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Japan's third largest island, gorgeous Kyushu is renowned for its breath-taking natural beauty, rejuvenating hot springs, superb food and unique history.
Kyushu’s reputation for scenic beauty is well-earned. This lush subtropical island boasts dramatic volcanoes, powerful waterfalls and lush forests. Most famous of the volcanoes is Mount Aso, renowned for its huge crater lake, over 100km in circumference, but you’ll find bubbling mud pools, steaming geysers and dramatic lava fields all over the island, a rich testament to its location on the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire. Less destructive perhaps but no less dramatic are the islands other natural beauties. Venture inland to the dramatic Takachiho Gorge and Manai Waterfall. Or turn east to the spectacular ocean vistas of the Nichinan Coast.
Kyushu’s volcanoes may be destructive on rare occasions but they deliver wonderful benefits too. The island is world-famous for its rejuvenating hot springs and you’ll find charming onsens (hot spring baths and inns) at almost every turn. Beppu Onsen Village is the premiere destination and visitors from all over Japan flock here to unwind and enjoy the mix of modern and traditional bath houses, boutique shops and restaurants. A stay in an onsen is likely to be one of your abiding memories of your time in Kyushu.
One of the earliest centres of Japanese civilisation, Kyushu enjoys a host of historic treasures. Vast Kumamoto Castle takes many of the plaudits, and rightly so as it is one of the finest castles in all Japan, but you may be as equally moved by one of the delicate serene mountaintop shrines, ancient temples or exquisite gardens that can be found tucked away throughout the gorgeous scenery. Kyushu’s cultural mix is also unique in all of Japan. As one of the few places open to foreign traders, you’ll notice a fascinating mix of influences from China, Korea and Europe.
Lastly let’s not forget the wonderful food. Kyushu is renowned for its incredible seafood but don’t forget other mouth-watering local specialities like the Miyazaki Beef, Beppu Cold Noodles and Tonkotsu Ramen. Be sure to try one of the ‘Hell Steamed’ dishes whilst you are here, cooked over the natural hot springs!
We all enjoy a good fact or two - here are a few useful ones about Kyushu: