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Japan - Your favorite locations in Kyushu

Japan - Your favorite locations in Kyushu

Old Jun 5th, 2017, 04:30 PM
  #1  
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Japan - Your favorite locations in Kyushu

I'm looking for suggestions on places to visit in Kyushu that are hidden gems. Specifically quaint country side villages, beautiful outdoor locations, or your favorite spot in Kyushu that you think is under-rated. If you love an attraction/place/restaurant in a larger city feel free to share that too. Thanks for your help!
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Old Jun 5th, 2017, 08:23 PM
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The search box at top right will get you a lot of useful
leads, as will the Google query "kyushu site:fodors.com/community"

I'm biased toward history. This is taken from one of the earlier threads.

The most interesting (and attractive) cities are Nagasaki (particularly Dejima and the Christian period sites) and Kagoshima (as in The Last Samurai, there's also the Kamikaze "peace" museum nearby, not to mention the spectacular Sakurajima volcano). Kumamoto is pleasant and the castle, although not original, is one of the best for understanding their style of defense in depth. You can also take the ferry from there for a pleasant daytrip to Shimabara (as in the rebellion). In the far Northwest, the Dutch Trading Post in Hirado (as in William Adams, the model for "Shogun") predates Dejima and is attractive and well off the beaten path. In the Northeast, Yukichi Fukuzawa's place (modernizer and founder of Keio University, that's him on the 10,000Y note) is in Nakatsu. There's a nice castle there, too.

For older history, there's a massive and fascinating Yayoi period site in Yoshinogari (northwest), and a Jomon one near Kagoshima. The Takachiho Shrine (as in the Japanese foundation myth) and Takachiho gorge are good (south central). The Tsujunkyo bridge (actually viaduct) with the amazing water spouts is not far away (you need a car, but check the dates as there are only a few discharges per month).

The Usa shrine (top Hachiman shrine) is attractive (Northeast), and so is the Yutoku Inari Shrine (Northwest, like a gaudy Kyomizudera). There are Easter Island Moai (fake, but fun) at Sun-Messe Nichinan near Miyazaki (far Southeast).

Japan-guide.com is not as strong on Kyushu as elsewhere so you have to dig around for detailed information.
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Old Jun 6th, 2017, 12:16 AM
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There are really too many. A lot depends on your interests. I've spent several years there and have seen my share of places.
One of the better castles, Kumamoto, is currently closed due to extensive earthquake damage.
But some places worth noting are Nagasaki, Unzen, Fukuoka, Beppu/Yufuin, Kurokawa, Takachiho, Kagoshima (Sakurajima, Senganen Garden), Aso, Ibusuki, plus if you like pottery, there are several good places like Arita and Imari.

The most interesting city would be Nagasaki, with its Chinese and western influences. There are many good sights there, many not routinely noticed by the big tourist crowds.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...K92siHyNqSNxXz

Saying there's a huge flower park somewhere there is not at all helpful - there are actually many, depending on where you are - the Kawachi Fujien, Kuju Flower Park, Nokonoshima Island Park, numerous botanical gardens, and many traditional gardens like Suizenji, Rakusuien, Yusentei, Senganen, Mifuneyama Rakuen, and many more that escape me at the moment.

As said above, Japan Guide misses a lot of good places - it's made by some ex-pats who haven't traveled extensively in Kyushu. In fact just beyond in Yamaguchi, Shimonoseki is a city with a lot of good places to visit - but on their site, the whole city just doesn't even exist.
A lot depends also on how you plan to travel around. A JR Kyushu Pass can be a great way to save money - the Northern pass is very easy to break even on. That said, there are many places where trains don't go conveniently if at all. There is also a good bus pass, the Sun-Q pass that can help. And if you are up for it, there are a ton of good places if you drive.
I can give a few good places - some somewhat known, others are really unknown jewels.

The Nanzoin Temple (Fukuoka) one of the best in Kyushu, in fact in all Japan - yet virtually unknown to even the well traveled.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT4VQFmHFyM
http://www.thejapanfaq.com/fukpic.html

Arita Porcelain Park - (Saga) You thought you knew Japan? Try stepping out of it into Germany for a little while!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Hwuniwq5w

Takachiho (Miyazaki) - A beautiful narrow gorge and waterfall. One of Japan's best - but you need a car or the bus.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H49x41ViFJk

Huis Ten Bosch (Nagasaki) - Some find this place gorgeous, others just a large Potemkin village, but even Dutch visitors swear that a piece of Holland was just plopped into Nagasaki.
http://english.huistenbosch.co.jp

Kurokawa - Kyushu is a hot spring mecca, and this place is one of the best - outdoor hot baths in the forest offer a unique experience. But again you need a car or bus.

