Aircraft Spotting in Japan - Iwakuni-Fukuoka
Day 7, Iwakuni - Fukuoka, 05/11
Patrick and Florian woke up quite early in our Honda that day, but I was totally tired and decided to sleep on the rear seat during our drive to Iwakuni. The highway to Iwakuni was closed due to a landslide and we had to take a long detour that did cost us nearly one hour. The airfield at Iwakuni was quickly, though not easily, found and we spotted three Shin Meiwas on the apron there. The chances for some flights of them even on a Saturday were given and we decided to stay there for some time. I finally got awake there and had a warm coffee on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
After some time we got bored and worried about the long distances to the airfield. No activity in sight and also the chances to take some nice photos of the rescue flying boat even with our long lenses seemed very low.
For another time our schedule was modified and we hit the road again to leave the main Japanese island and to cross the bridge for the southern island, Kyhusu. The drive was one of the few during daylight for us and we enjoyed the scenic landscape with a lot of hills and Bamboo forests. Fukuoka, the main city on Kyushu, the land became more populated again and in the city we encountered our first "double-decker highways".
At the civil airport we were able to photograph two nice surprises on form of a rare civil operated YS-11 of "Japan Air Commuter" (JAC) and a L1011 TriStar of "Thai Sky Airways". In the civil terminal we also had a look at the visitor's deck, which is behind thick and dirty glass, thus not suitable for good photography, and did check our emails at an Internet terminal.
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During the afternoon it got more and more hazy and the light was really bad, so that we left to Tsuiki quite early. Crossing the island was really nice and we enjoyed once more a scenic landscape, because we had a lot of time…With some small stops the 60km trip took nearly 3h. But it was worth it, with the ricefields along the road, typical Japanese houses, some industry and everywhere there was a smoky smell in the air.
Exceptionally the youth hostel, that we also called while we were on our way, was found really fast that day, but that time no one spoke English there. That coincided with the fact that it was a real Japanese one and we had to spend the night on rice mats again. Fortunately we learned from the last stay on how to use the mattresses properly and would not have an aching back the next morning. Furthermore Patrick and Florian got used to the "Eastern Style" as there were no western toilets available. Before going to bed we once again we took a nice and warm Japanese bath and went to bed at 8.30pm. At that time it also started to rain, as it was also predicted on the internet forecast that we saw in the afternoon. Of course we were worried with the show the next day but hoped that the rain might stop sometimes during the night.