Japan Northern Kyushu 2017 travel blog

Fishing boats in the fog.

Fishing boat.

Overtaking the slow ferry to Shimabara.

Feeding gulls from the Ocean Arrow.

Shimabara Railway diesel one man unit.

Ariake Sea from the Shimabara Railway.

Nice decals on the returning car.

Where are we?....Oh.

Omura Bay from the Seaside Liner train.

Omura Bay view

Seaside Liner view of Omura Bay.

Haikiseto Strait from the Seaside Liner.

Mon 27th Nov. Kumamoto 5°C, foggy. Sasebo 18°C, clear& sunny.

Decided to take the scenic(literally) route back to Fukuoka. Will take all day, worth it for the nice countryside.

Taxi to Kumamoto Port ¥4,250, for the 9:25 Ocean Arrow high speed ferry across the Ariake Sea to Shimabara. That was the plan, but heavy fog had cancelled all ferrys until the 11:10. All good, we're on holidays, contingency plans in place.

Chilled at the Shimabaragaiko ferry terminal for 45min while waiting for the next train, then walked 5 min to the station, terminus for the little Shimabara railway. Caught the one man rail car for a leisurely 1h20m around the coast to Isehara. The Shimabara railway station resembles Shimabara Castle, an imposing concrete reconstruction. Nice views of the coast, some market gardens and houses from here to Azuma. There's some ugly industry but not a lot. Pleasant journey.

At Isehaya, we boarded the Seaside Liner, an older diesel multiple unit that travels along the east coast of Omura Bay to Sasebo. It's a 1.5hr trip, with lovely sea and forested mountain views along this route. Sasebo has a lovely harbour, and is the gateway to the picturesque Kujuku Islands. Not enough time to go to Tenkaiho observatory to view the islands, however, due to the late start.

Booked tickets on the highway bus from Sasebo bus station, just across the road from the train station. This is a very scenic journey, best in late November, leaving at 4:00pm to enjoy the autumn colour (koyo) in the mountains, and to have the sun behind you. Best seat, front left aisle, view to both sides and through the front windscreen.

Twenty kilometres from Fukuoka, the driver said there was an accident near Fukuoka airport, causing a traffic standstill for 3Km, so he took an alternate route. Soon he was notified of another accident on this route as well, so he was able to turn off just before the traffic backup. He was still able to arrive at Tenjin bus terminal only 10 min late.

Checked in to the Mystays Hotel Tenjin once more, good hotel. My room is dangerously close to the vending machine vestibule, right opposite. Family Mart provided dinner and drinks to have in our rooms, but I'm eyeing a nightcap through my door peephole.

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