“Enjoy Driving around Nansatsu Area” is a series to introduce you to the good sightseeing spots in the Nansatsu area.
In PartⅠ, we learnt about the great views over tea fields in Ei town (頴娃の茶畑), The Local Product Shop Yutori-kan (お茶街道ゆとり館) and one of the popular spiritual places, Kamafuta Shrine (竃蓋神社).
In Part Ⅱ, we’d like to introduce a good viewing spot for Mt.Kaimon, Somen Nagashi (flowing noodles) and Japan’s Southernmost JR Station.
１．The Great Viewing Spot for Mt.Kaimon
”Sebira Natural Park (瀬平自然公園)”
You might have seen this angle in posters and guidebooks, which highlight Mt.Kaimon.
You can see the East China Sea on the right, Mt,Kaimon straight ahead and pine trees in front. It is the view from Sebira Natural Park, a good viewing spot for Mt.Kaimon, The park is located on Route 226 connecting Ibusuki city and Makurazaki city.
The sign of the park
２．Local Specialty ”Tosenkyo Somen Nagashi (Tosenkyo Flowing Noodls / 唐船峡そうめん流し)”
Pick the somen noodles up flowing around the table in a stream of cool water.
It is easier actually than you might think.
There are several places you can have the meal, but Tosenkyo in Ibusuki city is the place of origin. Local people still think that the best place to eat Somen-nagashi is here!
From golden week in May, it gets busier.
There are a municipally‐owned restaurant and several privately owned somen-nagashi shops in Tosenkyo.
We visited the privately owned restaurant, Chojuan (長寿庵) which is located behind the municipally‐owned restaurant.
Somen-nagashi restaurant’s menu are roughly the same anywhere.
There are Somen (そうめん), Onigiri (Rice balls / おにぎり), Koikoku (a dish of round sliced carp stewed in miso soup / 鯉こく), Koi-no Arai (slices of raw carp chilled in icy water / 鯉のあらい) and other things.
You can’t miss Masu-no Shioyaki (grilled trout / 鱒の塩焼き). The trout done up brown goes well with the somen noodles which taste soothing as they slide down your throat.
Tosenkyo is about 10 minutes’ drive from Ikeda lake.
It is not only the fact that the place is the somen-nagashi origin that makes Tosenkyo so special, but its location, too.
A 100,000 tons of spring water, selected as one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-Conserved Waters of the Heisei Period, gush out every day. The water temperature is 13℃. When you come down by the shop elevator from the car park, you feel the cool air refreshing you.
The cool stream is running all the time at the side of the restaurants, which are placed in a valley, and it is cool even in summer. The clean air and clear water makes the food so special.
３．Japan’s Southernmost JR Station, Nishi-oyama Station / JR西大山駅
(Photo: Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organization)
Nishi-oyama Station was opened in 1960 and It is an unmanned station and has no station building. The station is surrounded by fields, and it is a view of the original Japanese landscape.
This station used to be the southernmost station in Japan until the monorail opened in Okinawa, but after that this station became the southernmost JR station on the mainland.
Parking lots are available at the station. The access by car is pretty good because Route 226 is close.
There is a bell which is called “Shiawase-no Bell (Happy Bell / 幸せノベル) in front of the station. Since it is called “Happy Bell”, be sure to give it a tinkle!
This is a yellow post box located on the right side of the station. The sign next to it says “The post that delivers happiness”.
The post office near the station here was selling postcards and stamps on the day we visited.
Even if the post office is not selling them, the shop in front of the station sells the postcards and other things. This shop is also the Nishi-oyama Tourist Information Office. It is actually a direct sales store of a pickles factory, and yet they issue the “Certificate of Arriving at Japan’s southernmost JR Station”. They also rent power-assisted bicycles
Eight trains stop at the Nishi-oyama Station a day. (Time table)
If you come to this station by train, there is plenty of time until the next train comes. Meanwhile you could rent the power-assisted bicycle “Iburin” and visit Flower Park Kagoshima (about 4km from the station), Nagasakibana Parking Garden (about 5 kim) or Kaimon Sanroku Park (about 9km).
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