Kyushu, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 6:18PM
Off the Beaten Track
Japan’s southernmost main island, Kyushu, is paradise for travelers looking to get off the beaten track and see the unseen Japan. The lush green countryside is home to active volcanoes, waterfalls, natural hot springs, and semi-tropical coastlines. From the bustling metropolis of Fukuoka City to the pristine beaches of Amami Oshima, Kyushu is home to some seriously amazing places.
Kyushu refers to the southwestern most part of Japan's main island and encompasses multiple prefectures. Fukuoka is a modern city that serves as the gateway to Kyushu. Nagasaki reminds us of its tragic history, and is a shining example of the regrowth and peace that is possible. Kumamoto is home to the world’s largest volcanic caldera, and one of Japan’s most well-preserved castles. Saga is home to three cities known for some of Japan’s finest pottery. Oita is known for its volcanically sourced hot springs and “hell” pools. Miyazaki is a tropical paradise with Japan’s best surfing and beautiful ocean views. Kagoshima lies on two peninsulas surrounding one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Sakurajima and is home to onsen resorts, hiking, and some of the most lush forests and beaches in Japan.
Fukuoka Prefecture, the most populous of Kyushu’s nine prefectures, is known for its unique and delicious food and its bustling nightlife. It also boasts temples and shrines, castles and ruins, incredible shopping, entertainment, and sports.
Oita Prefecture is best known in Kyushu and in Japan for its onsen and their surrounding towns. Beppu, especially, is well-known throughout Japan and the rest of the world for its amazing hot spring resorts. About ⅓ of Oita’s land belongs to designated national parks, making it a perfect spot for nature lovers and outdoorsmen and women.
Saga Prefecture is known for its quiet, serene landscapes and its beautiful pottery. The town of Arita is especially popular for pottery and the quaint villages and alleyways where potters used to create their work behind tall walls made out of discarded pottery shards to conceal their techniques from competing artisans.
During Japan’s 200-year period of isolation, Nagasaki was the only port open to visitors from Europe and beyond. Influence from Europe is apparent in Nagasaki’s culture, its architecture, and its food. Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park memorial serve as important places of cultural understanding. It is also home to H.I.S.'s original Henn na Hotel, the world's first robot-staffed hotel and Huis Ten Bosch, the park that recreates the Netherlands with real-scale copies of Dutch buildings.
Henn na Hotel, Nagasaki
Kumamoto is most well known for its castle, which is one of the largest and most complete castles in Japan, as well as for its active caldera volcano, Mount Aso. The local specialty is horse meat, which visitors from all over Japan come to Kumamoto to try.
Miyazaki has beautiful white sand beaches, excellent surfing, and a laid-back vibe that’s perfect for relaxation and exploration. It’s a popular destination even among Japanese, and it’s a tropical escape on the mainland and just a short train ride away from Osaka and Fukuoka.
Kagoshima, the southernmost prefecture in Kyushu, is famous for hot sand onsen, an active volcano, hundreds of tropical islands scattered off of the mainland, and Yakushima, a UNESCO World Heritage site with ancient, mossy forests and exhilarating hiking.
Still a part of Kagoshima prefecture, Amami Oshima is another popular must-visit location of Kyushu. Closer to Okinawa than Kagoshima, but perhaps not as explored, the island of Amami Oshima has some resemblances to the subtropical island of Okinawa. However, still a part of Kyushu, Amami Oshima blends the island lifestyle with Kyushu culture perfectly. With biodiverse waters that resemble tropical waters, lots of green and mangrove trees, and many natural and scenic spots, Amami Oshima is defintely a spot to visit.
View of Sakurajima and Kagoshima City
Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Kyushu has it all.