First city on the road trip was a small port city called Usuki in Oita Prefecture. Usuki port is where the Kyushuu-Shikoku ferry lands, so I’ve been through there a few times, but I’ve never had time to explore. So while I was vaguely familiar with the area, I didn’t know all of the cool things that lurked there. Thankfully, Deepa, the trip coordinator, had it all planned out.
Stop #1: Stone Buddhas
Stop #2: Castle Ruins
Stop #3: Historic Street
This street has been kept as free of technology as possible. According to our trip coordinator, the city has even restricted the number of street lights that can be put up in this area.
While wandering around we we invited into stores not once, but twice for a bit of tea. The first shop keeper didn’t really speak to us (I think she was nervous) but she insisted that we come in and have some tea. The second shopkeeper prepared us matcha (green tea powder used for tea ceremonies) in the tea ceremony style, complete with awesome special cups and a whisk.
After we had exhausted all that Usuki had to offer, we hopped back into the car for a short drive to the prefecture’s capital, Oita. About half an hour away from the city, we all started to get too hungry to continue. Thankfully, my handy dandy phone led us to a mall. Where we just happened to see a couple of gymnasts performing in the middle of this open-air mall.
And some video:
We had dinner at a Korean place (which was delicious) and then split up for shopping. After obtaining a much needed new baseball cap at Sports Authority, we all met back up and headed to the hotel.
Unfortunately, because of Golden Week, there were only two rooms available in Oita. So we booked two tiny doubles. The three girls (Deepa, Cassie, and I) were in the one room (I had a comfy little nest on the ground) and Drew was in the other.