by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Journeys : Dec 2012 Jan 2013
wdeon / Shutterstock.com Chris Viney T his slender finger of mountainous land (the name means 'end of the Earth') pokes out into the Sea of Okhotsk on the extreme north-eastern corner of Hokkaido. Listed as a World Heritage Area, the peninsula packs a lot of landscape into a small area -- steep sea crags, a chain of volcanic peaks, lakeside walking trails and even a hot waterfall. Wildlife is abundant and occasionally dangerous -- Japanese brown bears are regularly encountered by hikers in Shiretoko's forests. Even on the popular tracks, I feel more comfortable dangling bells from my backpack -- other walkers play radios loudly. The only bear I find in Shiretoko is in company with a sea lion and a park ranger, although only the two native animals are on the menu at a backstreet restaurant in the village of Utoro. Marinated and char-grilled, the bear tastes delicious, but the sea lion, surprisingly, is on the dry side. After dinner, we go fishing, Shiretoko- style -- the park ranger drives down close to the water on the concrete ramp at the tow n port, shining her headlights into the inky slop. Dip-net in hand, I wait for the sardine-sized fish that she assures me will be attracted to the light. No fish appear and I'm quietly thankful -- what could I do with them in a tent? K agoshima, in Kyushu's souther nmost prefecture, has an Australian twin city --wandering along Perth-dori towards the port, I see that this attractive and spacious city does indeed have echoes of the Wester n Australian capital. But Kagoshima has something else that would surely give Perth a bit more attitude in the landscape department -- a huge smoking volcanic cone, smack in the middle of a bay on the city's doorstep. The 'cherry blossom island' of Sakurajima is 40 kilometres in circumference and over 1000 metres high. The volcano is quiet during my visit but the residents of Kagoshima often need umbrellas on days of heavy ash-fall and the city's gardeners are quick to pop paper bags over the blooms of their camellias. I take the 15 minute ferry trip to Sakurajima and join a bus that circumnavigates the island. The road is under constant repair, crossing recent streams of solid, ropey lava. The rich volcanic soil grows enor mous daikon radishes, bigger than basketballs -- and oddly enough, is also the source of the world's smallest mandarins, thin-skinned and sweet. In a Kagoshima bar that night I sample pickled daikon and another specialty of southern Kyushu -- sakuraniku, 'cher ry blossom meat', which the menu translates bluntly as 'raw horse'. The traditional accompaniment is shochu, a fiery rice spirit that makes the horse slide down dangerously fast. Hokkaido Shiretoko Kyushu Sakurajima Shutterstock.com Chris Viney December 2012 / January 2013 19 Destinations
Oct Nov 2012
Feb Mar 2013