Cookies   I display ads to cover the expenses. See the privacy policy for more information. You can keep or reject the ads.

Video thumbnail
I'm at Kagoshima guys.
The view is absolutely amazing.
The view is so good.
View, it's just the best view ever.
The view is just so...
amazing. I'm sorry.
Ahh, it's so good.
I just...
Yeah it's really good view.
Since the dawn of time and space, I've been travelling across Japan.
My journeys taken me through wind and rain.
Jaw-dropping landscapes.
Together we met the most amazing people.
Hell, we even got some free biscuits.
But the never-ending journey that started many weeks ago in Yamagata prefecture in North Japan,
has come to an end.
And against the odds we've reached our final destination,
the city of Kagoshima in South Kyushu.
How is my journey affected me though?
Did I actually lose any weight?
And do I regret it at all?
These are all questions that need answering in detail.
But not today,
even though the answer is yes, yes, and yes.
Because today we've got just 24 hours to explore the city of Kagoshima,
from becoming the most elite swordsman, who ever lived, in just two hours.
And sampling Kagoshima's award-winning wagyu beef,
to lazing around in a traditional Japanese public bathhouse.
Kagoshima has one of the most unique and instantly recognizable skylines in all of Japan.
Thanks to the smoldering, Sakurajima Volcano lurking out in the bay,
regarded as Japan's most active volcano, and eloquently translating as cherry blossom Island.
It's not uncommon here for the locals to walk around with umbrellas in defense
against the raining ash that often falls down upon the city.
Sakurajima is one of 16 volcanoes on a UN special watch list,
alongside Italy's Mount Vesuvius, which famously destroyed Pompeii.
Although fortunately Kagoshima has yet to face such an event.
In the meantime though, the volcano and its seismic surroundings
could be as much a blessing as a curse, as we'll find out later on during our day.
Our first stop though is to meet up with Alex, a fellow British expat living in Kagoshima,
who's promised to finish off what's left of me off my lengthy journey
by introducing me to the local martial arts.
Jigen-ryu is an elite school of swordsmanship,
dating back to the 16th century and unique to Kagoshima.
Started by an undefeated swordsman, who is said to have won 146 duels.
At the core of Jigen-ryu is the one strike strategy, whereby practitioners are trained
to incapacitate opponents in just one brutal strike.
So important is this technique that unlike other martial arts,
practitioners aren't even trained how to lure or defend against an opponent.
After all, there's no better defense than chopping your enemy clean in half
before they've even had a chance to make fun of your mum.
Under the tutelage of Alex's master, Arimura sensei,
I've got just one morning to learn the key techniques.
- So, try to cut along the line of his jacket.
That's it.
Concentrate on training forwards...
instead of going backwards.
When you finished cutting, there should be over 2 fist width away from your...
So, someone joins Jigen-ryu they'd have to do this kind of basic practice
for about 6 months before they move on to the next next stage.
- How many months I'll be doing this before... - Six month or half a year...
- Six months of this? Perfecting this?
- Yeah.
- Good lord.
- See buddy, there's a lot of things you don't really notice until you kind of focus
and, you know, trying to find out those bad habits.
- All the little things I've gotta try and take into consideration.
Your posture, your hands, where your hands are, the end of the blade.
It's all those things...
at 10 o'clock in the morning.
To become amongst the most formidable swordsman in all of Japan,
historically a master Jigen-ryu would practice daily by striking a wooden post
not once, not twice, but 11,000 times a day.
3,000 times in the morning, and 8,000 at night.
Pretty good stress relief.
And yet, for me the hardest thing was plucking up the courage to carry out
the unnerving scream that accompanies the attack.
- Shout, "EEEEEEEE!".
- I'm more worried about doing the "EEEEEE!" than the....
Cause I know I'm gonna go "AaAaAaA~!".
- So, in Jigen-ryu, there's a say :
never doubt the first strike; the second strike will lose.
So you put everything behind the first cut.
- (weak scream) Eeeee.
- (Arimura-sensei screams) EEEEEE!
- (unconvincing scream) EEEEE!
- So the reason we walk like this, in 'suriashi', is because if there are
any obstacles on the floor, like rocks or glass or something like that,
you can kind of feel them out before you step on them.
Also to kind of keep your movement from going up and down like this.
It's better to have balance while you're walking so that you can strike at any time.
So they're kind of main reasons for doing 'suriashi.
(screaming relentlessly)
- (screaming energetically).
(screaming enthusiastically)
- (screaming softly)
My legs have been finished off from cycling, and now my arms are screwed as well,
as well as my hands.
How many of these are you supposed to do in a day?
- Well I used to do 3,000 in the morning, and then 8,000 in the afternoon or the evening.
- 3000 in the morning,
8,000 evening,
11,000 times.
I'm now struggle to do...
11 times.
So after practice, just sweep the floor to cover your tracks,
and that requires a little bit of concentration.
My favorite thing was the foot movement.
Like their reasoning behind the foot movement for feeling out the ground before,
you feeling for glass or anything that could injure you,
where you sorta slide across, glide across the ground.
As you do this, you could see why it takes so many years to perfect and become perfect.
Something I can't really do in one morning.
Having become the greatest swordsman who ever lived in just two hours,
I reward myself by escaping to one of Kagoshima's public bathhouses.
Ahh... Haven't done this enough on the cycle,
sit in a hot spring.
This is a public bath, or 'sentou', in the middle of Kagoshima City,
just around the corner from where we're doing the sword fighting.
And it feels a little bit like I've gone back to the 1950s or something.
