with the stop

So the stop I got on at was #1

Then you pay when you get off. There’s a little grid of stop numbers that updates with the current price depending on the current location of the bus

price grid
picture stolen from the internet, my bus is much more low-tech

So for the above price grid, I’d pay ¥1150 if I got off the bus at the next stop. Simple right?

Oh and I got a photo of the Kumamoto mascot, “kumamon” before I left the ferry terminal

This guy is super popular all throughout Kyushu, and I think throughout Japan.

Btw the whole Japanese ‘having a mascot’ thing is quite interesting – known as ゆるキャラ “yurukyara”, I don’t think anything I would say on the topic would be original, so just google “yuru-chara” 🙂

15:30 Tram to the hotel

No pics, I totally couldn’t be arsed, I’ll grab one later and replace this text so no-one will ever know!!! Though I am really lazy so I may never replace this text.


16:00 Hotel

Whew. So that was pretty much 6 hours door to door, obviously not all travelling time, but still, 6 hours wasn’t too bad – I’m more surprised that I managed to not mess anything up, yay!

The map (which will fiiiiiinally have to be zoomed out very soon):

And for those keeping score that’s

– train x2

– ferry

– bus

– tram

I need a beer.

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