On leaving Kumamoto City behind we headed south to on to Amakusa to stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) for the night. This place is a series of islands off the west coast of Kyushu and the drive there was particularly nice as we drove over a number of bridges which connect the islands. Sadly, there’s no photos to prove that as the beauty was only seen from the car window!
My girlfriends parents had booked us (including Momiji the dog) all in to a place which is mean feat in itself as dogs are rarely ever allowed to stay in these places. This particular ryokan had it’s own private beach (of sorts) which allowed for a late afternoon amble over the rocks that lay between the red bridge and our lodgings for the night.
The highlight of our stay was the lavish seafood evening meal featuring a full octopus, giant-sized shrimp, ise-ebi (big lobster), extravagantly decorated hirame (halibut) and some other types of sashimi. I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten such delicacies and I’m very grateful to my future in-laws for treating us to this.
It’s customary in Japanese ryokan to have an onsen or two (or just a communal bath if there’s no natural hot spring water in the area) and that means changing into the yukata afterwards which we’re all wearing in the photos.
Breakfast the following morning was a very traditional Japanese one and though dishwashers are fairly common place these days (not in our house though for it is me who is the dish-washer!) I pity those who used to have to wash-up the dozens of dishes that each and every person used! I had a quick onsen (hot spring) after that and then we departed as there was one stop to make before heading north to the Aso-san area.
Amakusa Shiro Memorial Hall was an expensive (600 yen entry) place to enter but actually quite interesting as the city is the site of the Christian rebellion in the 17th century whereby the surviving Christians continued to practice their faith in secret despite persecution.