1950s style adverts and artwork.
It is about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, so not many people come here this time of day.
Hence I got the whole place to myself
In recent years, 'sentou' public bathhouses have become a bit of a faded tradition,
with people choosing to bathe at home instead.
I tend to find the suburban bath houses that remain today as something of a
nostalgic atmosphere of faded glory.
And that faded glory comes at a reasonable price as well.
This one costs just ¥370 to enter, and comes equipped with
an old-fashioned massage chair, and of course a fridge packed with Pocari sweat.
But here it's the hot spring water that takes center stage.
And Kagoshima may live in the shadow of a constantly smoldering volcano,
but living upon such a seismically active landscape does come with some benefits.
Essentially the city is one big hot spring,
with over 2,000 hot spring sources spread across town.
And so whilst most public bath houses in Japan simply use heated tap water,
this bath pumps the mineral-rich hot spring water from deep beneath the city.
It may look like your average 'sentou' bath house,
but it's actually a premium hot spring in disguise.
It's funny.
Normally, when you come to a place like this
and ask the owner for permission to film, they'd say "NO".
Especially during the day.
You have to come in at 3 a.m at night, which is why most of my onsen,
hot spring scenes are filmed at like 3 or 4 a.m in the morning.
This place, the owner just didn't care.
No, there's two guys who are in it now
But the owner is like,
"yeah, film whatever you want, do what you want".
Yeah, people in Kagoshima seem a bit more relaxed, laid-back
and open-minded towards cameras.
Or they just don't care, I don't know.
If you find stripping down naked in a Japanese bath house a bit too daunting though,
Kagoshima does have an exciting alternative.
It's the only place in Japan, where you can be buried alive
in geothermally heated volcanic sand.
it all comes down to personal preference
Would you rather relax in a soothing hot spring bath,
or be buried alive in a pile of sand?
What would you rather do?
Leave a comment below.
If the hot springs or the steaming sand hasn't piqued your interest so far though,
the 1950s retro massage chair definitely will.
On a scale of 1 to retro massage chair...
Look at this...
What's that about...
30 pence.
Is it a retro massage chair, or is it a retro torture device?
Let's find out
Something quite creepy about that.
Most Japanese massage chairs are very sophisticated.
This bit is hidden, concealed behind the chair itself.
This just looks like well...
It just looks wrong.
Let's do this.
You can't really sink into it like a proper massage chair,
because this big stick it out
It's manual, so use this handle here...
Feels like administering some sort of torture device
to yourself, because you could...
Oh my god...
Just gotta find the right spot.
There we go.
Oh wow.
Who knew something so simple could bring you so much joy.
First thing I do when I get back from this never-ending Journey Across Japan,
I'm gonna buy a massage chair.
Because it's the one thing I really need my life - a massage chair.
If I had a massage chair, anything would be possible.
Best ¥30 I've ever spent, definitely.
Now if you're a regular viewer of the Abroad In Japan channel,
you'll probably know I don't eat a whole lot of wagyu beef.
It's incredibly rare.
But seeing as Kagoshima's Wagyu beef recently won the Japanese Wagyu Olympics,
it makes sense to try it just this one time.
Favourite dining experience in all of Japan, teppanyaki every single time.
It's both an art form watching it theatrically being cooked before you,
and torture because it's so damn close and you want it now
but you can't and it's just argh,
but then when it's here before you, beautifully laid out like artwork,
it's worth the wait entirely.
The people of Kagoshima are very proud of Kagoshima beef,
and they should be.
It's won the Japan Wagyu Olympics.
For the next five years, this is the number one beef in all Japan
as chosen by the experts of Wagyu beef across the land.
Here we go.
Holy crap that's so good, it's really good.
Oh, wow.
You know what guys, my picture today,
my mind for weeks, months on end, the last day of the trip, what's it going to look like?
I pictured rolling into Kagoshima, the red carpet out,
the crowds cheering, the fireworks display, and a lot of fireworks display and all that,
and yet today's been better than all of those daydreams I have.
Eating wagyu beef, having a sword fight, relaxing at an onsen,
even if I can't hold the beer straight because my arm is shaking
because of the sword fighting earlier.
It's been an amazing day and I've really enjoyed them.
I've got a list of places, I made a list of places I visited on this trip
that I'd like to go to again, Kagoshima is right near the top.
Like I'm definitely coming back here to explore it more.
This is what it's all about, sitting alone eating wagyu beef,
relaxing in a room whilst my team of four or five people sit around me
in envy, looking in envy and anger and despair, as I eat this one of the beef.
We've got Chris Okano...
- Oh, hey.
- Sharla In Japan over there, John over there...
and may just have to sit there and stand and watch as I...
just enjoy myself.
That's the way, isn't it?
Well guys, I've had such an amazing day in Kagoshima,
waited so long for this, to be stood here,
looking out across the bay towards Sakurajima.
It couldn't have ended any better.
Thank you so much to all of you for being a part of Journey Across Japan,
for following me across 2,000 kilometers.
We've seen so much, we've met so many incredible people.
Thank you to all my guests as well,
and thank you to every person, every stranger we've met along the way.
The foods, the places, the people, it's been one hell of an adventure.
There's gonna be one more video coming out after this,
when the dust has settled in a few weeks, the epilogue to the trip
where I'll talk about how it affected me, spiritually, mentally, physically.
But for now guys, a huge thanks for being
a part of Journey Across Japan.
I'll see you all again very soon.
They'll roll the credits, one last time.
Play that amazing song.
At last old friend, we meet again.