Season 1, Episode 3
Last of three programmes in which Joanna Lumley explores the country and culture of Japan. Joanna travels to the island of Shikoku to undertake a pilgrimage, visiting a selection of temples to gain a better understanding of Japanese Buddhism. She then takes a bullet train to Kyushu where she finds the world’s first robot hotel. Then it is on to Nagasaki – the site of the second atomic bomb to be dropped on Japan in 1945. She visits Shiroyama Elementary school, which was the school closest to the bomb’s hyper centre, and one of the only buildings to survive. Joanna meets Matsuyoshi Ikeda – a student of the school on the day the bomb dropped, who shares his miraculous story of survival. Joanna then travels south to Kagoshima, home to one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, Sakurajima, and takes to the skies to get as close as possible to the crater. Her final destination is Okinawa, where one of the bloodiest battles of WWII was fought between Japanese and American troops.
Joanna’s 2,000 mile journey through Japan as she explores some of the most uncharted corners of the country’s 6,800 mystical islands. In Hokkaido, Joanna traverses the island’s areas of outstanding natural beauty, meeting some of the country’s most endangered wild animals en route, before heading south towards Tokyo and the ancient capital of temple-filled Kyoto. On foot she takes in the forgotten island of Shikoku – one of Japan’s four main islands – home to the Iya Valley and the yuzu fruit flavours now becoming popular in UK supermarkets. Finally, after exploring the geologically active region of Kyushu with its volcanic landscape and abundance of hot springs, Joanna finishes her journey in Kohama, one of Japan’s smallest and most remote pacific islands, luxuriating on its idyllic beaches.