After about 40 minutes we reached Kagoshima Chuo Station, the central train station in Kagoshima and the last stop for the Shinkansen. We would spend two nights in Kagoshima and chose it as our base because, you can easily take side trips from there to nearby attractions, its convenient Shinkansen connection and because it has a spectacular attraction: a volcano island just in front of it. We again had booked a hotel only a short walk away from the train station. But it was too early to check in, so we just stored our luggage at the train station and went to the tourist information also inside the train station to buy a day pass for local transportation, which cost about 4 Euro. We also inquired about a bus timetable for Chiran and Ibusuki, where we wanted to go the next day. They were accommodating, and we got timetables for the next day as well as the tourist bus in Kagoshima. The busses that also have English announcements run two courses: the “Waterfront Course”, which goes to the harbour first, and the “Shiroyama and Iso Course”, which goes to other attractions first. We opted for the “Waterfront Course” and went directly into a blue bus just in front of the train station and exited at the Kagoshima Aquarium/Sakurajima Pier Stop, which took about 15 minutes. The ferry to Sakurajima leaves about every ten minutes, so we didn’t have to wait, just walked onto the ferry (you pay, when you exit) and after about 15 minutes already had reached Sakurajima Island.
Unfortunately, the active Sakurajima volcano had disappeared into the clouds so we could not really see it. But there were a lot of other attractions on the island. We first came to a temple and walked from the ferry terminal to the Nagisa Park Foot Bath, which had boiling water and is beautifully located near the sea (and also free!). We relaxed there a bit and enjoyed the different water temperatures at various spots.
Unfortunately, it was too late to see other attractions in Kagoshima. We really would have liked to go the Museum of the Meiji Restoration, which looks lavish online and also originally had planned to stop at the Senganen (Iso Garden). Especially as all attractions are easily reached by the very convenient Tourist Bus. So we took a Tourist Bus back to the Kagoshima Chuo Train Station and decided to buy our dinner, before taking our luggage from the lockers. Just next to the train station is a huge shopping centre, the Amu Plaza Shopping Mall, which has a Ferris Wheel actually at the top of it. In the basement, we found a supermarket, and they had a great concept. It was 1 gram for 1 Yen (100 Yen equal to 70 Eurocents) and for that, you could choose from a variety of cooked, fried and baked food and mix it as you please. It was my favourite supermarket so far! In the basement of the mall, they also have an ATM that accepts Mastercard – that has to be esp. mentioned, as many ATMs in Japan don’t.