What I bought & Wardrobe diaries: February 2019

New in

Celine Trotteur bag (black, compact, pre-owned via eBay): Iโ€™ve loved the Trotteur bag for a long time but the small size (the size order is small, compact, medium), which I think looks the best, simply wouldn’t fit enough for me, and I don’t like the medium size nearly as much. I didn’t actually know about the compact size until recently. I jumped when I saw this from an Australian seller in near-new condition (sticker still on the back of the chevron plate), and got it authenticated before purchasing. The price is generally cheaper than what this bag typically goes for on the pre-owned market. From the receipt, the bag was purchased for $2550 in 2017. The compact size doesnโ€™t look quite as cute the small, but I can almost fit my bare essentials, haha. The issue with the scaling of the size is not so much the dimensions from the front, but the depth is similar to the small size, and it’s really shallow so you can only really fit things on top of each other. Technically black was not one of the two colours I had always dreamed of owning the Trotteur in but I really couldn’t pass this item up considering the pre-owned market for Celine these days. The Trotteur was one of two bags at the top of my wishlist but Celine discontinued it during Phoebeโ€™s run before I could go ahead and purchase it. I had a bit of a saga with this bag after purchasing it as it started travelling to the wrong destination during postage. Thankfully she arrived safe and sound! (I did offer $1700 but the seller declined) $1800 – $75 promotion + $14.55 shipping = 1739.55

Frame Denim Le High Skinny Triangle Jean (“Sulham” mid-wash blue, 26): I wanted some high-waisted jeans and was quite interested to try Frame Denim. I went to David Jones the other weekend to try on AG’s high-waisted “Farrah” skinnies and Frame Denim’s high-waisted skinnies. Frame Denim seems about half a size smaller (than AG) so the 26 worked better than my usual AG size 25 (last year I purged all my jeans after discovering and purchasing AG “The Legging” jeans in three colours – they’ve changed my life as I always hated jeans until then). This particular pair I purchased is not the particular style I tried, but I found these on sale from this website I’ve never used before. I noticed Frame Denim was still going for around $100 on the pre-owned market and there were very few pairs floating around. Notably, the material has a lower percentage of cotton compared to the one I tried on in store – similar to AG’s “The Legging” in cotton percentage, but the material is noticeably softer and feels more like a jegging, whereas AG “The Legging” feels really sturdy and “denim-y” (they’re so awesome!). This pair does retail for less than most of the Le High Skinny range so maybe I should have figured that out. I’m pretty happy with them though and they are really really comfortable. I would love to pick up a darker wash or black in the higher cotton content if I find I good deal. Since I have pretty short legs, I will be re-hemming these jeans straight, because I am not a raw hem or triangle hem kind of person. However I enjoyed horrifying T with them and letting him think I was going to wear them like that. $135

Equipment Shiloh silk shirt (black and white vertical pinstripe, XS): To be honest I found Order of Style because I was originally looking at the Equipment Slim Signature silk shirt IN CACTUS PRINT. I saw it pre-owned on eBay and definitely hyperventilated. If I don’t win the auction in a few days, I’ll be buying it new (hopefully the last one doesn’t sell). I did see this Shiloh shirt in a decent price and quite liked the stripes. After trying this on, I much prefer the Signature shirts. I could immediately tell I liked the cut of the Signature shirts more because they are longer. I can’t put my finger on it but they just look nicer. I probably didn’t need this shirt, especially as I will hopefully get the cactus print one, but it’s not really worth sending back especially as silk shirts are such a workhorse in my wardrobe. $108.80

February 2019 total: AU$1983.35 (!!)

Other purchases and returns

I made a significant order from The Outnet when they had their Chinese New Year 15% promotion. Their 15% off sale comes around every few months and I was waiting to make this order just in case they would have a site-wide sale for Chinese New Year. Thankfully it happened as I would have made this order on the same day if they didn’t run the promotion (although it wouldn’t have mattered since I returned everything).

