Japan’17 Vacation @ Kyushu (Day 1-4)

Date:  Jun 17, 2017

It was a very busy first half of the year 2017.  There isn’t much time for me to do a proper planning on our vacation.  By the time I realise it, it is mid-May.  After confirming with my wife his OK dates for traveling, within a week, I have quickly book the ticket, rent the car, and book all the hotels I can find, yet still got rooms for us, and yet fit into the very vague of our traveling plans.


I promise a friend to write a simple itinerary for my trip.  Here you go!


Ever since I bought my Fujifilm X-T1, I had been planning trips to go places where I can get a nice photo of the stars, the galaxies, and the Milky Way.  I have done so for least 4 trips since last year, but each trip failed because of the incorporative of the weather, the moon.  Yeap, rainy day, cloudy day, full moon, too bright, etc etc.

But of course, the trip is also for plan for the kids.  So, theme park, aquariums, farms, science center are also the major target of this trip.


Destination:  Kyushu.  It has been couple of years where we have not been to Kyushu.  So, this trip, we fly to Kyushu.  We can visit Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Mt. Aso & Beppu.


We rented a car from Nippon Rent-A-Car.  When you arrived at the Fukuoka Airport, call Nippon Rent-A-Car to come and pick you up from the 3rd floor (Arrival).  They will sent a car to pick you up.


I rented a Toyota Prius.  The whole 10-days trip cost me about 7,000 yen of petrols.  Very cheap.  And make sure you get the one that can put enough luggage.  As you can see, we have two big bags, and 3 backpacks.  Can fit.

Please take note, you need International license to drive a car in Japan.  Without it you cannot drive.  Very easy to apply in Singapore.


Make sure before you fly, get a copy of this kind of traveling magazine.  Yeap, in Japanese.  Latest version.  From Kinokunia.


Because you can key in the phone number into the GPS in the rented car.  Very convenient.  And don’t forget to use Google Translate, use the camera feature, it instantly give you the translation to its best knowledge, and the rest, you make guesses.

Japanese car’s driver seat is the same as Singapore.  In the city, beware of the traffic police and camera.  Outside the city, lesser police and almost no camera, but please drive safe.


I don’t like city, so, most of the trip is outside big city.  Haha.

And since my wife love to drive, so, she drove 100% for the entire trip.  And I am the navigator.

Parking is also easy.  It is either FREE, or got human asking for parking fees or use a machine.


Day 1-Day 2 in Mt. Aso

First stop is Daizaifu.  It is a temple.  So, you go in, throw a coin contribution, clap 2-3 times, pull and ring the bell, and make a wish.  And may your wish comes true.

I also bought a lot of charms, for kids to do well in school, for good luck, for business to do well, and for no traffic accident, etc.


There are quite some thing to see around Daizaifu.  I like the design of this Starbucks Coffee place.


Easy to get something to eat here.  Just walk and shop.  And eat.


After lunch, and walk walk, we drove to our first hotel.

Now, a proof of poor planning.  I didn’t know or I forgot that there was an sizeable earthquake hit Mt. Aso last year, and it broke a few bridges and road.

So, they need time to repair the roads and there are a lot of road diversion.  And since it is in Japanese, sometimes you will get lost.  It will take a few times to get it correct.

Minami Aso Luna Observertory Hotel

Eventually, we arrived at the first hotel.



Kids go crazy liao.  Because got a big patch of field for them to run, and kick balls.  And there are swings too.


We managed to stay here.


The room.  I think it is a 民宿.  But it is very big area.  I think the Agoda website is a bit buggy, so, it accidentally book it as Maisonette (4 adults) – Annex room instead of 2 adults plus 2 children.

It comes with Breakfast and Dinner.

The portion of the food is not so much, so, It is just nice.


The coolest thing of this hotel is this.

The big telescope.


We get to see the stars every night.  If the sky is clear.

And VERY LUCKILY.  The first day, NO CLOUDS.  The weather is super nice.


