And here I was worried I’d get out of shape being away from the gym for a month.

The next morning: en route to Kaimon-dake – the same volcano we’d viewed the day before.

A slight change of pace this day, however, on account of the fact that Colin and I would be climbing it! (Kim had already done it the month before when her cousin visited, and wasn’t in any hurry to repeat the experience.)

I think this is one of the more intense climbs I’ve ever undertaken, on account of the fact that the “climbing trail” is virtually indistinguishable from the other, heavily-forested parts of the mountain.

There are few more disheartening signs than climbing for what felt like hours, and discovering that you’re only a third of the way up.

The views, however, more than made up for any discomfort.

SUCCESS! SUMMIT!

Our travelling companions: the Ibusuki City Board of Education.

Kim’s very lovely supervisor, Satomi.

Look, Colin – everything the light touches is our kingdom.

I think this shot, however, does a better job of selling the 924m drop behind us.

You may probably already seen this one if you’ve liked my photography page over on Facebook. And if not, why not? 😉

We actually got pretty lucky here – within minutes of taking some photos at the top, the clouds rolled over the summit and pretty much blocked the view entirely for the rest of the time we were up there.

The mountaintop Shinto Shrine.

The descent was infinitely less painful than the climb, and Colin and I were among the first people back to the bottom.

As an added incentive, Kim was waiting for us the base of the volcano with freshly-baked cakes!

Yaaaaasss.

True story.

Afterwards, we went for a dip in the Healthy Land Onsen: a beautiful, outdoor hot spring with views of the very mountain we’d just conquered. We further rewarded ourselves with kakigōri (shaved ice with various flavourings – in this case, melon) and – rather more blissfully – a change of clothing which Kim had packed alongside the cakes.

Next up: Nishi-Ōyama Station…

…the southernmost train station in the whole of Japan!

Given my less-than-stellar history when it comes to feats of athleticism, it was an interesting feeling seeing Kaimon in the background pretty much everywhere we went for the rest of my time in Ibusuki and knowing that I’d actually climbed it.

And, right next door, the only yellow post box I’ve ever seen in Japan (which I’m assuming is also linked to the train station’s rather unique status).

長崎鼻岬 – Cape Nagasakibana.

竜宮神社: the Dragon Shrine…Shrine.

Colin rocking a post-onsen blow-out.

What you can’t tell from this picture is that Colin was watching this video on loop and laughing hysterically. (And now I am, too.)

We continued south of the lighthouse and went right onto the rocks to await the sunset.

The southernmost point of the Satsuma Peninsula, with the sun setting behind volcanic Kaimon-dake which we’d climbed just hours ago. There are worse ways to spend a day.

Reconvening with Kim, who’d watched it from the safety of the benches at the top of the hill.

Another sight I couldn’t quite get used to based on my decidedly less temperate experience of Japan: geckos, casually adorning the kitchen window!

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Comments
  1. Markus McD says:

    Colin and Kim are AMAZING! As are you, but that was a given 😛
    Spectacular shots.

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