101016It was Saturday morning, and the crowds starting coming to the michi-no-eki by 9AM.  It feels uncomfortable walking around in pyjamas, looking half-asleep and eating breakfast with people walking around you.

Today was a long driving day, I wanted to get all the way to near where we are catching the ferry to Okinawa tomorrow.  I wanted to get there early so that we could be prepared for the travels there when we don’t have the van to rely on.

Sogi Falls Sogi Falls Sogi Falls Sogi FallsAlong the way, I saw a sign for Sogi Falls.  I had no idea what it was (nor did Risa), but it was well signed (and not too much of a detour) so we followed.  Risa started searching online, and said it was quite wide and not very high and that it was also known as Japan’s Niagara Falls.  It didn’t take us long to realise why they called it that, though I think comparisons between the two are quite unreasonable.  While this was pretty, and rugged and certainly very different to the other waterfalls that we’d seen in Japan, it was still quite a small waterfall, nothing like Niagara Falls.  Interesting, it was one of Japan’s first hydro-electric plants, putting out 840kW!

We kept on driving south, only stopping for toilet breaks and for me to find something to use as a basket on the front/back of the ‘cub.  We found many boxes, but they were all too big.  We happened to see a small motorbike shop, so we went in and found a small wire basket that was about perfect size to mount to the front of the ‘cub.  And it was ¥500!

It was nearly 4PM when we finally saw the plumes of smoke/ash coming out of Japan’s most active volcano, Sakurajima.  There was a michi-no-eki just across the bay, we sat in the foot onsen and watched it for a while.  We noticed that there was fine black powder everywhere on the ground, one of the hazards of living next door to an active volcano.

sakuraijimaAs we drove further around the island/mountain, we saw it take on different shapes.  At first it was smooth and conical, but the south side was a completely different mountain.  It was eroded and rugged and when combined with the billowing smoke, just plain awesome.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with the car for at least a week while we’re in Okinawa.  There weren’t any long term parking options at the port (that we could find), so we’ve been looking for an inconspicuous place to leave it.  We decided that in central Kagoshima it was going to be too difficult, so we came here to Sakuraijima where it’s only a short ferry ride to Kagoshima City/Port, and there are plenty of large car parks.  It does feel slightly dangerous leaving my car next to Japan’s most active volcano…