Proenza Schouler Wool-blend twill coat (black, 0): This coat grew on me after I passed it on the site a few times. I wanted size 2 because I thought there was no way I would be a size 0, especially as I would want to fit chunky winter clothes underneath. I tried to find more pictures online and thought mayyybe size 0 could work since it looks oversized. I contacted The Outnet for measurements and they could not help me. I decided to just try size 0. It completely swamped me. It was not cool and slightly oversized on me. I just looked like a teepee. I think it’s because I have sloping shoulders so can’t pull off a dropped shoulder garment. Also I think it weighed about 2kg. I was quite disappointed because I had looked at it several times a day for few weeks and was going to buy it without the 15% off promotion. The fact that I had to find ways to convince myself it was nice and I spent an hour trying on winter clothes in the middle of summer to try and make it work was a clear indication that it was not for me. It had to go back (and my first experience of the returns process for The Outnet, which is completely free, was positive). Reduced from $2210 to $884, minus 15% off = $751.40

Joseph cotton-terry sweatshirt (grey, S): This looks sooo cute on the website. I sized up because XS was sold out. Unfortunately when the bow was tied up, the neckline sat uncomfortably high. I also thought the jumper itself was a bit longer but it was a bit cropped. Also why didn’t I realise earlier that of course I would not be able to tie it myself (I’m horrible at tying things). There was no question about returning this. Reduced from $185 to $86, minus 15% off = $71.30

I also made a huge order from Jigsaw, which is a brand I’ve been liking for their quality but their fit and sizing tends to run a bit large (especially for tailored items). I ordered everything in two sizes to try on in case I wanted a looser fit. I ordered the polo neck top in two sizes for me and two sizes for my Mum. I sent everything back except one polo neck for my Mum.

Jigsaw Cotton Cashmere Stripe Jumper (“Eucalyptus”, XS and S): This is 85% cotton and 15% cashmere so definitely the kind of material I love for jumpers. It felt beautiful. There was a hole on one of them at the stitching which I think was poor design on where to join the fabric. I would have kept the XS (the S one has the hole and it was too boxy anyway) except I had mistakenly thought it was a dark navy or black, but the stripes are a really dark green and I didn’t like the colour. $89

Jigsaw Silk Cotton Polo Neck Jumper (grey, XS and S for me, S and M for my Mum). This is 80% silk and 20% cotton. I found it a bit itchy actually, but my neck is extremely and annoyingly sensitive to fabrics (I call my neck the ultimate fabric snob). My Mum doesn’t find it itchy at all. Boy this runs slim though. I would have chosen S or M. Due to the material, this was a “no” from me, but my Mum liked the one in S so I bought it for her. $89

Jigsaw V-Neck Silk Mix Top (white, XS and S): I wanted a simple white sleeveless blouse to replace my polyester one that my Mum keeps telling me is too old and I should get rid of it. I don’t agree but I do dislike the quality and fabric. I can’t remember which size I tried on in this top. This was an immediate “no” because the back was a really see-through kind of jersey material that made it look so cheap (and inappropriate for work). $64

Other updates

I gave that Saba silk dress from last month to my Mum. It looks much better on her and she loves the colour. She added some darts in the back. I’m glad this piece went to a better home because the material is really lovely. But it remains in my shopping tally since I purchased it for myself.

I also gave my Mum my Equipment silk shirt dress in a pink abstract print (purchased pre-owned). This was the first piece I picked up from Equipment, in size S. It is big on me so that’s how I learnt my sizing for Equipment, haha. I brought this and an XS shirt to my Mum to see her sizing for Equipment (also XS), but she fell in love with this shirt dress so I gave it to her.

A pair of Hush Puppies heeled sandals I decided many months ago to part with (brand new) sold via eBay. I don’t know why I thought it would be practical to own black high heel sandals “just in case”. It’s doesn’t work for my problematic feet. Minus eBay and Paypal fees, +$24.48

I also decided to cull a white Cue shirt. It was purchased pre-owned and is honestly such an uncomfortable polyester material. I would never wear it on its own except becauses there is so much static. I was wearing it under jumpers but the material is really uncomfortable and stuffy. It didn’t look like it was in great condition so I didn’t put it up for sale.

Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 (Day 5 – Yakushima)

See: Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 itinerary and intro

Day 5: January 22

We awoke to a glorious day of blue skies! We were so lucky to have gotten all the driving out of the way the day before and would be able to go hiking today in dry weather! It didn’t rain all day! Although I had specifically brought waterproof gear for Yakushima, including borrowing my cousin’s (large and heavy) waterproof hiking boots, I was definitely glad to see dry weather for hiking.



