Traveling is always a “need” to refresh and relax myself after the stressful work and drive for my life balance. The first time I visited Kyushu was more than 2 decades with my granny, it was definitely an old village with some beautiful sceneries came to my mind. After traveling in Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido and Okinawa, Kyushu has ever been the most popular traveling choices for me in Japan annually since 2008. It is always a good place to travel with family, friends or alone with the cleanness, beauty of nature, traditional culture, convenience, safeness, friendliness of locals and tones of uncountable exceptional experiences when you explore each of the prefectural (県).
Eating in Kyushu is FAVE!!!
It is miles away from the dangerous zone in Fukushima with high quality of food where the geographical location and climate is proper for agricultural, poultry, diary and fishery products. You will never be worried about the security of polluted food with the stringent control and certification system, that’s FIT & FRESH to eat.
There are ASSORTMENTS of Meats, Fruits and Veggies. Wagyu (和牛肉), which originated from Japan, Kyushu posses popular brands including Saga (佐賀), Miyazaki (宮崎), Oita (豊後牛), Kumamoto (熊本) and Kagoshima (鹿児島) beef.
VIEW and tour of orchards and farms are everywhere. Strawberries, peaches, grapes, persimmons, melons, rainbow kiwis (have you ever heard of it?) and pears to pick and eat all you can within a pre-defined time frame.
With abundant resources and supplies of fresh food, local government keeps all prices very ECONOMICAL and I couldn’t really feel the inflation over the years where you can enjoy the best!
I am a Sake (お酒) and Umeshu (梅酒) lover. Shochu (焼酎) and Umeshu Whiskey are a lot famous in the southern part of Japan, i.e. Kyushu and Okinawa. I discovered a Whiskey distillery factory in Kagoshima and Asahi Beer Factory in Fukuoka where factory tour (見学) can be booked to experience and understand the manufacturing processes of what we are drinking. There are local brands for sake everywhere at very reasonable price with good taste.
Don’t forget about the RAMEN (ラメン)!!!! This is also the must-have in Kyushu. Lots of big brands like Ichiran or Uppudo in Hakata have opened heir shops worldwide. I prefer more local stalls and the “symbols” in Hakata or Tenjin where they are called Yatai (屋台) . There are Ramen shows yearly held in Kyushu and I came across once in 2015. You could buy at the temporary stores and taste the best noodles of the year.
Sightseeing in Kyushu is FUN!!!
Tourists are basically rely on some travel guide books or some blogs to start with. After a few trips, I would highly recommend the following top priorities on my list. Takachiho Gorge高千穂峡 is a bit harsh to access, however, you will definitely leave all the tiredness and stress behind when you reach such a great spectacular waterfall with a nice boat ride. It is truly thrilling. Mount Aso or Sakurajima is a must-go as these two are the active and popular volcanoes in Japan. Mount Aso should be much famous as the biggest active volcano in the world. Horse riding, hiking and Aso museum tour can bring you more ideas and information about this precious and FABULOUS natural monument.
You will never be tired of seeing all the superlative landscapes from spring to winter and enjoy various types of festivals (お祭) after numerous trips. Architecture of the Jinja(神社) or Castles (熊本城) are definitely the highlights in those events. Regardless you have an excellent camera, you can seize FANTASTIC views effortlessly. The specialties of those “events” will definitely make you refresh and rejuvenate. ☺ Festivals including firework shows 花火大会 in summer, autumn leaves 紅葉祭, Tenryo Festival 天領祭, Gion Festival 祇園祭, flower blossoms 花見, Illuminations at Christmas in Fukuoka or farther in Huis Ten Bosch. In all these types of cultural activities, you will treasure FOLKSY and FESTIVE atmosphere. Nonetheless, harmony, respect, courtesy of Japanese can be seen on their appreciation of tradition and value of power in the universe. You will also have great FUN to enjoy some little games and food with stalls that you may never experience this in your own cities and see how decent and exclusive their costumes are.
Kyushu is well known as an Onsen Heaven. Yufuin由布院, Beppu 別府, Kumamoto 熊本 are always nice places to go with the types to heal you from your head to toe and as well as your soul. Hita 日田, Takeo 武雄, Wakita 脇田, Kirishima 霧島温泉, Ibusuki 指宿and Unzen 雲仙 are way less popular where you can avoid the crowd and truly hide yourself under the hot spring water or sand to relieve. All the Ryokans with lovely Onsens both privately or publicly and mostly come with delicious, special and traditional Kaisekiryouni (懐石料理・会席料理). These are the UNFORGETTABLE and UNIQUE experiences. Comparatively, prices and privacy of the Ryokans in Kyushu are way better than those in big cities like Hakone 箱根or Izu 伊豆. The pictures above are the few favorite ones that I tried before where you can also go around those areas for trekking, sight-seeing or capture the clear water and sky days and nights. Even if you just walk around the little village, you can adore very peaceful environment where you may usually see from day to day those skyscrapers without greens and huts.
Fascinating pictures are everywhere. Definitely, you can rent a car and drive from the Northern Kyushu to the Southern Islands. Unbelievably, Kyushu is one of the most convenient cities that I have ever traveled with where JR Express, Limited Express, Trains, Buses can connect the whole continent. JR Passes are sold to foreigners at very reasonable prices where it can help cover your trips for few days at a cost of 2-3 rides only. I am a big fan of Cars, and thus, I love riding on different limited express trains to see both ancient and cute designs on each of them. On top of this, you can also enjoy the sunrise, sunset, collect free stamps with postcards on trains and mingle with all types of tourists, train officers and friendly locals freely and securely on the train. Here are my collections on the Kyushu trains. No matter you are a big fans of it or not, it is absolutely a pleasant, convenient and comfortable journey to appreciate the NEAT, NEW, and NEIGHBOURLY train system.
Shopping and Entertainment is GREAT too!!!
Though Kyushu is not a big shopping paradise as Tokyo or Osaka, you can definitely find what you need in Hakata, Tenjin, Kumamoto and Kagoshima. There are 2 big outlets Marinoa City and Tosu with easy access where a ride on the Ferris Wheel is highly recommended. Playing at game centres is another favorite activity I am keen on. Let’s see how many prizes I could win so far.
A helpful, welcoming and eco-friendly community can always be found in Kyushu. From time to time, I would remind myself to learn from them on the dedication to protect, preserve and safeguard the environment. Do support and help Kyushu in recovering from the catastrophe. Strongly recommend those who may read this article to give a try and share my pleasant feeling in Kyushu. I am Nuts about “YOU”!
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