In the morning we travel south from Beppu to Oita. We then get a train to Miyazaki to see Ayako's friend, Miho.
She picks us up from the train station with her car, and we then go and visit Starbucks because Felicity wants coffee.
We then decide to go to Udo Shrine which is a temple built in a sandstone cave beside the sea.
We head south to a place near Aoshima, which is on the coast. Here we can see oni no araidana (loosely "oni's washboard", oni being a kind of tricky demon god). Finally we arrive at the Udo Shrine.
The path to the temple is built into the coastline. We walk along slowly.
At the temple there are a number of things for good luck. We rub the ears of Usagi-san (rabbit), there is fresh spring water which we drink, which is especially good for mothers.
Outside the cave there is a rock with a basin in it. Other people are throwing stones, trying to get them to fall into this small area. Apparently, if you are successful, you will have good luck. We purchase 5 stones, and each try to get it in, unfortunately no one is successful.
On the way back to the car, I find another path leading up into the mountain along the coast. We decide to walk along. The track is not easy, and we walk through slippery mud, and then down a riverbed to the ocean. It is at this point we find another small shrine which looks out over the ocean.
We walk back to the car, on the way we receive free oranges from some of the shops. We also have ice cream - I get black sesame seed, and Felicity gets chestnut.
Next, we stop at the michi no eki (road station, where the word station is similar to that in "train station"). We stretch our legs and look through the shop, which has a wide variety of interesting local fruits and vegetables. Outside we gaze out at the ocean. I pick up some paper rubbish lying on the ground - this later turned out to be an envelope containing ¥5000.
We finally go to Miho's house. We were warmly welcomed by her parents and her huge cats.
Last time we were in Japan we had dinner in Gyoen. It was so good we had been planning to have dinner there again. Miho's mother had already made a reservation, and apparently they remembered both myself and Ayako.
We are seated around a hollowed out cylinder of a tree which has a barbecue in the middle. We ordered many delicious dishes:
- Koi (Carp) Set — Fresh koi sashimi with sumiso (literally vinegar and miso sause) and koi miso soup
- Chicken Set — Fresh chicken necks and miso soup
- Beef Set — Miyazaki (marble) beef, chicken and miso soup
- Complimentary tofu salad
The food is delicious and enjoyed by all. We head home, but on the way we stop at a super market and get Häagen Daz ice cream, a cheese cake, and several other delicious desert items.
At home we all sit in the Kotatsu and eat desert. We then have a bath, and watch a Japanese Anime Chi's New Address. Everyone is tired and we all enjoy a deep sleep.