We had lunch at Yakudon, which featured a lot of really intricate and impressive cedar wood sculptures. My lunch set featured flying fish tempura. I had never heard of flying fish before and was incredibly amused when I watched them on Youtube – guys, FLYING FISH! We discovered it was quite a thing in Yakushima as the flying fish industry is based in Anbo (an area in Yakushima).


(Me, the driver, constantly wanting to stop to take photos.)

After lunch, we drove to Shiratani Unsuikyou, a nature park which features many famous yakusugi (Yakushima Cedars). The walk/hike wasn’t difficult though there are long stretches between major yakusugi where paths aren’t built (either no path at all or just small logs positioned as steps), and you just rely on strategically tied red ribbons to know that you’re still going the right way (as well as judging based on the ground what would logically be the “path”). I think we saw many one or two people during our 3 hour hike (see how the parking lot was empty except for our car). The park is just beautiful and so lush and green. We saw Yayoi-sugi (3000 years old), Nidai-oosugi and Sanbonashi-sugi (and possibly others that I didn’t jot down).















We then drove to dinner but since it was a bit early to eat, we decided to go see Yaku-jinja/Yaku Shrine. We did get lost walking to it and almost walked into someone’s house but he pointed us in the right direction. It quickly got dark and it was actually quite creepy there since it was so deserted and eery. Despite being “in town” by then, we didn’t see anyone on the streets except the man who gave us directions.


We went to Toyotsune for dinner and I chose a dinner set that also featured flying fish – gotta have the local specialty!

What I bought: January 2019

I didn’t expect this post to get delayed until now, but Lunar New Year has been hectic. Happy Lunar New Year if you celebrate! ๐Ÿ™‚

Uniqlo rayon short sleeve blouse (white, S): I purchased two sleeveless “new rayon” tops before Christmas and enjoyed the fit and ease of wash and wear. Obviously, the higher the polyester proportion, the less it’ll wrinkle. I think it wrinkles but looks like relaxed linen when dried on a hanger. I think it shrinks less than the old (100%) rayon, but there was still a tiny bit of shrinkage as evidence by the twisting at the hems (suggests some stitching and fabric shortcuts). I wash in cold and air-dry, but as I have sized up, it’s not noticeable (after the very slight shrinkage) and the overall looser fit is perfect for summer. This fabric is nowhere near as wrinkly as the old rayon blouses – I purged those from my wardrobe because they just shrank too much and were a pain to steam. I especially love this crisp white – it looks so chic. It’s also really light and breezy. I notice there is another shirt on the website that looks the same but with a different product code and is not reduced. This seems to happen a lot and I find the website rather confusing. Maybe one’s old season and one’s new season? No idea. The comfort and ease of maintenance is really good. Maybe not worth $40, but I’m happy with $30. Reduced from $39.90 to $29.90.

Uniqlo rayon sleeveless blouse (navy, S): Navy is another staple colour for me. I wanted it in this style (which I have in the wine colour and love the fit of), but it was sold out in the colour and size I wanted. I have this same style in black, but the navy is so dark I have trouble telling the two apart. Again, there appears to be the same style with a non-reduced price and I’m not sure what the difference is. With the four that I now own, I am basically wearing each one at least once a week and more if I get the washing done. They are just so easy for summer! Reduced from $39.90 to $29.90.

Uniqlo HEATTECH crew neck long sleeve tee-shirt (dark grey, S): The main reason for purchasing this was I needed to reach the free shipping threshold. I first tried Uniqlo’s HEATTECH almost ten years ago. I never enjoyed them and thought they made little difference. It’s been a while now and people always rave, so I think it’s time I gave these another shot. I haven’t opened them yet to try the size on, oops. I’m not sure if I should include thermals, but anyway… $19.90.

