When I was posted to Tokyo many years ago, I loved the city. This fall, Kagoshima became my favorite Japanese city. The three things I like most are:
- Its natural setting set among hills and a bay across from a volcanic island.
- Trams and public transport are easy to follow. City is the end station for the Shinkansen (Bullet Train).
- Lying in south of Kyushu Island, the citizens enjoy the warm weather even in the fall.
To get to Kagoshima, we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Osaka with Air Asia. After two days, we boarded the Shinkansen for Fukuoka. Spending a week in Fukuoka gave us the chance to visit Nagasaki on a day trip. Then we traveled by long distance bus to Kagoshima where we spent a week. Afterward, we returned to Osaka for two more days before flying back to Kuala Lumpur.
Our November sojourn there was filled with many subtle kindnesses. Strangers were patient and ensured we made connections.
In small restaurants Google translate augmented our very basic Japanese to experience some typical and some atypical dishes.
Taxi drivers provided very positive first impressions of the cities we visited. With limited English, one in Osaka showed us that the taxi stop across the street would save us time and money by taking the taxi in the direction of our hotel. In Kagoshima, another finalized the fare several blocks before the station so that there would be no extra charges while waiting to find a stopping place at the station.