The following day, I headed out on the first boat to Nishinoshima, this time the fast “Rainbow Jet” that only took 30 mins, as I was still feeling a little woozy from the slow rocking of the ferry the day before.
I had a quick stop in at the tourist office, where a lovely woman called Nicola, who I’d been emailing beforehand about rental cars and campsites, met me and gave me all of the information I’d need for the next couple days. I literally can’t emphasise enough how helpful the staff were there, I confess they really helped to make Nishinoshima better than Dogo.
After a brief wait at the bus stop, I hopped on to Urago port, where I picked up the keys for the campsite (for the showers and the boxes with the necessary plugs) and walked my way over.
The view was simply stunning, and the facilities – minus a couple of spiders in the toilets – were top notch. I unpacked my tent (had a mini-breakdown as the elastic in one of the tent poles had snapped, but pushed them together of sheer will and it worked itself out), and then headed into town for a gentle stroll and to find food.
On the way back, a lovelly little old man in his truck stopped and asked if I wanted a lift. I wasn’t about to say no, so I got in and he took me to his most recommended spot nearby – Yurahime Shrine. It was pretty stunning, I have to say, and felt simpler than most shrines, but in a nice way, and I enjoyed wandering round for a good ten minutes or so.
Near the shrine was also Yurahima Bay – where every year, a huge number of squid appear. It is said that before one accidentally stung the princess Yurahima, and they come back every year in apology.
I then went for a walk around the town, finding good views from hidden back-streets, and friendly residents who’d always say hello, or the occasional child who’d yell it out in English whilst staring in amazement.
Once I’d tired myself out there, I headed for the local izakaya that had been recommended by Nicola. I was the only one there at the start as it was still only 5:30, but I was a little tired and also very hungry. To my great delight, the owner just kept giving me free food whenever I’d mention I’d never tried the local specialities before, and also a couple of free beers.
A few other people came in and chatted, but as it hit around 7:00, it was also starting to get dark, and I could feel the alcohol buzzing in my veins which meant I should probably get back before I couldn’t see anything and accidentally fell in the harbour or something. The locals were sad to see me go, and were worried about me camping alone, which was more lovely than I could say. I enjoy travelling alone and having all of that “me-time”, but it is also always amazing when you find and talk to strangers who let you in without a single moment of hesitation.
But with views like this I was glad I went back when I did, and after a quick shower and a read of a book by the last vestiges of sunlight, I turned off the lantern and settled in for an excellent night’s sleep.