Uniqlo total: $79.70 minus expected cashback of $3.63 through Cashrewards = 76.07

Pre-owned Saba silk 3/4 sleeve dress (AU 8, via eBay and using the seller’s photo): I thought this was a steal for a silk dress in a pretty versatile and work-appropriate style. The shoulders are a bit puffy and I’m not sure if I’ll like that. It was listed as and I thought it was a really deep purple/eggplant colour. Instead in all lights it looks more dark brown to me (T also thinks it’s brown). I actually hate brown so I’m not sure I will end up keeping this because I just can’t bear the colour. I may pass it on to my Mum or sell it after washing it. I have to have a closer look and careful try-on after it’s been washed. I dumped it straight into the delicate wash laundry basket when I got it and it might take several weeks before we run a load for wool/silk items. $25.00 + $8.55 shipping = $33.55

January 2019 total: AU$109.62

Money Diary: #3 Back to the grind

I am trying to be more mindful of our finances starting this month as we really need to buckle down to save for a house in the next two years. I’ll not be counting my Airbnb expenses but I will note prices if I’m purchasing something.

Day 1: Monday 21 January

Usual morning routine – I pack breakfast (mango with yoghurt and muesli), lunch I cooked last night (kimchi rice, Japanese egg roll – tamagoyaki – and sugar snap peas), a banana, and a bag of spicy snap peas (my Mum can’t eat spicy food anymore so she gave them to me because they were going stale).

I drive to work as it’s a Monday and I visit my parents for dinner. I lend T my transport card.

Every Monday, money is taken out of T and my separate accounts to go into our joint bank account which we use for joint spending (cash and paying off credit cards). We decided this was the easiest method and usually there is enough money or else I will just have each of us deposit a bit more (I am the chief financial officer of the household, haha). This way we can still keep most of our money in our own mortgage offset accounts but there is a communal pool that is easy to access. I go ahead and pay off last month’s credit card bill.

After work, I visit my parents. When I leave, my Mum sends me off with lunch for the next day (rice, cabbage and carrot stir-fry, tofu, and a prawn-egg-corn dish) as well as her (slightly famous amongst friends) pork floss bread. She’s really into making it!

When I get home, I make T’s lunch for the next day. I make a pasta salad with corn, edamame, lettuce and egg (and I will add tuna the next morning).

Day 2: Tuesday 22 January

I add dressing and tuna to T’s lunch. I pack my own food – lunch from leftovers from my Mum, coffee, breakfast of nectarine with yoghurt and muesli.

I train to and from work today.

In the morning, I go down to Coles to get bin bags for my Airbnb ($2; the size I need has been sold out during our weekly shop for the last month – get your stock right, supermarkets!) and David Jones gift cards which are on offer with 10% added value. I was planning to get maybe $200 ($220 value) but they’re sold out. I should have taken this more seriously… argh!

After getting home from work, I make Japanese curry (potato, carrot and peas) with rice, which I cook with quinoa mixed in. We also pack our two lunches, but there is still some leftover curry (no rice)… I’ll think about it later. I also start making sponge cake because I want to have a second go at making mango cake (Natasha’s Kitchen recipe). I didn’t think I used enough filling for my first attempt at Christmas.

T is invited to go out and Pokemon Go raid for a bit and I want to go too. The cake-making is put on hold. (For anyone interested, we are playing hard in these two weeks because of an incredibly meta-relevant Pokemon)

After getting home again, I finish making the cake but I definitely put too much filling between the layers this time. Plus I don’t have time to cool everything in the fridge between steps so it’s a sloppy mess when I cut two slices for us to eat. I consider this attempt a bigger fail than last time and I am not going to try making this again because the recipe’s ratios are all wrong for me. The kitchen is a nightmare and T helps me clean up.

Day 3: Wednesday 23 January

I take my breakfast (peach with yoghurt and muesli today), curry lunch, banana and a slice of cake, which is holding itself together now that it’s cold.

I train to and from work.

I leave work early to go see my allergist and pick up my kit as I’m starting immunotherapy. It’s $120 and the Medicare rebate goes through overnight. $54.80 (personal account)

After I get home from work, I make tacos using the vegetable mixture I use to make vegetable puffs (I froze the leftover after making vegetable puffs for Christmas) and frozen crumbed fish (taco toppings are lettuce, cherry tomatoes, pickles and cheese)

After dinner we go and clean my Airbnb. I’ve gotten good at predicting which guests will give me a minor or major headache. I was right about this one. ๐Ÿ™

After we get home, I cut up nectarines and we eat that with some more mango cake.

