She’s a Tall Drink of Water
Posted by Heliocentrism on July 5, 2011
May 2, 2011
We saw Kumamoto castle, because that’s just want you do when you’re in this part of Kyushu. If this had been the first castle I had ever seen in Asia, I might have been more in awe. But I’ve seen hundreds of these things, and like temples, they stop being spectacular after a while.
What is with me and Hell?
What we really enjoyed this day was the giant Jibo statue. The statue is of a loving mother holding her child. I guess that people, especially women, come here when they want to get pregnant.
We walked up the many flights of stairs to get to the head of the tall lady. It was hot, but we were promised a grand view of the city. It was a good thing I brought some water with me, because climbing in that heat made me very thirsty.
The view was not grand. The city is not big, but even if it were, we would not have been able to see it. The windows in the lady’s head were so small. We had to take turns looking out of them. But that was ok, we didn’t really care about the view anyway. We came for what was in the basement.
We ran down to the basement. We knew that Hell awaited us.
I have visited many hells in many cities. I went to Buddhist Hell in Thailand, along with many mini hells at various temples. There was one hell placed in the foot of a huge Buddha. I’ve also visited a small town in China that was made up to look like the Taoist Hell. It was fan-tas-TIC.
The hell we visited on this day was underground. We were a lot cooler in hell than we were in the statue. There were animatronic beasts and demons torturing souls. I have no idea what they said, since it was all in Japanese, but the lighting or lack thereof, made it nice a spooky. This is definitely not a place for kids.
Look what I dug up!
Our next stop was at the Yoshinogari Historical Park. If I ever go to Saga again, I will go back to this park, because we showed up very late in the day. The thing I really wanted to see, the active dig area, was closed by the time we arrived.
We rushed around for half an hour trying to see what we could, but there just wasn’t enough time. If we had known that we would not have been able to find our campsite, which was a few towns over from the park, we would have just found a cheap hotel nearby and gone again the next day.
But we didn’t. We searched for our campsite, then for any campsite, then when I was too tired to drive, we checked into a creepy love motel on the side of the road.
I already know what you’re thinking…
“She wasn’t impressed with Kumamoto Castle, but old bones and pottery, she likes?”
Well, I see castles everyday. There’s one downtown in Oita city. I’ve seen many castles in England, Korea, China, and Thailand. Well, in Thailand they are actually palaces, but really what’s the difference besides some glitter?
But I’ve haven’t seen many historical dig sites. In fact this one brought the number of dig sites I’ve seen to a whopping… 2. The other one was the Terracotta Army in Xi’an, China. This one had actual archaeologists working at the site looking for stuff. So yes, this was more interesting than the castle.
How to get there:
You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.
Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.
- Emergency Numbers:
- Police 110
- Ambulance and Fire 119
- Important phone numbers to know while in Japan
- Comfort Woman
- The Commoner
- Empire of the Sun
- Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
- Geisha, a Life
- Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II’s Most Dramatic Mission
- The Last Concubine
- Memoirs of a Geisha
- Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath
- Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan
- What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
- Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan. Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
- InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call yourbanktoaskwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
- ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
- You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)
- 32°48’22.5″N 130°42’20.8″E
From Oyano –
- Get back on route 266.
- Turn left (east) on route 57.
- Turn left (north) on route 3.
- Follow the signs to the Kumamoto Castle parking lot.
- (096) 352-5900
- Parking is 100YEN/hour
- Adults 500YEN
- Kids 200YEN
- Parts of the castle cost more to see
- 8:30 – 18:00 most of the year
- 8:30 – 17:00 from November to March
- Closed December 29 – 31
- There are some annual events held here.
Jibo Kannon Statue
at Naritasan Temple
- 33°17’05.8″N 130°32’06.6″E
From Kumamoto Castle –
- Get back on route 3 heading north.
- Once you get to the town of Makitsumachi look out for road#86. Take a right (east) at the next light after road #86.
- Follow the map below.
Kurume-shi, 830-0052 Fukuoka
- Free Parking
- Adults – 500 Yen;
- Junior High and High School students – 300 Yen;
- Elementary School students and younger – 100 Yen
- 9:00 – 17:00
- Make sure to go to the Hell section. You get there by going through the feet of the statue.
Yoshinogari Historical Park
From the Jibo Statue –
- Get back on route 3 heading north
- Take a left (west) on route 209
- Stay strain on route 264 which will turn into road 22
- Turn left (southwest) on route 34
- At the 6th light, turn right (north) on route 385
- The park will be on your left
- Parking 300YEN flat rate
- Adult 400YEN
- 9:00 – 17:00
- The dig site closes at 16:30