Shimabara to Kumamoto – 5 April

🎶 Ferry ‘cross the Mersey Ariake Sea 🎶

Riding toward the port on a small local road only the sound of the trickling spring water from the small canal bordering the road and houses … serenity! A lady watering greets us with ‘ohayōgozaimasu’ sadly I haven’t mastered it yet so I reply with ‘good morning’.

The port is very quiet we take the slow ferry 1hr – the fast ferry is 30mins – at the ticket counter – cash only – we are ushered with our bikes outside to the front of a carpark along with cars and a truck to return in half an hour to board.

Our bikes are on the bottom deck (there are 2) and we enjoy the journey in comfort with choices of airplane style seating or lounges.

Off the ferry and heading towards Kumamoto it’s very flat and full of hot houses – John is as happy as a pig in mud when he sees a patisserie – a quick bite – that’s lunch.

We go to the train station to the tourist office – wow … a whole shopping area and heaps of food outlets AND the toilets were amazing – we will talk toilets another time.

Too early to check in to the hotel so we visit the Kumomoto castle. As we enter the castle precinct we hear yelling coming from a stadium … further investigation needed … we park the bikes – all full loaded (they are safe here in Japan) and venture to the stadium … we sit in the grandstand and see the last exciting 15 minutes of a baseball game – an amazing experience – I hope we see more games.

Now to the castle, sadly it was damaged by an earthquake in 2016 and is in the process of being restored, there is no access, however, the grounds are open … families picnicking and lots of sakura (cherry blossoms) I can’t help myself to take pics.

A few drops of rain just as we get to the hotel – only a short shower then off to see some parks.

Our accommodation is a ‘small double’ umm … we will see how that goes tonight 🤣🤣

By popular request we went to a small cafe/restaurant and had okonomiyaki. The owner explained in reasonably good English that if we were to eat there he specializes in okonomiyaki- we said that is what we want. He said it’s pizza without the cheese! There in front of us he prepared and cooked the dish on his teppanyaki plate. It was delicious.

It’s Friday night and you have to love the covered arcades – within 2 minutes walk from our hotel – the place is buzzing – people everywhere all the shops are open – no partying for us – a long day instore tomorrow.

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