Day 4: Thursday 24 January

I pack breakfast (peach with yoghurt and muesli), coffee, a banana and some Vegemite bagel chips.

I train to and from work.

For lunch, our department goes out to lunch to farewell our colleague. I’ve worked closely with her and I will really miss her. She’s returning to another country but will be working with us via distance. I order a breakfast tortilla ($19.50) and surprisingly, the boss pays for all of us!

As I’m leaving work, eBay notifies me that an item I am watching is ending. I put a lot of things on my watch list and most I’m not serious about and often just curious to see the final price. This one I will commit to if it sells low (near the asking price) as it’s a Saba silk dress and I’m a sucker for silk. It’s starting at $25 plus $8.55 shipping so I bid $33 as I’m only ready to pay a little over $40 for it. I’m the only bidder so I win! $33.55

It is like 42 degrees when I leave work and I think I’m going to die. I do make it home. It’s a mishmash dinner. I make a potato pasta salad with leftover pasta from Monday night, some vegetable dumplings from the freezer, and heat some pork floss bread from my Mum that I totally forgot about and now we need to hurry up and finish. I decide I’ll have to finish it for lunch the next day because I don’t think I should keep it much longer.

I have to have an icypole, and we somehow manage to finish the mango cake (T thinks we can’t keep it in the fridge any longer) but we do regret this decision…

Day 5: Friday 25 January

I pack breakfast (banana with yoghurt and muesli), coffee and lunch (leftover salad from taco night, and the remainder of the pork floss bread). I’m very please because we had enough leftover curry that T also took curry for Thursday’s lunch and today’s lunch. This marks the first week ever that we have not bought any lunches during the work week! It wasn’t intentional but I’m very happy.

I train to and from work. It’s also over 40 degrees today… ugh.

After I get home, I get to work making slow baked (boneless) beef ribs with onion, carrots and mushrooms. We bought some meat from Costco a few months ago, portioned and stored them in the freezer but actually I’m not good at cooking meat so I’ve been trying to work out how to cook this. The last attempt at slow-cooked ribs was pretty bad. This time I go with a slightly different approach. Unfortunately I realise we don’t have canned tomatoes or tomato paste (the former is my fault since we have a house inventory rule of putting items on a grocery list that is shared on both our phones when one opens or uses the last of an item, and I was the last to use the canned tomatoes). I send T out to get tomato puree and he comes back with a huge bottle. I make two cling film balls with the remainder that I don’t use and freeze. $2.75 but paid with a 5% off gift card so ~$2.61.

We eat close to 9pm, haha. We eat with some broccoli, but it’s not much food, oops. Also the beef wasn’t good. Braised beef isn’t a good weeknight idea.

Day 6: Saturday 26 January

It’s Australia Day today (and Monday is a public holiday in lieu).

We go to Louis for a (late) brunch. T gets the green chilli scrambled eggs ($18) and a latte ($4). I get the salmon baguette ($11 – I order this in an effort to be more frugal at brunch as I’m weary that we might eat out more than usual this long weekend if things get hectic…) and an iced latte ($4). The eggs are nice but not spicy at all, the salmon baguette is super stingy on the filling, and the iced latte is pretty horrible. $37

We spend all afternoon out and about (Pokemon Go) and pick up a slurpee from 7/11 to keep hydrated. $1

But by the time we get home at like 7:30pm, I am super hungry and dehydrated. T suggests we go have Vietnamese so we drive to Thanh Ha 2 (I’ve never been before). We get beef satay skewers ($8), and a broke rice dish each ($14 and $15) plus ice tea for me because I need to rehydrate as quickly as possible with sugar ($4.50). $41.50

Day 7: Sunday 27 January

We decide to eat in for lunch but don’t have much breakfast/lunch-friendly food. I make french toast (savoury because I never liked sweet french toast!) and some broccoli. I rationalise that we can pick up a snack in the afternoon since I’ll probably be hungry very soon. T gives me a blind taste text of the two coffee capsule brands I’ve been buying for the Nespresso machine. I can’t tell the difference because they are both so terrible so seems logical that I’ll just continue to buy whichever is more discounted (I think all capsules including Nespresso taste bad, but do not want to regularly pay for someone to make me coffee).

