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Arriving in Kagoshima on the afternoon before departure, I was lucky enough to get both great weather and a great hotel room at an amazingly cheap price, with a view of volcanic (former island) Sakurajima from the balcony. The great weather was not to last, though, as a typhoon suddenly changed course and brought unexpected drama to the first half of the trip.

From Kagoshima, I headed due south on the very pretty Ibusuki Skyline (also called the Ibusuki Yuryo Doro or Toll Road), which is a bit of a climb to get to but has great views of Kagoshima and the greenery to the south. You can take this all the way to the bottom of the island and circle a pretty cinder cone called Kaimondake (we don’t have any photos, but try doing a web image search). On this trip, I went only halfway and then exited the toll road to head west to the coast.

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