Kyushu planning (March-April)

Oct 5th, 2015, 07:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 32
Kyushu planning (March-April)

Husband and I are planning a 12-day trip in Kyushu (after visiting friends in Yokohama and Osaka). I'm thinking of 3 nights each in 4 locations. Not planning to rent a car unless it's for a day trip. Suggestions of places, please - especially so that we're not spending a lot of time in transit. Don't want to spend all our time in big cities - some is OK, but also want to get out in nature (and onsen, of course). Do you think we need to cover the entire island or get maximum benefit by staying more to the north and middle of the island? Thanks for any recommendations/suggestions you can offer.
Bobbe is offline  
Oct 5th, 2015, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 854
I am afraid I don't have any advice for you other than it is a beautiful place. I was there in August visiting my son's fiances family but they drove us around so I am not sure how to get around without transportation. Hope someone can give you some good ideas.
ltr is offline  
Oct 5th, 2015, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
We spent 8 nights in Kyushu in autumn 2013 and loved it. We did use a rental car, driving there was super super easy with very little traffic and the speed limits are very low so can pootle along slowly.

Our itinerary was:
* Bullet train from Kansai into Kumamoto (2 nights)
We picked up the rental car on leaving Kumamoto
* Our next 2 nights were in Kurokawa Onsen
From there we visited Mount Aso
We also went to Usuki to see stone Buddhas and to Takachiho Gorge for the river, though boats were not running, sadly
* Next two nights we were in Yufuin
From there we did a day trip to Beppu to see the Hells
* Last two nights we were in Fukuoka
On the way in we stopped a Nanzō-in Temple to see the reclining blue Buddha
We returned the rental car on arriving into Fukuoka
We booked a goodwill guide in advance, she created a bespoke itinerary for us to suit my interests
We flew out of Fukuoka back to Tokyo
Kavey is offline  
Oct 6th, 2015, 02:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
It depends on your interests. History, scenery, luxury?

I'll take a stab at history. Much of it is in the South.

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). is not as strong on Kyushu as elsewhere so you have to dig around for detailed information.

I've not been there, but for scenery and unspoilt nature, the general recommendation is Yakushima.
someotherguy is offline  
Oct 11th, 2015, 01:45 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 32
Itr, kavey and someotherguy - thank you for your replies; all helpful information and appreciate the historical background. Have finally got some sense of logistics and I think our route is going to be Fukuoka (1 day/nite), Nagasaki, ferry to Kumamoto; then make our way across the island to Mr. Aso, Takachiho to Oita Prefecture (Kurokawa or Yufuin) for onsen; wrapping it up for a final day/overnight back in Fukuoka. There's much more to research, but at least this gives us some focus with our route. Arrigato!
Bobbe is offline  
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