We spend all afternoon walking around the city again (Pokemon Go). The snack situation never eventuates but we grab another slurpee from 7/11. $1

For dinner, we visit T’s parents for our near-weekly catch up. We have chicken rice, loh bak, snow peas pumpkin shoots, and try the 2X spicy Samyang HEK Buldak chicken ramen. The ramen is painful and I go through half a glass of milk while almost crying. We also have fruits after dinner, including the best cherries I’ve had this season!

After dinner, we hurry to do our weekly grocery shop. I have $30 of rewards stacked up from spend-and-earn offers I’ve been doing for the past three weeks (it didn’t require us to spend more than we were already going to), but somehow the whole shop goes out of control because quite of lot of discounted meat that we talk ourselves into getting since the freezer is looking a bit empty. We usually buy meat when cheap to freeze in portions (T likes his meat so we try to keep the freezer stocked). We buy (deep breath): bulk-pack free range chicken thighs ($13.41 at $15.00/kg); 6-pack chicken, rosemary, thyme and chive sausages, 6-pack Italian beef and pork sausages, and 8-pack sweet and chilli chicken tenders (3 for $17 offer); organic chicken drumsticks ($4.67 on clearance as expiring); quarter red cabbage ($1.47); half green cabbage ($2.94); gold sweet potato ($3.94 at $5.00/kg); purple sweet potato ($3.48 at $5.50/kg); broccoli ($2.49 at $5.90/kg); a bunch of kale ($3.00); flat large mushrooms ($1.33 at $9.00/kg); nectarines ($3.07 at $3.00/kg); bananas ($2.84 at $2.00/kg); 700g wholemeal bread ($3.20); 750g sliced cheese ($8.75); Marion’s Kitchen Thai green curry and Thai red curry kits ($3.72 each – highly recommended by Ozbargain when it went half price this week so I want to try it!); 105g beef stock cubes ($2.60); 1kg iodised cooking salt ($1.09); 1kg yoghurt ($4.00); 3 cans 400g diced tomatoes ($0.60 each); 230g chipotle in adobo sauce ($4.50); 120-pack surface wipes ($5.00); 48-pack liners ($3.80). The total is $101.80 minus $30 of rewards, and we pay with a 5% discount gift card. I almost cry because I can’t believe our total grocery bill (minus rewards) is so high and can’t remember this happening before… $68.21

Notes on the grocery shop: the sweet potatoes broccoli were both very expensive but I did really want them (I love both so much!). Otherwise everything was pretty cheap, but we just bought a truckload of meat.

I also buy fresh milk for my upcoming Airbnb guests ($3.20 for 2L because they are staying a long time).

We retreat home and I’m still moping about how large the grocery bill was. I was really hoping it would be low considering we had $30 of rewards. ๐Ÿ™

Total spend: $239.67 ($184.87 joint account; $54.80 personal account)

We had the Thai green curry the other night and it was pretty good. I’m impressed! Even at half price, I find it a bit pricey so I’ll have to think about whether I’d repurchase.

Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 (Day 3 & 4 – Kagoshima, Sakurajima, Yakushima)

See: Travel: Japan Trip #4 2016 itinerary and intro

Day 3: January 20

In the morning, we took a bus to Sangen-en/Sangen Garden. The bus I wanted to take didn’t actually seem to exist (maybe I got the wrong information online) but I did find another bus. Sangen-en is another landscape garden which has stunning views of Sakurajima and Kagoshima Bay.

One of the cutest things I saw for the first time was the little straw huts that the Japanese use to cover plants in the winter! I found them so adorable!!!



We also witnessed this cute scene where the man in the pond (staff) was trying to catch a fish, and the other visitors were cheering him on. Everyone was very pleased when he succeeded in catching the fish.

We then took the bus to the Kagoshima ferry terminal that would take us to Sakurajima. I mentioned in the last post that I was really excited to come to Kagoshima in order to visit this active volcano and Yakushima, an island close to Kagoshima. These were major destinations I planned around for our visit to Kyushu. The ferry ride between Kagoshima and Sakurajima is only around 15 minutes, so it’s really close (and the reason why the town gets a lot of ash when the volcano erupts). After arriving at Sakurajima, there wasn’t much around so we walked up the hill to a cafeteria for a simple and quick lunch.


