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Image: iStock/ gyro

5 historical and quirky places to visit in Kyushu

By Bahanur Alisoglu

Kyushu is Japan’s southernmost main island and the third largest after Hokkaido. There are seven prefectures that make up the island: FukuokaSagaNagasakiOitaKumamotoMiyazaki and Kagoshima. These prefectures are home to a handful of active volcanoes (26 to be exact), world-class hot spring towns and great local cuisine.

While not as popular as Okinawa or Kyoto there’s an undeniable charm to each prefecture that make up this island. From Kokura Castle in Kita-Kyushu down to Sakurajima in Kagoshima, many other destinations await the eager explorer.

Here are our top five spots to get you started on planning your Kyushu adventure.

1. Nagasaki City

A beautiful public park with a strong message of peace Image: iStock/ coward_lion

Nagasaki City is mainly known for its tragic atomic bomb history. Limiting Nagasaki to the 20th century would be unfair, though, because the history of this city goes back a long time. Nagasaki was not only the backbone of Meiji restoration and modernization but also home to the Hidden Christians.

Appreciating Nagasaki fully and learning its history might be a laborious task, but here are five places for a good start: Oura Catholic Church, Dutch Slope, Peace Park and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, Dejima and Glover Garden.

You can discover most of the main sightseeing spots in two days because the city is not so big. Besides, the must-see spots are within a few minutes of walking distance from each other. Brace yourself for a hike, though, because Nagasaki is one of the hilliest cities in Japan. And do reward yourself with its famous castella cakes after that.

  • ​​Peace Park: A beautiful public park commemorating the atomic bombing of the city on August 9, 1945
  • Oura Catholic Church: A church dedicated to the 26 saints of Japan
  • Dutch Slope: A slope and stone steps that were built during the former settlement period
  • Dejima: A former Dutch trading post that was once an artificial island
  • Glover Garden: The former mansion of the Glover family and other foreign residences from the days of the Nagasaki foreign settlement

2. Aso-Kuju National Park

The contrast between the volcano and grasslands is one of the major attractions. Image: iStock/ Sau Nog Chan

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Very nice.

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So cool the way they carpeted that volcano.

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Fukuoka is just awesome.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, the Peace Park is of course a famous sightseeing spot and a must for every tourist who visits Nagasaki. But even more impressive is that small memorial park a few hundreds meter in the neighborhood, where that bomb really hit. It’s a very silent and depressing place and it might overwhelm you.

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