Cranes along the Kagoshima coast

January 3, 2012

My final day in Kagoshima-ken dawned overcast and rainy.  Hayamizu-san kindly picked me up at the hotel and we took off north for a beautiful, if wet, drive along the coast.

We pulled off along the road to admire a rock anthropomorphized with a garland around its ‘neck’, perhaps a Buddhist icon.

The coast here reminded me of parts of the California coast: rugged cliffs with beachs interspersed.

It was giant citrus season, でこぽん (dekopon), which apparently is becoming popular in California.

Vendors along the road hawked winter fruits, including the でこんぽん.

A torii graced a haystack rock.

We came upon the town of Izumi famous for its painted shop shutters, as well as its migratory population of cranes.

Totoro stood guard at a Family Mart bus stop.  (I missed photographing the Totoro-shaped bushes at a grocery store in Satsuma-sendai-shi!)

We stopped at the bird observatory, overlooking feeding grounds for flocks of giant cranes.

A map showed these birds’ migratory patterns between China, Korea, and Japan.  The cranes used to winterover in Korea, until the locals began feeding them in Japan.  Your tax yen at work to feed these giant flying avians.

Several types of birds visible in winter.

The requisite cartoon map of Izumi (いずみ or 出水; inundation of water, or flooding/freshet).

We then proceeded to the large crane museum in the area, its architecture echoing the shape of the birds’ feathers.

It being January 3, traditional New Year’s decorations graced the exterior of the museum: bamboo, conifer boughs, other greenery, hemp rope, and Satsuma mandarins.

Inside the museum were many examples of cranes, some of them made out of paper cranes.

Compare the size of the egg to the adult bird.

Other birds of the area.  Is that a pheasant?

Interior architecture, again, echoing the bird’s wings.

People bending over to look at a 3D map under glass.

The origami here was stunning.  How many connected cranes could you fold out of a single piece of paper?

I boarded the Shinkansen and headed north and east toward the main island of Japan, grateful for the opportunities to go sightseeing in Kyushu like a local, along the coast and away from the main train tracks.   ありがとうございます、 Hayamizu-san!

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