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Satsuma Fuji and JR's Southernmost Station, Nishi-Oyama

Spectacular scenery at the southern edge of Japan

Ino Tadataka was a merchant, astronomer, and cartographer in the Edo period (1603-1868). A remarkable achievement of this map-making pioneer was surveying the entire country of Japan after his retirement at age 55. He died at age 73 before he could complete the Nihon Enkai Yochizu, The Map of Japan, more accurate and detailed. The cartographer's life and works are on display at the Inoh Tadataka Museum in Katori City, Chiba Prefecture. One location that Ino stopped at was Banjobana Park (番所鼻自然公園) on the Satsuma Peninsula in Kagoshima Prefecture. It was this place that Ino Tadataka called "the best view in the world".

With this knowledge in mind, I had visited twice before. Unfortunately, on those previous visits, it was raining. But on my third visit, I could see the view of the morning sun I had long waited for. And I was able to capture in photos that magnificent view which would have made the great cartographer of Japan swoon.

After enjoying the early morning light at Banshobana, I headed to JR Nishioiyama Station, the southernmost station in Japan. It is about a 20-minute drive from the park and along the way, there are yet more beautiful sights. Within view is Kaimondake, Mount Kaimon, a point of pride among the local people. Known as the Mt Fuji of Kyushu for its impressively beautiful conical shape, the views of the mountain itself was truly spectacular. On the visit, it was silhouetted against a bright blue sky. At the foot of the mountain, the yellow spring nanhohana flowers were in full bloom. It was simply breathtaking to take your time exploring the mountainside. The arrival of a small train at the station was like a spring breeze through the yellow blooms.

The train seemed to bring the arrival of spring that everyone waits for. Before I knew it, the number of photos in my gallery had swelled.

Combine your trip with a visit to Nagasakibana Cape near Nishi Oyama Station. At the cape is the vermillion Ryugu Shrine overlooking the ocean with views of Mount Kaimon.

Getting there

JR Nishi-Oyama Station is a 2-hour train journey from Kagoshima Chuo Station

Banshobana Nature Park is a 15 minute walk south of Mizunarikawa Station on the Ibusuki Makurazaki Line.

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