I love that they are keeping track of Sakurajima’s eruption frequency on this board. As you can see, it had been quiet thus far in January and T were personally quite disappointed that there were no eruptions during our time in Kagoshima. In fact, it erupted over a thousand times the previous year, and after we left, Sakurajima did erupt!





We walked the Nagisa Lava Trail (around 3km), then took a bus from the end of the trail to Yunohira Observation Point. The Nagisa Lava Trail starts near the ferry terminal, and winds through the lava zone created from the giant 1914 eruption, showing all the vegetation regrowth since then. The Yunohira Observation is the closest observation point to the crater (2.5km away) and also the tallest at 350m.

We took the bus back to the ferry terminal and returned to Kagoshima. I also purchased our ferry tickets to travel to and from Yakushima, where we would be going tomorrow.

We walked around Kagoshima, stopping at a shochu store to buy (shochu) souvenirs, and many conbini since it was a bit early to have dinner but I had no other plans.

For dinner, we had ramen at Tontoro Ramen, which was apparently one of the best ramen restaurants in Kagoshima.

Day 4: January 21

We took a very early taxi to the Kagoshima ferry terminal. It was just easier with our luggage and the time of day to take a taxi. Our ferry departed for Yakushima at 7:45am and took two hours. When we arrived at Yakushima Miyanoura terminal, we picked up our rental car. For this rental car, I would be driving! Yakushima is very hard to navigate without a car, and especially so in winter when public transport is more limited. The island is manageable to drive around though – only 135km.

Yakushima is a subtropical island covered in cedar trees and known to have Japan’s oldest trees. It is famous for raining “35 days a month” and its ancient cedar trees, especially Jomonsugi, which is estimated to be 2000 to 7500 years old and the is the main attraction of Yakushima. Visiting Jomonsugi is like a pilgrimage to the Japanese, and in peak season, the trail to Jomonsugi is so congested that there’s barely any gaps between hikers. The roundtrip hike takes around ten hours (or more depending where you start) but because of the reduced access and shorter daylight hours during winter, it was not a good idea to attempt this hike. However we are hoping to return to Yakushima in the future to do the Jomonsugi pilgrimage!

My plans for Yakushima were fairly relaxed since it would be weather dependent. In true form, it poured the whole first day so we drove around one side of the island to the various sites marked out on maps.



How adorable was our car? It was tiny but comfortable and very easy to drive. The road speeds were slow enough that it didn’t matter that we were in a small car.

Much of the island was pretty deserted and we almost never saw tourists, even at tourist destinations. Even the town area where shops and hotels were located was really quiet. I guess winter is really not a popular time to visit Yakushima. We couldn’t even find a restaurant or anything for a long stretch, so we stopped at a supermarket. It thankfully had a bathroom (which I desperately also needed). We bought some food from the supermarket, warmed it up in their microwave and ate a very late lunch in the car.





We were driving down the western coast, which is definitely the quietest side of of the island (buses don’t even serve that side). The roads were, for long stretches, just single lane mountain roads for BOTH directions but we could go an hour or two without seeing a single car driving in the opposite direction. I guess that was one good thing about visiting during the super low season. Occasionally we would have to stop as there were animals in our way. We stopped at four waterfalls, including Okonotaki/Oko Waterfall, which is considered one of 100 most beautiful waterfalls in Japan. Japan loves a good list.






It worked out well that we just drove around the western side and stopped at the waterfalls, since it rained so hard all day. It would have been miserable to do any walks or hikes. We drove to our hotel, Yakushima Green Hotel, on the eastern side of the island (where all the hotels are) and checked in. The hotel had large rooms but was a bit old. Overall it was fine though.

We drove to have dinner at Izakaya Jijiya, which serves modern and fusion izakaya food. I hadn’t had trouble with parking the whole day because we hadn’t really been on residential roads, and most tourist destinations had parking areas. Unfortunately I could not figure out where to park nearby! We actually had to go ask at the restaurant, and they informed us of a parking area across the road where we could park for free. We enjoyed a nice dinner after a pretty tiring day. I was definitely sick of the rain though!