Avoid the busy Tokyo. Skip the famous Kyoto. Go farther down Osaka. There are more to see down south of Japan. Visit Kyushu and discover more beautiful sceneries, dine on great delicacies, and indulge in the richness of culture and history. In Kyushu, you may experience an adventure you will treasure for a lifetime.
Kyushu (九州), the third largest and the southwesternmost part of Japan, may not be as famous as Honshu (the largest island where the capital Tokyo is), but it is considered the most beautiful island of Japan. It is home of many amazing places, nature at its best.
Kyushu literally means “nine provinces” derived from the nine ancient provinces of Saikaido (former name of Kyushu). As of present, Kyushu region consists of seven prefectures on the main island namely Fukuoka Prefecture, Saga Prefecture, Nagasaki Prefecture, Oita Prefecture, Kumamoto Prefecture, Miyazaki Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture and the island on the southmost part of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture .
The gateway of Japan to Asia, Fukuoka Prefecture, with its capital city Fukuoka City, the most populated city in Kyushu, is the place where you can eat the best ramen in Japan – Hakata ramen. What’s makes it more special is you can enjoy this delicious ramen in a yatai- a food stall famous in Fukuoka. Come to Fukuoka in July and witness one of Japan’s top festivals – Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival.
Mt. Aso – Japan’s most active volcano and Kyushu’s highest point (5,220 ft) is in Kumamoto Prefecture. Come to Mt. Aso and witness the smoking magma right in the crater of this incredible and viewable active volcano. Kumamoto Castle, one of the most beautiful castles all over Japan is right in the city of Kumamoto.
The onsen capital of Japan, Oita Prefecture, specifically Oita City and Beppu City, has abundance of natural hot springs. Hot springs are all over the city. Indoor hot springs, outdoor hot springs. It’s in Oita! Not just hot spring for bathing but also the famous boiling hot springs only for viewing, the hot springs of the 6 Hells of Beppu. Yufuin City is also a famous tourist spot within Oita Prefecture. Not just soaking in hot springs but also shopping and dining.
You may experience Europe and China in the land of stunning sunset – Nagasaki Prefecture. During the 16th century, Nagasaki Prefecture was open to Christian missionaries and traders from Portugal, until in the time of Tokugawa when Christianity is banned and limited the trading between China and Germany. At present, Nagasaki has a famous Chinatown and Catholic Churches, especially in Hirado area. There is also a huge Europe-themed park Huis Ten Bosch in Sasebo. Historically, Nagasaki is known worldwide for atomic bombing in 1945. Visit Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Peace Park to have a deeper understanding of the horrific events of the past and the value of peace.
There is one festival that is famous around the world and is being held in Saga Prefecture. Saga International Balloon Festival is held at the beginning of November along the Kase River, just outside Saga City, the capital city of Saga Prefecture. This festival which attracts thousands of visitors local and abroad includes more than a hundred balloons and is participated by about 15 countries all over the world. Not only that, Japan’s most ancient form of arts is also in Saga Prefecture. Pottery and porcelain are famous in the towns of Arita, Imari and Karatsu. Visit the Kyushu Ceramic Museum and the Arita Ceramic Art Museum and see exquisite pottery and porcelain pieces.
The prefecture in southeastern part Kyushu which is facing the Pacific Ocean, Miyazaki prefecture is known of its beautiful pristine beaches and its verdant and luscious mountains – Kyushu Mountains bordering Oita and Kumamoto, and Kirishima Mountains and Wanitsuka Mountains bordering Kagoshima. Its climate, compare to other prefectures in the island is mild. Visit the comprehensive resort complex in Aoshima and Cape Toi and experience a grand escapade. Don’t miss the amazingly beautiful Takachiho Gorge and the mythical Takachiho Shrine.
The southernmost prefecture of the Kyushu island, Kagoshima has a mild climate. The climate ranges from temperate to sub-tropical and is characterized by higher than average temperatures for Japan. Not only the temperature that is warm but also the people. Kagoshima City is voted as the friendliest city all over Japan. It is also known for its neighbouring active volcano Sakurajima. Sakurajima is considered one of the most active volcanos in the world. And because of this natural hot springs are abundant. It is known as an “Onsen (Hot Spring) Paradise” all over Japan.