Spring break was a much needed break from classes and a good chance to explore.  I ended up going to Kyushu with some friends.

I was set to meet with my friends in Fukuoka, since the night bus they were taking was filled up.  But that just meant that I got to take the Shinkansen, or bullet train.  It was a really awesome experience and I recommend that everyone take the shinkansen at least once while they’re in Japan.

We didn’t do too much in Fukuoka, mostly shopping.  While we were in Fukuoka, we did stop in a small town called Dazaifu, where we saw a few shrines and temples.  Dazaifu is also where I got to see my first sakura (cherry blossoms) of the season!

After Fukuoka, we went to Beppu,which is home to more than 2,000 onsen.  The first day we decided to try a sand bath, the one that we went to had a view of the ocean.  Essentially, you are buried in sand that has been heated by the geothermal steam.  The next day, we went to an onsen that served food that was cooked using the geothermal steam.

After Beppu, we went to Kumamoto to see Kumamoto Castle.  There were so many sakura, and it was absolutely beautiful.  Kumamoto Castle is one of the largest castles, if not the largest, in Japan.

The final stop was in Nagasaki.  Of course, we went to the Peace Memorial, the Atomic Bomb Museum, and the Peace Park.  It was a surreal feeling, knowing that we were walking through streets that had been leveled in a second.  The Peace Memorial was beautiful, and had a lot of information about the bombing and other atomic incidents around the world.

One of the first exhibits that you see in the Atomic Bomb Museum is a clock from the bombing, that stopped on the exact time that the bomb hit Nagasaki.  Throughout the museum, there are accounts from that day, in addition to some donated objects, such as a melted collection of bottles, clothes, and coins.  It was definitely an informative experience to say the least.

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