Kyushu is the third largest island of Japan’s five main islands and the most southerly of the four largest islands. Kyushu is known for warm, humid summers and mild winters, making it easy to visit in all seasons. It’s an exciting landscape that exists nowhere else, filled with wide plains, relaxing beaches, active volcanoes, abundant hot springs and delicious food.
Kyushu is epitomised by the words Energy, Fertility and Gateway, representing its natural energy and dynamic people, the rich soil that blesses the island with delicious food, and its history as a link between Japan and the world.
It is a land of energy, from its vibrant people to its famous volcanoes. Rich volcanic soil and regular rainfall have contributed to the region’s reputation as a gourmet destination, famous for its citrus fruits, seafood, and rich, pork-based ramen.
Kyushu is closer to Korea than Tokyo but easily reached from every major city in Japan. More than anything, Kyushu is characterized by the friendly people who call this island home. Over a thousand years of connections with other cultures has created a sense of warmth and acceptance, welcoming newcomers with a smile.
Agent Resources - Webinars and Virtual Fams
Join us on a virtual fam!
In October 2021, the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation conducted a virtual FAM to four stunning locations across Saga Prefecture and Kagoshima Prefecture.
To learn more about some of the stops the team visited, click here.
For the train lovers, the shinkansen is another transport alternative offering a comfortable and relaxing option for getting to Kyushu from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and most other major cities across Japan. Shinkansens operate around every 30 minutes between Tokyo Station and Hakata Station (the major train and shinkansen station in Fukuoka), with the ride taking about 5 hours. If you like to get to see the landscape on the way, it can be a great option. If you hold a Japan Rail Pass, you may want to use this option as you can ride as much as you want on the bullet train to Fukuoka and make stops along the way too.
There’s also ferry and bus services available to various locations around Kyushu including affordable overnight buses from Tokyo for those looking to maximise their time and minimise their costs.
To learn more about the transportation options available, visit: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/plan-your-trip/getting-kyushu/
Kyushu Prefectures and Highlights
Kyushu is broken up into seven distinctive prefectures, each abounding with natural beauty and rich traditions, but with its own unique identity. Experience the warmth and vibrancy of Fukuoka’s city life, the colour and culture of Saga, and Nagasaki’s storied past. Soak up the energy of Oita’s hot springs, feel the heat from Kumamoto’s active volcanoes, travel Miyazaki’s coastal roads, and hike through ancient forests on Yakushima in Kagoshima.
Fukuoka Prefecture is the geographical and historical gateway to Asia: steeped in history, but open to new ideas and cultures. The city is young and vibrant, with a diverse community from around the world.
You can enjoy trendy high-end shopping districts and outlet malls or soak up the energy and flavours at lively “Yatai” food stalls. The city of Fukuoka is also steeped in history, home to many ancient shrines and temples including Dazaifu Tenmangu. All along the coast, you’ll find gorgeous beaches and quiet fishing towns, famous for their fresh oysters and shellfish.
Great food and even better company is what Fukuoka is all about. The relaxed port town is the heart of life on Kyushu, Japan’s third-largest island. The city is the fastest growing in Japan and has benefited throughout its history from its proximity to mainland Asia.
The following video about food focuses on “Yatai” food stalls and their owners. Fukuoka Night provides a window into the charm of Fukuoka’s people and food culture.
A small region with a large cultural impact, Saga is rich in history, craft, and food. Saga is particularly famous for its exquisite crafts including the blue and white hues of Imari and Arita pottery.
No visit to Saga is complete without a stop at the stunning Arita Porcelain Park where visitors can join a class to make their own porcelain – which is later shipped to your home for safe travel. Other key stops include a visit to the picture-perfect gardens of Mifuneyama Rakuen and the imposing Yutoku Inari Shrine.
Discover more of Saga: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/discover/seven-distinct-prefectures/saga/
Nagasaki’s turbulent past, from Christian martyrs to the atomic bomb, has created a remarkable culture of peace and tolerance. Outside the city centre, you can cruise the beautiful Kujukushima Islands near Sasebo or relax in the hot springs around Unzen. Or for history and movie buffs, there’s also Gunkanjima, known as Battleship Island. Once a significant undersea coal mine, the island supported a thriving, high density population with apartments, schools and shops. When the coal reserves ran out in 1974, the mine was shut down and the metropolis on top of it was quickly abandoned. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 2015 and made famous for being the backdrop to a key sequence in the Bond movie, Skyfall.
To experience the expertise and culture and traditions, visit the small town of Hasami. It is nestled amongst hills full of porcelain stone, timber and mountain streams providing fresh water making it the perfect location for pottery. The town has been a center for ceramics for over four centuries with the first piece of porcelain said to have been made there around 1610.
Enjoy the following video as it focuses on local artisans, who are keeping alive the tradition of Hasami pottery.
