The next morning, at the Hotel Kinparo in Shin-Yatsushiro, we woke up to yet another breakfast feast…

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…before heading down to the onsen to make the most of it that morning.

Soon enough though it was time to hit the road and we had one spot, in particular, we wanted to visit before heading over to our very next ryokan.

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Actually, below is a 45-second video of the stuff we got up to here. 😀 (Hopefully, the video will provide even more context into what it looks like in Kyushu).

Anyhoooo, said spot was the Mizuhogiku Brewery, to get our hands on some pretty great sake!

Our visit here actually started with a first-hand look at how sake is made and it essentially involves cooking a whole lotta rice (like a lot!) before then essentially introducing mould to the sake which will eventually ferment it, releasing the alcohol and making the sake that we’d already gotten to taste on the Aru Ressha Sweet Train.

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You also find out here that there’s waaaaaaay more to sake than we realise at home. There’s cloudy sake (Nigorizake) which is essentially not as finely filtered (ergo the cloudiness), Namazake – an unpasteurised sake, Genshu – an undiluted sake which is understandably much stronger than the regular sake you’d typically buy and sooooo much more!

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Of course, learning about this involves a fair bit of tasting which I didn’t need to be asked twice to do. I’ve always like sake on our travels anyway so being able to go right to the roots of where it’s made in Japan (or at least one of them) was just brilliant. 😀

Leaving the Mizuhogiku brewery (fairly merrily, I might add), we headed over to Taiyoshi for lunch of sashimi and other veritable delights I was starting to get really used over the past few days in Kyushu.

(*Still couldn’t name some of them though – seriously, I could fill a book with the names of all the stuff we’d eaten thus far – it just so varied and a real eye-opener to how much more there is to Japanese food than we get at home in the UK).

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Lunch over and done with, we head over to Seiryuan in Akizuki, our final Ryokan of the trip (we still had one more night after this but we’d be in the city so would be staying at a regular hotel).

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Seiryuan was one of those places that just made us go “WOW!” at every turn! It felt like someone had taken us back in time in Japan to a really fancy Japanese home! (Or at least, what I’d like to think one looks like).

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I knew in advance that it was gonna be a really lovely place and was so glad that it was and that we’d arrived early to enjoy this.

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Seeing as we had a few hours free before dinner, onsens were the first order of business of which, each room (at least the ones we had) had it’s very own private onsen too.

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You even had a contraption which I think is like a compact sauna? (I wasn’t sure what it was and didn’t even ask so I still have no clue what it’s for – the onsen was more than enough for me. 😀 ).

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Eventually though, we decided to take a break from much-onsen’ing and head for a walk in the woods…

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…before eventually making our way back to Seiryuan for an absolutely delicious dinner, brilliantly paired with sparkling and regular sake!

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And with that, we decided to call it a night! This day was perhaps one of the more ‘lighter’ days we’d had since we’d arrived but it was absolutely perfect! Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back, relax and properly take everything all in rather slowly. 😀

Catch you in the next post! 😀


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