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Kyushu: Japan's southern paradise


Visually Kyushu is paradise on earth; a lush green rolling landscape of fertile valleys, smoking volcanoes, waterfalls and ancient cedar forests nurtured by a subtropical climate. Kyushu is known as "onsen island" and there are many hot spring towns to stop into while you’re travelling around. It’s coastlines are populated by sea turtles and dolphins, and frequented by surfers looking for big waves, while the regions’ smaller islands hold the key to discovering more about the early stages of Japanese civilization.

Most visitors will access Kyushu via Fukuoka and its well-connected airport, which has flights to various destinations domestically as well as throughout Asia and, increasingly, Europe.


Ohori Park is a popular weekend hang out spot among locals.

Located on the northern part of the island, the prefecture’s capital of Fukuoka city is the island’s largest city and a vibrant multicultural hub. Attractions within the city are easily within reach due to the highly connected public transportation system. Some of the most popular attractions include the Fukuoka Castle Ruins or Maizuru Castle which is a top cherry blossom viewing spot in the spring and Ohori Park which is a popular weekend destination for locals to unwind in. The areas of Tenjin and Nakasu are home to the famous Fukuoka Yatai which are food stalls that line the streets and have been a tradition dating all the way back to the Meiji Period.


The Peace Statue symbolizes the desire for peace.

Nagasaki has emerged from its tragic history to become a thriving port once again. Throughout the streets of the prefectural capital visitors can still see the influence Portuguese and Dutch architecture on a handful of the buildings. To get around, tourists can hop on trams that stop at many of the major tourist attractions. One of the most highly visited spots in the city would be the Nagasaki Peace Park which continues to commemorate the lives lost during the war and to signify the importance of peace. About 20km off shore, tours to the abandoned Gunkanjima (Hashima Island) remain popular among local tourists. For a half day trip within the prefecture Huis Ten Bosch is a Dutch theme park in Sasebo city that has a wide array of European inspired motifs like tulip fields, windmills and canal rides.


Beppu is a town in Oita packed with ryokan and onsen.

The capital of onsen is Beppu in Oita prefecture, where you can sink into hot water baths, mud baths, sand or steam baths – the town looks as though it’s continuously on fire from the steam rising over the buildings. A visit to the Hells of Beppu is probably one of the most exciting attractions within the city. Jigoku or hells are hot springs that are mainly for viewing rather than bathing in. 

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© GaijinPot Travel

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We've been to Kyushu twice in my visits to Japan, and we love the place. Kagoshima (Sakurajima, Sengan-en), Nagasaki (Dejima!), Beppu have all been highlights, and we would gladly go again once Covid allows it. And that's despite the gastro that my wife picked up somewhere in Nagasaki, which made the train trip back up to Fukuoka and on to Kyoto interesting in a not so good way. Fukuoka, not so much, been there twice now and never quite got the appeal of the place. I'm sure there are JT readers who would argue otherwise.

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Wife being from Kyushu, I've had the chance to visit many times, and indeed, it is a wonderful place to visit, and if work would allow, Fukuoka is on the top of my list of cities I would like to live in Japan.

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I lived in Oita 1 year. Nice place. Pretty women. Good food.

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I've been anchored in Kyushu for over 30 years due to my wife and I've found it a magical place. I take my minivan around and camp where I want, and the only warning I've received is, "Be careful with fire." The people are practical and welcoming.

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Maybe I should return. With telework, I can finally leave Tokyo hopefully. In any case, from Oita airport to Haneda it is like 15,000 yen roundtrip and 1.5 hours. Faster and cheaper than the Shinkansen to Osaka from Tokyo.

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And that is why I bought my 2nd House in Kyushu, I travel back and forth a few times a year and it's just one of the best prefectures to live in Japan. The food is great, especially in the wintertime, each prefecture has its own unique culture and tradition, the people are friendly, easy to navigate, the airport is near the center of the city, easy to access and quickly. Driving overall is easy and parking is way cheaper than a lot of other prefectures in Japan. Great place to raise kids and Busan, South Korea is only 90 min. away by Beetle

Okinawa is an hour by plane. Overall, Kyushu is a great to live in.

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