There are three sets of telescope in this compound.  So, we get to see the very very clear image of the moon surface.  We get to see the colourful Jupiter.  We get to see a very far planner that likes like a diamond too.  haha


The kids sure happy with this.  It is even better than the one at Science center in Singapore.


Every night, we get to book and use 40 minutes of this private onsen room.  (no other onsen, only two private onsen rooms).


And four of us just jump into the onsen.  Very nice indeed.  Get to do onsen every day.


After onsen, the kids are playing in the room.

And me and my wife are out at the observatory field.  A big field for photographers to take photos.  Did you see the stars?

And we are so lucky to have clear sky tonight.

And we are so lucky that the moon is not yet full moon.  So, there are chances for us to take a good milky way photos.  This is at 10pm.

The moon is scheduled to go down by 1:30am.


My wife loves this shot that I took for us.


In return, she shot a blur blur star behind me.


This one slightly better.


When the moon goes down.  This is what we took around 2am in the morning.

That is a milky way.


How about a horizontal one.


It is beautiful.


While walking back to our cabin.  This is how the sky looks like.  See all the stars?

The second day is total cloudy sky.  Even the telescope tour changed to watching stars glazing documentary show.


The next day, kids are awake.  And doing their daily reading.  (E-Tutor/E-知识)


At breakfast, they took a photo and frame it for us.  Cool!


Simple food.  Very nice portion (small).  And taste nice too.


The next day, we go to a near by park.  They have a runner there.

Aso-Takamori Tunnel Park.


Look, at the end of this tunnel.  You find this.  The water droplet defies the gravity.  hahaha Very cool indeed.

don’t forget to take a family photo of this mirror wall inside the tunnel.


A lot of dandelion along the way.  So, don’t forget to blow them.


Usually we will bring our card games (Math Fluxx) and play it whenever we are in a cafe enjoying ice cream.



We then drive to this place.  It is an water source or water origin place.

Let’s wash our legs at the down stream here.  Wow, its cold.


OK.  Lets make paper.


It is a good experience for the kids.


Shui bo?


This is Kay’s.


The kids are amaze.


Next activity.  Buy this bottle, and fill it up with the water from this pond.


The water is so clean that you can drink it straight away.
Despite the dragon flies flying touching the water.

Despite the small little fish swimming inside.


Kay Kay really worried.

One by one, we all drank the water.

And we bought a few bottles and fill it up.

The water source.

Not far away, one of the famous beef place is here.


It’s halal too.


But they also serve Sake.  Own Mt. Aso Sake.  Very nice.




After lunch, we continue to drive.  Whenever we found a brown sign board we will drive in and park our car.

We spotted a baby owl trying to learn how to fly.


This is another clear water source/water origin.

How clear is it?

Look at this photo I took.

The fish is flying!  Wow!


That is why I said, the Japanese is very thoughtful.  You can find fish food here to feed the fish too.


I think the Koi fish is so amazing.


We take the car and continue driving, and yet found another one.


Another clear water.


After that, we drive to this 1000 years old tree.


Looks amazing.


One of the very old and weird looking tree.


Nice ya?


There is actually quite a lot of things you can do.  It is just that, we wanted to take it easy. So, spend a lot of time here and there.


Feeding horse is a must.


Catching grass hopper is fun too.


Day 3 / Day 4 at Yufuin

The third day after check out, we went to Yufuin, another Onsen place.

On the way, we found a farm.  We stopped there for lunch.

Yeah, they have a wind powered generator.


We were having fun with the zip lines.


Lunch is good.


They even ride a horse.


We found a very small road and that leads to this yet another water source.


Very clear water pond.


Yufuin Hanayoshi Hotel


We finally arrived at the second hotel.  This is what you see from the lobby.  And we are staying in one of the chalet like room below.


Every trip I will try to plan a good hotel.  The one that has a WOW factor to all the kids and of course my wife.  This is the one.  The one really relaxing one.

This one comes with a leg onsen area.


Big space, nice and clean room.  Even got massage chair.


