宮崎駿筆下的「幽靈公主」，創作靈感部分來自九州的屋久島， 因此我對此島一直充滿各種奇異的幻想。 但要到訪這列入世界遺產的屋久島，沒有所謂順路這回事，單從鹿兒島坐噴射船前往，就要接近 3 小時，相等於香港直飛鹿兒島的時間。而去屋久島唯一目的，就是登山。
最後在宮之浦大街上，找到民宿八重岳本館，入住二樓雙房連陽台的和室，一泊朝食每人 5,000 円，還有公眾浴場供登山後舒展筋骨，十分超值。早餐時在食堂牆上，看到宮崎駿畫的龍貓及簽名，年份是 1999 年，應該是在「幽靈公主」公映後，他再重遊屋久島，下塌這間八重岳民宿。
我們選擇的登山徑 「白谷雲水峽 」，是島上最簡單；自然又是最熱門的選擇。登山當日是平常的週二，人流卻不下於市內的商店街，途中亦遇上不少香港人，有些更是同機飛抵鹿兒島的。
An active Sakurajima volcano/Kimberlogic
Japan has always been one of my favorite countries to visit because it has something for every taste. On this trip we decided to visit the most southern of the four main islands of Japan; Kyushu. Flying in to Kagoshima on a clear day the first thing we saw towering out of the water and into the clouds right next to the city was Sakurajima, an active volcano.
The volcano used to be an island in the bay, but lava flows from a major eruption in 1914 connected it to the main land, making it a peninsula. Sakurajima is one of the world’s most active volcanos with thousands of small explosions each year. I had never been close to an active volcano before so when I found out we could explore its foothills I was super excited.
Sakurajima Ferry sails from Kagoshima every fifteen minutes during the day, making it convenient to explore at your leisure. Although the travel time is only about fifteen minutes, there are numerous vending machines and even a noodle restaurant on board. The atmosphere on the ferry is comfortable and relaxed; it doesn’t even feel like a boat.
Once on the volcano, there is a public bus that makes frequent stops at different lookout points and tourist attractions as it winds up higher and closer to the summit and its three peaks. After a quick snack at Lawson’s we hopped on the bus to explore the volcano.
At a few of the lookout points looking out into the bay and at the city of Kagoshima I have to say was not very impressive or even beautiful. The real attraction was looking up at the steaming calderas and feeling the urge to keep climbing the mountain to get a closer look. Although tourists cannot get remotely close to the peaks, the last stop on the bus tour provides an excellent view and an information center.
When we came back down the mountain we stopped at the visitor’s center. It was small, we were the only tourists, there was good music playing and ice cream; what could be better? After wandering through the center looking at pictures of the famous enormous radishes that this soil produces and models of land before and after eruptions, a group of school kids came in and bought ice cream. We watched them walk out the back door and down a walkway which led to the coast, so we decided to get ice cream and follow.
At the end of the path was a public foot bath with the best view of the steaming peaks. The tour of the island and lookout points was nice, but the best part of our day was dipping our feet in the hot spring with views of the volcano and gigantic rocks along the coast left over from the last major eruption, while enjoying our “volcanic ash” ice cream.