Sunday, 22 April 2012

Kobe to Oita and Beppu

Part 3 of my Japanese adventures features an overnight voyage from Kobe to Oita on the Sunflower Gold, then a visit to Beppu and its environs. We begin at the Sunflower Ferry terminal in Kobe:

 Some Sunflower promotional material:

 Children's drawings of the Sunflower Gold on display:

I particularly liked this one, which seemed best to have captured the essential 'ferryness' of a ferry:

 Foor passengers awaiting boarding:

The Sunflower Gold's hallway, decorated with cherry blossom to celebrate the arrival of spring:

The aft-facing restaurant:

Leaving Kobe:

Time for dinner, which required advance payment using another infernal machine with signs only in Japanese:

 The buffet was actually pretty decent:

 Sunflower's wine was good too - so much so that a second bottle needed ordering up just to make sure that my positive judgement of the first was accurate:

Time to try on the captain's uniform:

Jacket too small, hat worse still:

Before bed, I had my first experience of a grand bath. Japanese ferry cabins nearly all lack private showers  and instead one is expected to shower and bathe with everyone else. You undress completely in the changing room, then shower mainly in a seated position at one of the stalls along the bathhouse's inboard wall. Next, you join everyone else in the big 'grand bath', in which the temperature is exceedingly hot and it's only possible to remain for a few minutes. Then, you have another shower. After carrying two heavy rucksacks around all day, it is exceedingly pleasant and relaxing. (Incidentally, the photographs are taken at night, once the bath house was closed for public use.)

Arriving at Oita the next morning:

 Some rather didactic signs in the terminal in Oita:

In Oita, they're also concerned about dog poo:

Legend of the Seas passes Oita Harbour, en route to neighbouring Beppu:

 Two rather fine Japanese electric locomotives:

The suburban train to Beppu:

A large public sculpture, commemorating 'Shiny Uncle' outside Beppu station:

 A Japanese version of an English 1930s Tudor-bethan/moderne roadhouse in Beppu:

 The seafront in Beppu, which is a popular resort town:

 Beppu TV tower - not quite Blackpool, but close enough:

Ferries at Beppu:

Breakfast snacks:

Legend of the Seas:

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