And of course own onsen pool.  The kids likes to go to the public bath with onsen, but we usually have one hotel that has its own onsen so that we can water play with the kids.


And it is to our convenient.  So, we can onsen many times and then lie down lazily on the tatami and futon.  Yeap, there are two more futon here.


And of course, such hotel will come with fabulous and delicious breakfast and dinner.


This is like a chalet.  All the rooms are inside these houses.

So, what am I thinking?  Thinking about the stars.  hahaha


Hahaha, yes, this is only the 3rd and 4th day of our vacation.  And there are opportunity for us to take the stars again.

Of course, technologies help.

The Kaisinki dinner is usually very good.

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Most of the time, I am worry about Kay Kay.  What he will eat.  Usually, he can just settle with one bowl of Japanese rice and seaweed, and salmon, etc.

In this hotel, he has no problem.

Take a look at the Kyushu beef.  Very nice!

At night, we shot the Ursa Major only.  The moon is getting annoying bright.  So, you can imagine, we might not have any more chances to take the Milky Way.


Kijima Kogen Park

It is really a relaxing trip.  With no prior planning to go where.

After enjoying our coffee at the lobby, I saw this poster.

I didn’t even know there is a roller coaster theme park here at Yufuin and Beppu area.

Let’s go!


The kids does not know where we going.  They like every other day, do their daily reading.


We were thrilled.  Look at the Jupiter.

Reaction from Kay:  I want I want, please please.

Reaction from Jay:  (Speechless)

Reaction from Daddy:  it is nothing.  It is made out of wood, there is no 360 degree turning, should be OK bah.

Let’s go!


Let’s start from easy one first.


OK, it is not Japanese school holidays.  And some how, the Chinese tourists are not here.  So, we practically have the whole park to ourselves.  You can sit many times if you want.  And I think it is a Monday.  Hahahaha


The park is quite decent.


This is the one they love to play so much.  Again, we have it for our own use.


Because the flash battle can compete against each other.


It is a simple game.  When the lights lid, press that lid button.  Hahahaha.. But because you can compete Jay vs Kay, Children vs Parents, etc.  A lot fun are there.

And this is Jupiter.

It’s like a 5 minute ride on a wooden tracks.


And if you are > 120cm tall, you are OK.


And we love it!  But it is very bumpy.  Feels like your butt keep hitting the chair up and down.  And the neck is turning here and there.  Quite stressful ride too.  But as always Kay Kay loves it.


No wonder.  91km/h speed with 2.68G.




Mars is a maze.  A very huge maze so you can collect your chops.


Of course my favourite.  I am the highest score in Pirates.


And after the theme park, we take the car and just drive towards Beppu.

We stopped at the Ropeway (cable car).


There are a lot of shrines up there in the mountain.


Each will give you different protection and charms.


Enjoy the scenery.


Then you proceed to some of the Jikoku in Beppu.

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Let’s look at the Sea Jikoku.


One thing about the Japanese garden.  Very nice and peaceful.  Even the “hell”.  hahaha


Wow, blue in colour.


Nice colour combo.


What’s that?  I want!


Zoom in.


Onsen eggs.


Kids love colours.


Sea Jikoku.


Let’s check out the Tornado Jikoku.


Nothing so interesting.


Flowers in the garden more interesting.






OK.  It is just a fountain.


And the fountain push hot water at a diff timing.


Since we are here, let’s take the photo.


It is nice food again back in the hotel.


Cheers for the Jupiter ride.


Got to fall in love with even the dessert.


After dinner.


Wanted to take the sunrise.  But always wake up at the wrong moment.  Hahahaha


We had a wonderful 4 days of rest.  Nice hotel, I got my Milky Way photos.  Kay had his Jupiter ride.  Jay ate all the foods he loves.  Mommy enjoying all the onsen so far.


One comment

  1. Hello Mr. Liew,

    Would you mind letting me know where you saw the baby owl? I have located the approximate area, but would like to find out the road you drove on where you took the owl picture. Thank you so much! I appreciate your help!

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