Oita, on Kyushu’s east coast, is famous for its hot-spring towns, notably Beppu and Yufuin – home to the most hot springs (onsen) in all of Japan. But it also has several charming castle towns, including Kitsuki and Taketa, where history is brought to life through festivals and events.
Oita has a beautiful, rich and lush countryside that ranges from intricately eroded coastlines dotted with islands, peninsulas, and inlets to the wide, sweeping Beppu Bay. Inland, the region is dotted with elegant valleys, high plateaus, soaring mountain ranges, and active volcanoes making this region perfect for moderate adventure seekers looking to enjoy the great outdoors.
Kumamoto is symbolized by two powerful landmarks: Kumamoto Castle in the city and Mt. Aso, Japan’s largest volcano, further inland. The forces of nature have formed the land and forged the region’s fighting spirit. Mt. Aso in Aso-Kuju National Park, is not only Japan’s largest volcano, it’s also Japan’s most active. The huge caldera stretches 24 kilometres from north to south, surrounded by five peaks known collectively as Aso Gogaku. Close to Mt. Aso, you can relax in the hot springs of Kurokawa Onsen. Just off the coast, the idyllic Amakusa Islands have a fascinating history of Christianity to explore.
The landscape of Miyazaki is defined by a long stretch of coast lined with golden beaches and spectacular rock formations. With temperate weather and great surfing, the Nichinan Coast is a popular getaway. Miyazaki is considered a home of the gods, with ancient legends told through Kagura dance. Dense forests, dramatic gorges and hidden mountain villages take you back to those storied times. One of Miyazaki, and in fact, all of Japan’s most famous sites is the spectacular Takachiho Gorge. Formed over 100,000 years ago after eruptions from nearby volcano Mt. Aso, the gorge’s 80-100 metre-high basalt cliffs line a chasm, just 3 metres wide at its narrowest point and the gorge’s lush upper canopy is awash with vivid greenery in early summer and red-tinted leaves in autumn.
Discover more of Kumamoto: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/discover/seven-distinct-prefectures/kumamoto/
There’s no missing the imposing Sakurajima, an active volcano which dominates the skyline of Kagoshima’s main city. Kagoshima has been shaped by the power of nature and its energetic people, including Saigo Takamori, one of Japan’s most famous samurai.
Kagoshima is a beautiful land of contrasts, and the prefecture extends beyond the Kyushu mainland to the island of Yakushima, filled with ancient forests, and to the tropical islands around Amami Oshima, a newly designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For a truly unique experience a must place is to visit is the beautiful Yakushima Island. This island is off the southern coast of Kagoshima and has a unique eco system which saw it declared a natural World Heritage site in 1993.
The island has the highest mountain in Kyushu, dense, primeval cedar forests, and quiet beaches. Here you can take a leisurely stroll, forest bathe, or hike through the ancient forests.
The next video was shot in Yakushima. We will see the charm of Yakushima through the relationship between the owner of a shop who uses the locally grown plants to create fragrances.
To explore some of Kyushu’s most popular routes, visit: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/discover/trip-ideas/.
For Fukuoka short-stay itineraries, visit: https://www.discoverfukuoka.com.au/trips/
Most Australian and New Zealand based wholesalers and tour providers have great Kyushu touring and self-guided packages available. They can help you create any of the options found on the link above. If you need a list of operators who might be able to assist, please contact us via the link found at the bottom of this page and we can provide some recommendations.
Some days, you just feel the need to stick your head in the sand and wait for the day to pass. At Ibisuki Onsen, in Kyushu’s Kagoshima Prefecture, it may not be your head that goes into the sand but the rest of your body! This unique relaxation technique is just one of the many ways you can relax and rejuvenate in Kyushu!
Check out this ultimate relaxation route: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/discover/trip-ideas/kyushus-scenic-coast/
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Beppu’s Hot Springs may be world-renowned for their relaxation properties, but did you know the natural hot-springs are also popular for their rather unique cooking style
You can sample the flavours for yourself, on this hot spring route: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/discover/trip-ideas/natural-wonders-and-hot-springs/
How about taking the “Sweet Train” (aka Aru Ressha), where guests are treated to a bento meal and a course of desserts on a special sweet dining experience by award winning chef Mr. Yoshihiro Narisawa?
Or for those looking for the ultimate luxury experience, there’s the stunning Seven Stars luxury service. This journey is named Seven Stars because it travels over 3,000km across Kyushu’s seven prefectures and offers stops to embrace Kyushu’s seven best attractions: nature, history, culture, food, hot springs, its people, and of course, the majesty of the trains themselves!
Download free region maps, guide-books, and more: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/plan-your-trip/pamphlets/
Source images to promote Kyushu in your marketing initiatives: https://komc.visit-kyushu.com
Visit the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation Website: https://www.visit-kyushu.com/en/
Register for trade updates and source marketing collateral from Oita Prefecture: https://business.visit-oita.jp/
Explore more about accessible tourism in Japan : https://japan.travel/en/plan/traveling-with-disability/