Beppu - A more famous hot spring area, showing some of its age from its heydey in the 70's and 80's. But there is more to see with its Hells Tour and nearby Takasakiyama Monkey Park.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...2lUNTr46ApKXxZ

Mt. Inasa (Nagasaki) and Sarakurayama (Kitakyushu) - Two of the best mountaintop views over the city that you will ever see in Japan. Best just before sunset.
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=P1H0rxD1yEY
https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=Hl1pCW9Ibbk

Kagoshima City - Not many chances to walk by a live volcano. The Senganen Garden is also one of Japan's finest.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...JMdkB9mF0qjnqK

Aso (Kumamoto) Within 1 km of the volcano crater it is closed due to gas emissions, but there are other good sights nearby as well, including the beautiful Daikanbo Lookout, Kuju Flower Park, Nabagadaki Waterfall, and more. A car is ideal for the area.

Kyusendo Limestone cave (Kumamoto) - While Akiyoshido in Yamaguchi is by far the best in the country, this little known 1 km decent into hundreds of millions of years ago is quite an experience also.
http://www.kyusendo.jp

--
There are of course many more. But these alone would keep you quite busy.
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Old Jun 6th, 2017, 12:59 AM
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HolidayInJapan,

You mention a "very rare Onsen in Kyushu -- lukewarm hot spring that is like a bubble, fizzy water."

Are you going to share where this is, or are you here just to plug your holiday concierge services?
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Old Jun 6th, 2017, 01:06 AM
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We have only visited Kyushu once and with only 8 nights, our overnights were split into 2,2,2,2 in four places - Kumamoto, Karakawa Onsen, Yufuin, and Fukuoka. We would have liked to also visit Nagasaki, Saga and the south half of the island but didn't want to try and cram too much in.

We arrived into our first stop at Kumamoto by shinkansen from Kyoto, and after that, we had a rental car for the rest of the itinerary. Having the car really really allowed us to see and enjoy the beautiful rural scenery of Kyushu each day, being able to stop for photos or stretching our legs whenever we saw a view we wanted to pause and admire.

We loved the reconstructed castle at Kumamoto, just as Someotherguy says, for that understanding of the defenses and layout. We also loved Suizenji Joju-en Park.

From our base in Kurokawa Onsen, we visited Mount Aso and surrounding areas.

From our Yufuin base we visited Beppu, Takachiho Gorge and Usuki for the stone Buddhas.

Just before heading into Fukuoka and returning the rental car, we visited Nanzoin temple to see the large blue reclining Buddha there.
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Old Jun 6th, 2017, 09:04 AM
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Takachiho and the kagura performance at the shrine
Chikae restaurant in Fukuoka
mrwunrfl is offline  
Old Jun 6th, 2017, 08:00 PM
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Besides all the great suggestions above, may I add:

1. The beautiful island of Amakusa.

2. Mojiko Retro Town in Kitakyushu (great architecture)

3. The city of Saga for the fascinating castle

4. Daizufu Temple and nearby museum (day trip from Fukuoka)

5. Kamakaze Museum in Chiran

6. Kagoshima fish market tour

7. Nagasaki: Dutch Slope area and the Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture
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Old Jun 7th, 2017, 05:09 AM
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Sanga Ryokan

The hot springs at Furusato Kanko in Kagoshima prefecture - hotel is closed but the onsen there overlooks the South China Sea and is magical (and not very crowded).
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Old Jun 7th, 2017, 10:06 AM
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Overit, Have you been to the Furasato Kanko onsen since the hotel closed?
From the information I've found on the internet the onsen is closed.
Really a shame as it is a special spot.

Great list of places above to which I'd add Yakushima Island
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Old Jun 19th, 2017, 08:22 AM
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ltr
 
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My DIL is from Kyushu and when we were there a couple of years ago we went to this cave and thought it was wonderful.

http://onlynativejapan.com/2013/11/2...-the-cave/4019

It was a hike to get there but it was so worth the trip. You were able to walk in the cave without being on a guided tour. There is an undergound spring that you walk down and some areas are a little difficult to climb. Nothing too strenous for the old body, but not for someone with limited mobility.
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Old Jun 20th, 2017, 01:33 PM
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The website is:
http://www.senbutsu-cave.com
Actually the whole Yabakei area is worth seeing, especially for the autumn colors.
But the Akiyoshido cave in Yamaguchi is the crème de la crème.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqIKC9S8TFQ

Actually, in Japan there are over 100 such caves:
http://www.showcaves.com/english/jp/.../ByRegion.html

Well worth it - particularly when the weather sucks, and some days it always does.
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